This crisis will test us, it will also give us a fresh start in life
Doctors and health experts have been insisting that breaking the chain of coronavirus infections is important to save lives and restore community health. It’s important to take their advice seriously and do as we are told by medical professionals and health practitioners. Simple as it may sound, there are complications than mere social distancing that is making us islands unto ourselves. But what choice do we have when there is no cure to contain or destroy an enemy that has evaded human consciousness, broke through our defences, and mocked our intelligence for more than four months since it first appeared in Wuhan, China last December. The pandemic has captured our minds, and in some cases played havoc with our mental faculties. Life has slowed as economies and industries are being put on life-support with bailouts and stimulus packages for weeks or even months. We are wading into the ocean of unknowns till we develop an armour through medical science to directly confront this virus. Till then, we take cover, we hide in the comfort of our homes. But these measures could also mean that the most vulnerable – daily wage earners, farmers, vendors on the streets are put to much hardship. It’s one thing to earn a monthly or weekly salary and another to get paid for work daily. Dreams of a stable career have been affected. Food chain and small industry will be the worst affected. Millions could go hungry. Poverty will spread to even the developed countries in the West. This pandemic has made us more equal, it has levelled economies, while reducing inequality that economists and planners are trying so hard to achieve. The gap was too large to close during the pre-Covid-19 era, but this crisis has made billions of the super-rich meaningless.
Big Tech, Big Oil have tumbled down as Big Government and Big Pharma make a comeback of sorts. The lofty heights reached by capitalist economies cannot save the world. Yes, hunger and homelessness will no longer be a problem of the developing world. It has spread with the virus – a common crisis that needs global solutions. For the common man and woman, this would mean cutting back on luxuries while saving up for essentials. Frugal living is in as we repurpose our lives to stay away from an enemy that survives on surfaces and can enter our systems when we come into contact with objects and people. This germ has destroyed the power of touch, albeit temporarily, while shattering our faith in community living. Family and familiar surroundings are our safe zones. They may provide emotional comfort from the medical war raging outside that is playing with our minds. The impact on minds will be immense, a cost we will count when the damage is done by the pathogen on our bodies. For now, let’s not scratch the surface but meekly go inside. Sharing is forbidden in the age of social distancing as we live in our shells, literally – cocooned and confined. Covid-19 is flattening the growth curve in countries in ways that we would never have imagined when the going was good. The rise of such a coronavirus was foreseen by a few, but its timing has caught much of the world flat-footed. Half the world’s population is now in lockdown, shut in their homes, unsure when normalcy will return. They will wake up to a new world order when this over – of those who survived the virus and those who are yet to get it and are not immune to it. The foe is invisible, except under a microscope. The pandemic caused by the coronavirus has caused disruptions like never before. The International Labour Organisation estimates that 25 million people across the world will be thrown out of jobs when this crisis is over. This threat is real and the world will be tested to its limits. Some foretell of a greater depression but that’s not the end of the world. Let’s talk of new beginning.