Covid-19: When does the crisis end, and how? A historian’s point of view


Historians have categorized ending of a pandemic in terms of medical, and social. Medical ending occurs when the incidence and fatalities plummet. Social ending occurs when the fear of the COVID-19 epidemic fades.

A pandemic may end, alternatively to complete eradication, when people start to grow tired of panic mode and start adjusting their lives around the disease.


History and psychology of pandemics

The flu of 1918 is an example of ravages of a pandemic and the cost of social distancing and quarantines. Before ending, the flu had killed over 50 to 100 million people globally. It affected the young to middle-aged adults the most. The reminiscence of this hardship and costs come back quickly to haunt when the world is fighting another pandemic.

The psychological impact of the negativity and fear, especially in areas that are worst affected, put people in panic mode. The panic mode comes quickly to humans, but tends to fade out quickly. As panic fades, frustration begins to emerge. People, at least those have remained unaffected so far, begin to rationalize a world with the virus as an integral part of usual lifestyle. This approach allows the people to justify their desires to break free from the restricted way of living and getting back to the routine as if everything is just like it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

End of COVID-19

Historians say the COVID-19 is likely to end socially before ending medically. People may become frustrated by the restricted way of living and declare the COVID-19 pandemic over, even before a vaccine has been found and the virus is still smoldering through the population.

The social end is already visible with governments of some states lifting restrictions and allowing hair salons, liquor shops, and gyms to reopen. As the economic blow of the COVID-19 pandemic enlarges, more and more people are likely to say “enough.”

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