What strange times we live in. Who would’ve thought, merely a few months ago, that we will spend many months in 2020 locked in our homes, taking shelter from a deadly plague that threw the entire world into a turbulene. And we thought 2016 was bad…
I’m not afraid. I don’t think I’m at risk, or that the virus will cause me any harm. By simply following some basic instructions - washing hands, not touching the face, and keeping a safe distance from one another - most of the attack vectors are negated. Sure, this won’t make me immune, but it reduces the chance of infection enough that it becomes neligible. Add the fact that I’m fairly young still, and it’s safe to say the actual disease is not something I should worry about.
I am, however, fascinated: fascinated by the changes our world is going through due to this plot twist, and the effects this will have on all of us in both the short and long term. A pandemic this serious was not seen for decades, and in this day and age where everything is interconnected and the world is only getting smaller, it’s curious to see how humanity combats such a threat.
The modern world has advanced in many things. We have technology and capabilities that were considered science fiction merely decades ago. Modern medicine and healthcare is nothing short but sorcery in my eyes: we, mere humans, have effectively extinct several historic diseases, cured the most difficult of conditions, and have probably left the Grim Reaper with far more free time than he planned. There’s still a long way to go, but just the fact we can do all this wizardry - and consider it obvious - is nothing short of fantastic when you think about it.
But how we as a society deal with the aftermath of COVID-19 is even more fascinating. We may have miraclous healthcare and technology, but what about the rest of our life?
Well, to start: I honestly think most of the grim prophecies in the news nowadays are blown out of proportions. Terrible tales of collapsing economies, anarchy in the streets, and leadership coups are nothing more than bombastic headlines to increase traffic. In reality, things are going to be much less exciting: yes, economies all across the globe will suffer; yes, people will lose their jobs, their homes, and their savings; yes, we will spend many month in isolation before we’ll be able to visit our favorite bar or resturant again; and yes, COVID-19 will have a lasting effect on everyone’s life. But this isn’t the apocalypse! The general public in most places is obedient and follows official instructions, and the lessons from past incidents are being applied. There will be damage, but it will be very much repairable. Economies will crash, but will slowly climb again over time; Governments won’t fall, and people won’t take it to the streets in masses - except for some inevitable riots, but these won’t be catastrophic; and as long as everybody cooperate, within months I believe we’ll be back in the open again. A somewhat different reality will await us, but nothing like the tall tales people predict.
COVID-19 will also have beneficial effects on our lives too! The way we look at work, communication and productivity will change for the better; more businesses and corporations will embrace the concept of working from home and remote management, which is alway welcome; more effort will be put into medical research and empowering public healthcare; New areas in science, such as bio-tech and financial-tech, will sky-rocket; public investment in infrastructure and services will increase; and the population in many places will adopt better personal hygine and wellness patterns. It won’t be instant, and definitely not everywhere, but many of these things will likely within years.
At the end of the day, I think the way we’re handling COVID-19 is fine. Remember: there aren’t any similar cases in history - everyone is making an educated guess. So far, it seems to have worked for the most of the world: the awful predictions of millions of deaths and sick are nowhere close to reality, and while some areas in the world aren’t doing as great, the vast majority of humanity will cross this crisis unscratched.
It’s not perfect. There will be harm and damage. But it’s the best we have, and it could’ve been far, far worse. Most of the world acted as fast as it could, and the lives of billions were saved thanks to this. Everything else - the economy, the culture and the rest of the areas that were impacted - can and will be repaired. But as it stands right now, the main task of staying alive can be marked a success.