Businesses will thrive with time, but what about individuals?

Vinod Nair

On every New Year’s Eve, individuals generally hope for a prosperous new year, while businesses and governments hope for undeterred economic growth.

I slightly recall, in the early nineties, watching a movie that predicted flying cars and taxis in the world by 2020 or 2030.

Forget flying cars, what we saw in the first half of 2020 is that even airplanes are grounded, unable to take off.

The first half of this brand new decade not only belied expectations but it has rewritten history setting a new benchmark for any global crisis to follow for decades.

Post-WWII, the two Gulf Wars (1990, 2003) and the 9/11 attacks (2001) did affect businesses worldwide, managed to revisit security checks at airports, but their potency now appears a poor shadow of Covid-19.

While paying huge tribute to the lives lost due to human aggressions and natural disasters such SARS outbreak of 2002, tsunami (2004), and various devasting earthquakes, I still feel Covid-19 has been the lethal of all.

Covid-19 managed to lock millions of people across continents inside their homes at the same time. It grounded all types of public transportation and left businesses and the government with zero revenues for three months.

In the modern era of globe-trotting by people of all age groups, hotels, beaches, and resorts are lying barren at the mercy of their caretakers.

As we enter the second half of 2020, the world still has no clue and ammunition to fight this invisible enemy.

With an effective vaccine still months or years away, there is no defined template as the world enters a new era with Covid-19.

How can one travel on buses, trains, and planes with certainty that the person sitting next to us is Covid-free or not?

How safe it will be sending our children to schools with a guarantee that their teachers and friends are Covid-free.?

How safe it will be for elders to go for a stroll in parks and beaches or even places of worship with a guarantee that their friends or passers-by are COVID-free?

As it is not feasible for any governments, rich or poor, to continue with institutional quarantine measures indefinitely, we now enter into a new era where an average person (poor or rich) will be unsurely left to fend for themselves.

Businesses will thrive with time, but can individuals fight an invisible enemy with no potent weapon?

(the author is an online editor and senior journalist at omanoberver.om)