What Have We Learned from COVID-19?

October 23, 2020 3532
virus depiction from CDC

13 lessons for communities, organizations, and individuals to consider

Amid uncertainty, COVID-19 has ushered in a period of reflection and call for change as the social and behavioral sciences continue to expose opportunities for growth within society, organizations, and individuals across the world. Looking ahead, how can we effectively use this time to examine the structures, methods, and habits within ourselves and our cultures to create lasting progress in our communities? Over the span of a few months, COVID-19 has taught us something about nearly every aspect of life, from how we can best communicate (“Learning From Lines: Critical COVID Data Visualizations and the Quarantine Quotidian”) to how we effectively trace a disease (“What Do Countries Need to Do to Implement Effective ‘Find, Test, Trace, Isolate, and Support’ Systems?”).

This guide of freely accessible research compiled from SAGE’s Coronavirus Research collection provides insight on what COVID-19 has revealed these past months and how we can utilize these lessons moving forward.  

On a Societal and Cultural Level

How the cultural implication of disease reveals deep-seated roots of xenophobia in media rhetoric and narratives

Pandemics and Prejudice,” by Elliot Clissold, Davina Nylander, Cameron Watson, and Antonio Ventriglio in International Journal of Social Psychiatry, June 2020

In the examination of the history surrounding pandemics, it becomes evident how xenophobic rhetoric remains intertwined in the narrative of disease outbreaks as seen amid COVID-19. This article highlights how effective health protection and responses rely on the notion of social inclusion and justice. It provides recommendations from the World Health Organization about active steps to take in addressing and dismantling stigma, including avoiding geographical terms and discouraging racially charged narratives.

How institutional discrimination remains embedded in healthcare and policy systems

COVID-19: Health Disparities and Social Determinants of Health,” by Élan C. Burton, Delancy H.S. Bennett, and Linda M. Burton in International Social Work, July 2020

COVID-19 has illuminated health and socioeconomic disparities and discrimination in the healthcare system. This article provides statistics, facts, and steps to move forward including adjusting school curriculums and increasing minority positions in hospital leadership and administration roles to eradicate societal racial inequity.

How public administration must demonstrate a commitment to social and racial equality to create long-term change

Resistance to Racial Equity in U.S. Federalism and Its Impact on Fragmented Regions,” by Sheila Grigsby, Alicia Hernàndez, Sara John, Désirée Jones-Smith, Katie Kaufmann, Cordaryl Patrick, Christopher Prener, Mark Tranel, and Adriano Udani in The American Review of Public Administration, July 2020

The pandemic highlighted the lack of attention on structural racism in the field of public administration. Moving forward, this article recommends initiating discussion about racial equity among leaders and officials to partner with communities and utilize expertise by making racial equity a pillar of public administration.

On an Organizational Level

How to foster trust and collaboration among work teams in a virtual setting

Human Relations Virtual Special Issue: Virtual Working,” by Kerrie Unsworth in Human Relations, May 2020

This article offers practical steps to maintain relationships while working from home. Highlighting the value of emotions and acknowledging trust, the author suggests examining communication and technology methods to ensure that these practices are the best option for your team.

How  organizations can maintain current objectives and minimize inefficiencies  when confronting crises

COVID-19’s Uncomfortable Revelations About Agile and Sustainable Organizations in a VUCA World,” by Christopher G. Worley and Claudy Jules in The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, June 2020

In this article, the authors provide three recommendations for how organizations can remain agile and sustainable in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world. Using the pandemic as an example, they highlight how companies can improve their performance through the lens of environmental, social, and government causes.

How to think critically, manage a team effectively, and support individuals as a leader in a period of change

Leadership, Management and Command in the Time of the Coronavirus,” by Keith Grint in Leadership, April 2020

COVID-19 highlighted the difficult decisions leaders face in a crisis. This article provides background research on leadership methods and recommendations for keeping teams engaged at work in a virtual environment by embracing positivity and evaluating available resources.

On an Individual Level

How purpose increases agility and resiliency in individual behavior

Purpose as a Powerful Resource in the Time of COVID-19,” by Allison E. White in Journal of Humanistic Psychology, July 2020

In examining how COVID-19 has altered the home and working landscape for many individuals, this article explains how a sense of purpose can guide behavior and hold an increasing beneficial effect on one’s emotional, physical, and psychological health during the pandemic and future years.

How personal health behaviors correlate to individuals’ wellness

Personal Health Behaviors During a Pandemic,” by BJ Webber in Perspectives in Public Health, July 2020

This article uses research to explain the importance of creating and maintaining healthy physical, mental, and emotional behaviors during the pandemic. It provides practical steps individuals can focus on to improve wellbeing including managing stress levels, sleep routines, physical activity, and eating habits.  

How humor relieves tension at home and in the workplace

Caution: Wit and Humor During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” by Christopher P. Chiodo, Kimberly K. Broughton, ad Max P. Michalski in Foot & Ankle International, April 2020

Providing context on the use and effects of humor as a mental stimulus, this article gives practical recommendations on utilizing humor at home and in the workplace to improve your wellbeing and of others around you. Tips include using technology, short phrases, and other leadership tools to incorporate laughter into your life.

How  art promotes physical, mental, and social health when facing a time of crisis

Singing Away the Social Distancing Blues: Art Therapy in a Time of Coronavirus,” By Nisha Gupta in Journal of Humanistic Psychology, May 2020

This article explains how the act of viewing, creating, and sharing different art mediums serves as a form of therapy to relieve stress, pressure, and other anxieties during the pandemic.  It focuses on the empowerment art brings to individuals and provides suggestions on how art can promote resilience and hope.

How gaming and technology create a sense of community in a digital world

Gaming in the Time of COVID-19,” by Willy C. Kriz in Simulation & Gaming, July 2020

In our growing digital landscape, this article highlights technological developments and the virtual gaming environment during COVID-19. Through these online games and interactions, it creates a sense of community and allows individuals to express themselves amid this isolating time.

Joy Wada is the corporate communications intern at SAGE Publishing where she creates content for social media channels and blog sites. She currently studies communication and business at the University of Southern California. When she isn’t working, she may be spotted skateboarding around campus, Yelping a new restaurant, or baking on her quest to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe (if you ask nicely, she will share).

View all posts by Joy Wada

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