What will life be like after COVID-19? This global pandemic has not only infected thousands of people but has also taken the forefront of all leading news agencies and media outlets. There is limited space to voice your opinion, advertise and sell your products. Countries have been shutting down non-essential services and closing their borders to both air and sea traffic.
There is life after COVID-19 but as natural selection dictates only the fittest will survive. We are part of the animal kingdom and a predator that we cannot see is attacking us. Countries are placing their strongest defences to battle this surge against the existence of its people. Life after COVID-19 can be fruitful if we change our social behaviour to restrict the spread of the Coronavirus.
The Spanish Flu of 1918 had very similar impacts when it came to the economy. We can expect that the service and entertainment industries will be the hardest hit, whereas private health care may see a boost in revenue. There can be a shortage of labour and as a result, higher wages may be paid for a short period or alternatively, we can see a loss of jobs. Businesses that have good financial resources will be better able to weather the storm than others.
COVID-19 is spread through crowds. The world has continued the mantra of social distancing and its importance. Individuals, who have been exposed to COVID-19, had recent travel history or experiencing flu-like symptoms have been asked to self-isolate for at least a period of 14 days. In 1918 information as it relates to anxiety and mental illness was relatively unknown and today it makes up part of the COVID-19 discussion. Citizens are now asked to house themselves and limited social interactions.
Italy has been impacted by the global pandemic as their cases continue to rise. Human life is threatened but the natural environment is healing with the reduced use of energy. Northern Italy has seen a reduction in air pollution (nitrogen oxide) with an average decrease of 10% per week. China has also seen a similar reduction in their air pollution totals. There are now remote options available to work, thus the need to commute to and from work is unnecessary. Air travel is mostly grounded; hence the price of a barrel of oil now stands at $22 US dollars as demand falls. Fewer crowds also mean less pollution.
Will we defeat COVID-19?
In principle, yes we will defeat COVID-19 once we practice preventative measures. The extent to which we can defeat the virus is left up to the individual. In 1918 the Spanish Flu claimed the lives of 2.5% of the population (50 million lives). It took us over 90 years to understand the virus. Researches only discovered what made the virus so deadly in 2008. It was discovered that a group of three genes enabled the virus to weaken a victim’s bronchial tubes and lungs and clear the way for bacterial pneumonia. Given that history repeats itself, we may not completely understand COVID-19 tomorrow.
What is your advantage?
As silly as it may sound, we have Wi-Fi. In 1918 access to information was not as widespread. We can consume media through both traditional platforms and digital media outlets. Conversely, we also use these platforms to propagate misinformation and panic. Our advantage can also be a disadvantage. In some cases, the workforce can operate remotely and still drive productivity and purpose. Human
morale would have been low in 1918. The Spanish Flu also occurred during World War I. It was a period overpowered by social discouragement.
Did we take the right actions?
Trinidad and Tobago took all the actions necessary. Unlike our usual reactions, we have been extremely proactive. The United Kingdom only recently decided to close its schools and bars. Our country immediately took steps to ensure that public spaces were not crowded. We have a dual health care system, one that is dealing with COVID-19 and the other dealing with regular health matters. Few countries have this luxury. COVID-19 in Trinidad and Tobago is being assessed on an hourly basis and we will receive information regularly.
The General Consensus
We are living in unpredictable times. We are bouncing off advisors and bringing together the brightest minds in our communities, workplaces and in government to make the best decisions. We often think of ourselves as the top dog of the animal kingdom. It is hard to imagine that something so small can disrupt the fabric of our global operations. We are not invincible. We still have a lot to learn about the world and the curveballs it can throw to us. While we make comparisons to the Spanish Flu, it belongs to the family of Influenza; this is a family of Coronavirus. There are differences and there are similarities. We can only take the information that we have available to us now, and make the decision that will best impact the future.
We encourage all our clients and supporters to follow the guidelines and advice issued by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and the World Health Organisation. Remember:
1.) Wash hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
2.) Where soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (60%+)
3.) Practice social distance;
4.) If you have been exposed to or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please make sure to contact the Ministry of Health or your certified health care provider.
Stay healthy and safe!
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