The Sunday Mail
The unprecedented era of the Covid-19-induced restrictions has brought abrupt transformations to human societies and social patterns.
Crucially, some describe the obtaining social phenomena as “the new normal”, a historical epoch characterised by social restrictions.
In the face of uncertainty, human populations have become keenly aware of the need to religiously follow preventative and protective health guidelines.
As such, face masks, social distancing, practising hand hygiene and staying at home have since become acceptable in society.
Police details have been resolute, ensuring that the general populace adheres to prescribed guidelines.
The new social order offers social scientists an opportunity to investigate changes in social patterns that might be helpful in predicting the future.
The industrial revolution was the source of inspiration for classical sociologists such as Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, Max Webber and Auguste Comte.
Sociology is the scientific study of human social interactions and institutions.
Unprecedented restrictive measures to slowdown the virus have become “the new normal”.
From conventional to alternative medicine, culture and religion, no facet of human life has been spared from the scourge.
Critically, the emergence of the pandemic has further compounded already existing challenges.
Inasmuch as economic, social and cultural issues are important, the need to save lives remains a top priority.
Conventional medicine has apparently become the globally accepted contingency for slowing viral transmission.
Accordingly, the World Health Organisation technical guidelines for mitigating the impact of the pandemic have been adopted by most countries.
Social distancing, hand washing for more than 20 seconds with soap and water, or alternatively with an alcohol-based sanitiser, including wearing face masks have become the order of the day.
Regrettably, critical outpatient services have been suffering.
Health authorities are seemingly focusing on the coronavirus.
The ravaging pandemic has exposed vulnerable populations such as people living with HIV/Aids, tuberculosis, diabetes mellitus, asthma and other non-communicable diseases.
Unfortunately, alternative medicine has not been widely accepted in critical discourse on mitigating the impact of Covid-19.
Though the Madagascan herbal medicine has attracted global attention, it has been received with scepticism.
Apparently, traditional practitioners and faith healers have been rendered redundant.
The Government only recognises scientifically proven and evidence-based remedies for coronavirus.
On the contrary, patients have a right to helpful alternatives as recognised by the country’s laws.
There is also need to examine the efficacy of traditional medicines.
Religious and faith-based institutions play very important roles in slowing down transmissions.
In times of crisis, religious and traditional leaders are better equipped to engage their followers in order to raise awareness.
However, it is also incumbent upon religious and faith-based leaders to re-examine religious rituals and practices to prevent aiding the spread of the disease.
Cleanliness is next to godliness
Since hygiene is imperative in most religions, dutiful leaders should emphasise on such teachings to educate society on the importance of hand washing and sanitation.
The church, a critical religious institution in society, has been severely affected by the pandemic.
Technology has played the most visible role for the church in addressing the pandemic.
Virtual sermons have become “the new order” as congregates are continuously in lockdown.
Though Karl Marx viewed religion as the opium of the masses, Emile Durkheim regarded religion highly.
In fact, he considered it as a supra-structure of society.
Durkheim envisaged social solidarity and social cohesion as paramount.
He also considered failure to abide by socially constructed facts as deviance.
In the wake of the global pandemic, humanity has turned to God for “protection and safety”.
It is apparent that life is “fragile and random”, and humanity cannot control life.
Non-governmental organisations are an integral player in fighting the virus.
Governments cannot be expected to do it alone.
Covid-19 is causing poverty and widening gender inequalities.
Women and children bear the brunt of poverty the most.
Of note, NGOs are complimenting Government efforts through health education, information dissemination and provision of livelihoods to vulnerable populations.
No facet of humanity has escaped the wrath of the pandemic.
Most institutions in society are adapting to new social patterns and embracing the new social order.
It is important to embrace new social norms – wear a face mask or rather stay at home, exercise social distancing and maintain hand hygiene.
Everisto Mapfidze is a registered general nurse who holds a Bsc Honours in Sociology (UZ). For feedback: