A new lifestyle

A new lifestyle

Frustration pervades not just Turkey but the entire international community: Prominent psychiatrists and medics have been warning that, in addition to the coronavirus pandemic, the psychological impacts of the pandemic on individuals and societies will be very difficult to heal quickly even if the virus is miraculously brought to an end one day.

Some indignant people are not only furious at the pandemic, but also the measures against it or the frantic reactions of some perpetually over-excited, bossy people. Recently, a prominent actress claimed on social media that there was no global coronavirus pandemic but just a flu outbreak that had been grossly exaggerated by global politicians and the pharmaceutical industry to bring populations under control and increase profits. She added that all restrictions should be lifted due to the serious damage they had done to the economy.

As they say, even a broken watch shows the correct time twice a day, as it’s true that from small or big restaurants to huge conglomerates operating in any area other than the COVID industry, everyone is having problems. In that, the woman was perhaps right because she was fed up with living off her bank account with no new income since March 2020.

Similarly, tourism agents, restaurant owners, hoteliers and the landlords of touristic villas or facilities all claim the state should take some additional measures and open international flights and the tourism industry as soon as possible. They are absolutely right in feeling exhausted and demanding the government take some measures to place them back on track to earning some money.

In Ankara last week, a young doctor and her husband were strolling in a main shopping and entertainment area of the city. The avenue, once teeming with people, was almost empty. Walking was one way of getting away from the “enclosed” feeling for people working almost round the clock with thick protection suits, masks and shields. The doctor wanted to go to the restroom of a now-closed bar. The door was closed, and dark curtains did not allow anyone to peer inside. But seeing that someone had just entered, she knocked on the door. Once she and her husband were allowed in, they were shocked to see that there were almost 25 people inside, drinking and enjoying the company of their friends. No masks. No distance. No measures.

Many people blame political conventions and busy shopping streets for causing the recent surge in pandemic cases. They might be right. This global pandemic cannot be fought individually: There is an absolute need for the engagement of all sectors of societies and countries in the fight against the pandemic.

It’s true that we should not let ourselves become the slaves of those obsessed with total alienation. The fundamental difference between humans and all other animals is, besides the fact that we are smarter, the reality that we are social. We need to communicate and establish bonds. Now, however, we are now faced with a new lifestyle: distance, self-protection, better hygiene.

The other night, I was watching video of an old trip to Italy with my wife and some friends. From the bread crumbs to the spilled water or oil on the table, I was shocked to see an incredible degree of tolerance to hygiene. Once this era is over, we might gradually return to such a lax lifestyle again. But for now, we have to understand that unless we all exert efforts for extraordinary personal hygiene, distance and individual protection, such as by donning masks that cover our mouths and noses when we are in public, we will not be able to escape this terrible situation.

Yusuf Kanlı, Opinion, psychology,