The COVID-19 pandemic has delivered a severe shock to many countries around the world and created a situation that many of us never thought we’d see. Millions of us now face an uncertain future, with no idea when we may be able to return to work, see family members or even go out again. These effects have been felt in every home across the UK, but even when the world returns to some semblance of normality, there are some unseen impacts of COVID-19 that could have a lasting effect.
1. Deteriorating mental health
The current measures are quite rightly focused on protecting the physical health of the nation, but for many, that could come at the cost of their mental health. Depending on their circumstances, even the most mentally robust among us are likely to feel the strain if we’re asked to spend many weeks alone, are in an unstable financial position or are forced to spend time in cramped conditions with flatmates or family members. And the mental health impact is likely to last long after lockdown measures have been removed.
2. Changing personal credit agreements
One of the biggest concerns for many people is how they will manage to make repayments on their existing loans when they have lost their jobs or their incomes have been put on hold. To help manage the impending financial crisis, many lenders are making changes to the terms of their personal loan products to give borrowers more leeway. Wonga South Africa is an example of a lender that has taken action by reducing the maximum term of its loan from six months to three months. That will help to reduce the likelihood of borrowers getting trapped in a longer repayment period when their futures are so uncertain.
3. The diversification of supply chains
Another long-term and unseen impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to be the diversification of supply chains away from China. China’s days as the world’s leading manufacturer could be numbered, as many companies that were overly reliant on China before the outbreak will seek to move their manufacturing bases away. India and Vietnam are likely to be two of the biggest beneficiaries.
4. Increased risks for children
The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on children and their families will last long after the last case of coronavirus. According to UNICEF, the risks of exploitation and abuse for children around the world are likely to increase exponentially, as are cases of family separation. As well as responding to the crisis itself, governments must make sure they’re ready to protect the wellbeing of children from the socioeconomic fallout and the impact this will have on families around the world.
Although much is set to change during and long after the last COVID-19 transmission, it’s the unseen impacts that will catch us unawares. That’s why it’s so important we take the necessary steps to prepare.