Coronavirus is thought of as an apocalypse or pandemic of biblical proportions, a once-in-a-century tragedy that will destroy countless lives, ruin economies, and stress relationships to their breaking point. But coronavirus is more like an earthquake, with aftershocks that will permanently reshape the world.
When experts speak of “recovery,” it implies a return to how things were and that is not going to happen. Nothing in the world will ever be the same again. There is a ‘before’ and ‘after’ Coronavirus. The world has changed and people’s lives have changed forever.
The world is now more interconnected than before. What affects one country has a cascading effect and impacts other countries. We will have to build a more resilient global system. Travel and tourism, international trade, factories and businesses are locked down and Global supply chains are disrupted. Millions of people worldwide are suffering pay cuts or loss of jobs, they will buy only essentials. Spending patterns have changed. Global society will be reinvented,
Homeless people will no longer be homeless. Authorities are scrambling to take people off the streets in an attempt to contain the pandemic. They have provided temporary housing which could well become permanent housing. Real estate is the hardest hit sector. This will enable more people to afford housing. A community crisis generates stronger ties, it has changed the way we relate to others, there is a greater sense of community, compassion and empathy amongst us. Millions of meals being distributed everyday.
Human beings are creatures of habit. Our work, travel, relationships, daily routines, communication, food are all habits, our entire lives are habitual. It takes 21 days to change a habit
And for the past several weeks the world is doing things differently, new habits have formed.
Our physical world is decimated but the digital world is thriving and we are surviving this pandemic because of technology.
Our dependence will significantly increase post COVID-19
SARS epidemic in 2003 was the catalyst behind e-commerce boom in China. People were apprehensive about flying to China and preferred to shop on Alibaba instead. It was then a small 4-year-old company that listed suppliers online.
Shopping in brick and mortar stores will be replaced by Online shopping. In America less than 4% Americans bought groceries online and in India groceries were rarely purchased online but now that’s changed.
Voice Assistants and Touchless Technology will enable us to communicate, through voice rather than text. Research by scientists at University of Arizona have proved that our cell phones have 10 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. There are between 2-10 million bacteria on our hands. If Lights, elevator buttons and taps are operated with sensor technology it would curb the spread of bacteria. A company in Silicon Valley is working on an AR headset that will replace the iPhone in two years.
Concerts, events and theatres will be replaced by people having AR and VR experiences at home sitting on their couch.
Robots will replace millions of factory jobs. Avatars and Surrogates were once just games but now with virtual reality and computer interfacing, they’re replacements for living, breathing humans.
Driverless vehicles aren’t futuristic anymore. Social distancing laws will give rise to Autonomous vehicles.
Tele health will replace visits to the hospital because both patients and doctors want to minimise their exposure. Telemedicine, at home diagnostics and virtual doctors appointments will become the norm.
Drones delivering pizzas is not Sci-Fi anymore.
As we move into a contactless society we will rely more on technology. Innovations have been fast tracked. What would have been a reality in our lives after 10-20 years will be here and now!
There are some advantages to this submicroscopic infectious agent holding the lives of the most advanced species on the planet to ransom.
As soon as humans retreated animals quickly took over a planet that rightlfully belongs to them. We have seen animals walking around in cities and towns across the world.
Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions are 40% less than in 2019 and they have reached their climate goals.
Factories and industries are closed and flights have been cancelled, millions of people working from home and reduced public transport maybe bad for the economy but good for the environment. Nitrogen dioxide levels have dropped by over 40% and CO2 emissions are substantially less.
Air pollution is one of the worlds most deadly killers, it kills 7 million people each year. Thick smog has cleared up. Beijing for the first time in years has clear blue skies and clean, crisp spring air.
20 million tourists visit Venice every year. Lockdowns have restored aquatic life in the canals. Nature is healing.
Planet Earth has been around for 4.54 billion years, she dosen’t need us, we need her. She was there before us and she will be there after us. Our future depends on her. How we choose to live will determine our fate.
70% of our landfills are biodegradable food waste. Rotting food releases methane, a greenhouse gas that causes global warming. 80% of Restaurants being closed has reduced food waste substantially. We are buying only what we need and are mindful about wastage.
Fifty years ago, on April 22, 1970, millions took to the streets on the first Earth Day, demanding clean air and environmental protection. United States Congress passed Clean Air Act, a U.S. federal law to prevent air pollution, protect ozone layer and promote public health. In the past decade US tax payers have spent over $ 350 billion on Climate change and billions more have been spent by the rest of the world. What Coronavirus and lockdowns have done for the planet, genius scientists & Governments spending billions could not achieve.
War & Migration
Inadequate economic support, poor healthcare and government mismanagement will cause civil unrest, riots and demonstrations, it has already started in some countries.
United Nations and the Pope have asked countries to stop fighting & allow governments and people to focus on the pandemic. American troops In Iraq have been hunkered down, to avoid contracting the virus and France has withdrawn all troops from Iraq.
U.S. troops traveled from camp to camp in the U.S and then to Europe spreading the virus. That is how the Spanish flu outbreak became a pandemic during World War I. At one point 40% of U.S. Army & Navy were ill. COVID-19 has already put the crew of one of the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carriers out of commission. All training and military exercises and deployments are cancelled.
Europe has been hit hard by Coronavirus. After 2008 global financial crisis, the multi year European debt crisis started in 2009. Then before they could recover from that European Migrant Crisis started in 2015 and now Brexit.
Several Countries have closed their borders in an effort to better contain the virus. This has slowed migration, but as economies worsen and lawlessness sets in people will move to places that are safer, have more economic opportunities and better healthcare. America will see a higher influx of immigrants from Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador. Europe will See an influx of immigrants arriving from North Africa and Syria, Iraq, Iran.
Freedom & Privacy
Mass Surveillance is going to change everything. Governments are using invasive digital surveillance and Big data Analytics to identify and track people infected with COVID-19 and contact tracing. In the greater interest of community health this will be the end of our individual freedom and privacy. Surveillance systems created for a particular crisis are used weafter the current emergency like in the case of 9/11 in United States.
In the effort to contain the pandemic from spreading, limitations on fundamental freedoms are unavoidable during a public health crises, but in countries like India which don’t have privacy laws Government will impose indefinite and disproportionate restrictions on freedom of expression, public gatherings and privacy on the pretext of stopping COVID-19. Our human rights are being compromised and the negative impact of that on our society will be far greater than this virus
Governments worldwide are using Coronavirus as a reason to deny us our fundamental freedom, civil liberties and human rights.
Despite the Draconian measures that several countries are using to ‘flatten the curve’ the virus will surge as soon as restrictions are lifted. The best way to deal with a pandemic is to allow the virus to run through the population and immunise at least 60% of people, then the virus cannot cause subsequent outbreaks – a concept known as herd immunity.