Adversities! Adversity can come anytime, anywhere, without knocking at your door and it expects you to be prepared for it. Unfair! I know, but there’s hardly anything we can do about it. Life is like this, it gives lemons as and when it feels like and no you cannot make lemonade out of it, rather it converts you into lemonade.
The lemons could be in the form of financial distress, mental distress, physical distress, anything. And this time life has chosen COVID, a deadly disease that has turned the world upside down.
Throughout the course of history, neither wars nor natural disasters have killed as many humans as microscopic viruses, bacteria, and parasites that cause diseases to have.
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused the world to inevitably shut down in only a matter of days. The virus has taken just a few months to sweep the globe into a human crisis. Our generation has never seen anything like this before. A virus forcing even the mightiest countries in the world to shut down their economy and their society. Re-assess life and future. Economy draining lives falling, schools and colleges shut, roads empty, and people clueless.
We learn the hard way. It’s human nature. We are never prepared until the adversity falls on our shoulders and we need to be all hands-on mulling over the problem trying various experiments that might help us. Every adversity teaches us an important lesson. COVID similarly has taught us several lessons, Lessons which we will never forget.
But before we dive deep into the Lesson learned from COVID-19 in 2020 owing to the novel coronavirus, let us go over a quick recap of lessons learned from history.
To us, Covid-19 may seem quite unusual and a once-in-a-century phenomenon BUT history tells us that pandemics are nothing out of the ordinary. From the Antoine Flu (165-180 A.D that killed over 5 million people), Black Death (1347-1352 killed an estimated 75 to 200 million) to the recent 1918 flu that resulted in the death of over 50 million people.
Unfortunately, the first plague of human civilization never disappeared. It came back 800 years later under the guise of the Black Death to haunt the modern world. By then, we learned to travel to different points of the world and cover every inch on the planet. This enabled the virus to travel and spread faster than anyone had anticipated. So, how did the pandemic end? Quarantine. It was understood that the only way to contain the spread was to contain the society itself. We learnt that quarantine was a simple and effective way to minimize spread in the modern world.
Since the last pandemic i.e. the 1918 flu, we have taken massive steps forward in improving our sanitation, nutrition, and hygiene making the human population healthier and less vulnerable to illness than ever before. We have invested an ample amount of resources in medical research to constantly innovate. Because now we knew that pandemics are nothing out of the ordinary.
Compared to these, the novel coronavirus seems to have been quite gentle on us.
But as they say, never let a crisis go to waste.
Timely and effective measures are the primary reasons why countries like Slovenia, Jordan, Iceland, Greece, and Vietnam have been able to successfully control the pandemic.
Their governments immediately imposed countrywide shutdowns, tested millions, isolated the sick, and educated the citizens on preventive measures like social distancing and the utility of masks and sanitisers.
Take Slovenia for instance. The country’s first case was confirmed on March 4, and it only took two weeks for the Slovenian officials to shut down schools, businesses and freeze public transportation. Such immediate action has borne fruits for the country as it is steadily returning to its normal state.
Another honourable mention is South Korea. This country has forced the world to “Look East” when it came to the effective management of covid-19. South Korea has shown that it’s way ahead in the Covid-19 journey than Europe or the USA. It has leveraged its strengths in Information Technology, community health services, and collective wellbeing oriented bureaucratic measures to the maximum level to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country. It immediately set off hundreds of testing centers, isolated the affected, tracked down suspected cases through mobile and GPS technology and more.
One of the basic preventive measures that are helping the worldwide population battle the novel coronavirus is the focus on hygiene. We are being directed to wear a mask, keep a distance, wash our hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, use sanitizer, cover our mouth while coughing, and more. The basic hygiene practices can eliminate if not all then at least the majority of the risk of being infected by the deadliest virus of the century.
The hygiene practices are important but exceedingly difficult to follow in third world countries such as India which tends to hygiene lightly. Even now we see many people roam around without a mask or not wash their hands. They need to learn. Period.
Work from Home came as a blessing in disguise. People became more efficient as they were in their comfort zone thus increasing their efficiency. Companies like Google, Microsoft provided monetary benefits to the employees which were icing on the cake. One con is that work from home never ends, working time has obviously increased but people are not bothered as they can walk in their kitchen and grab a cup of coffee or a bite to eat to rejuvenate themselves.
Many people saw the nationwide lockdown as a golden opportunity to reconnect with their families. Maybe, our generation did need some time off from checking our Instagram notifications and making data presentations and channel this extra time towards reconnecting with our family and friends. Doing household chores, participating in family time was a silver lining of the lockdown.
The planet’s regular need to rejuvenate
Did you know that according to an analysis conducted by ‘Carbon Brief’ coronavirus is all set to cause the largest ever annual fall in CO2 levels?
Moreover, with a dozen countries going under complete lockdown, CO2 emissions have been going down steadily all over the world. In the first few months alone China detected a 25% cut in emissions.
In Delhi, within a month of the lockdown, a drastic fall in pollution levels was seen. As a result, the sky was clearer than ever, and the air was much lower than its usual toxic level.
This is going to irritate many people but let’s admit, our government has failed us when it comes to COVID. Unplanned lockdowns, a failing economy, rising infections have done nothing to make things better for the government.
It is the government’s responsibility to keep its people safe. From the apathy of migrant workers to the conditions of quarantine centres to the scam of private hospitals charging overly high fees for treatment, the government has failed to provide to its people.
I think we really to consider these points when we vote the next time.
Covid-19 has brought in a surge of popularity of online learning, distance education, learning management systems, and other key EdTech innovations.
Moreover, The World Bank is working with dozens of developing countries to help them leverage the online mode of learning in this time of crisis.
Take for instance the case of Toppr, one of the leading EdTech companies in India. According to an interview conducted by Inc42, the CEO of Toppr said that ever since the lockdown the company has seen a four-fold increase in paid subscriptions along with a growth in web-traffic rising to more than 25 Mn sessions last month (May 2020), with an average of 800K sessions per day.
This global pandemic has forced educational institutions including K-12 and Universities to adopt remote learning and learning management portals to ensure that learning goes unhindered. This has currently led to a massive boom in the EdTech industry. They have made one thing sure, that the future of education will rely heavily on a blended model of education – online and offline.
I hope these Lessons from covid 19 are enough for us to remember and make a note of what to avoid in the future. The hard way is not the way, to be honest. If we need our country to be compared with better-developed countries, we really need to focus on the main issues. Again, as they say, do not let a crisis go to waste. We can only hope that we survive the pandemic only to remember and enjoy these lessons from it.