Generational Trauma – Does COVID-19 Compare to 9/11?


Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Parker Destefano, Centurion Staff

Since Mar. 2020, the world has struggled to adapt to life with Covid-19, alternatively known as the Coronavirus pandemic. How has the pandemic changed us and our lifestyles? Gen Z especially will be defined by Covid and all of the misfortunes that it brought about. Can it be compared to one of the biggest tragedies in American history, 9/11?

Arts and Communication Studies Professor Shawn Queeney says it’s not a surprise that 9/11 “lands like a lead balloon.” Most current college age students today were born around 2003, and have no emotional connection to 9/11 and the changes that it brought to America. Other generations, however, noticed the ways 9/11 changed airport security, how information in the US’s government was handled, even the creation of a new branch of the US government, The Department of Homeland Security.

Nik Tokarski, 18, a Computer Science major from Bensalem said, “I would say that Covid is pretty similar to 9/11, both negatively affected so many people around the world and changed a bunch of things like travel laws, vaccination and medical standards, and the economy.”

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Muslim people were ostracized, and racially profiled as terrorists. Many people have noticed similar racial stigmas during the Covid pandemic due to the fact the disease was traced back to China. Some Americans felt a stigma towards Asian-Americans, especially those of Chinese lineage.

Covid has also brought about many changes that affect us right now. On many college campuses, vaccinations are required to attend school, some numbers of students wear masks, and social situations can be tense for those that may have developed fears of crowds or social gatherings.

Covid has drastically changed some people’s perspective on in-person work and college. Working from home has become more accessible – it has given employees time to rethink their lives and careers, to make changes based on what they’ve found, and perhaps even change their entire lifestyle. Covid gave people time to rethink, restructure, and relive their lives.

Though, President Biden may have announced that Covid is over, the lasting ramifications of this disease will be felt for years to come. As Professor Shawn Queeney said, “however people adapt to this, you need to give them space to do it.” The public will be feeling the effects of Covid for a long time.