Park Seong-won, the head of the Innovative Growth Group, and Kim You-bean, the head of the Research Support Office, identified unprecedented social changes stemming from COVID-19. Some of the many changes are related to radical social finance policies, greater inequality, risks to women and the vulnerable groups, area closures, depression, domestic violence, remote education, digital transformation, climate change, animal welfare, and human-animal interactions.
These are some changes that were identified by the researchers at the National Assembly Futures Institute to discover the social changes that occurred since the global pandemic based on a keyword network analysis of SCOPUS DB (Social Sciences) which has the most data on academic journals. The research team analyzed the perspectives of various scholars on the social changes that occurred as a result of infectious diseases since 2000, including SARS, the swine flu, MERS, and COVID-19.
After investigating the unique issues for each period, it was found that during SARS, there was not only an economic shock, but also psychological changes with regard to resilience, social stigma, and psychological anxiety. During the swine flu, there was a focus on the scientific analysis on the spread of the disease with big data and simulations, and there were also discussions on a system to monitor the animals that were the cause of the disease. During MERS, it was possible to identify the spread of information on the disease with the cooperation between the citizens and the government, and also on social media.
The research team mentioned that in order to respond properly to the COVID-19 pandemic, there should be rapid treatment of the disease and vaccine development, an efficient international cooperation system to spread treatments and vaccines, detailed analysis of the effects of the responsive policies, and continuously fine tuning of the policies. Also, it is necessary to secure the people’s trust towards the government to make them cooperate, as well as deriving future-oriented regulation policies.
Dr. Park and Dr. Kim explained that “the issues regarding the global economic system that is vulnerable to sudden changes, crisis response governance, distrust in the government, infringement of personal rights and freedom, extreme psychological anxiety, poor international policy cooperation, and the fundamental causes of zoonotic infectious diseases that result in environmental destruction and the poor responses to climate change are issues that have always been present since SARS in 2002. There must be an innovative approach to resolve such issues.”
※ “National Future Strategy Insight” is a brief-type in-depth research report issued every other week to present national future strategies for Korea based on the analysis of major future issues by the research fellows of National Assembly Futures Institute.