By Ahmed Al Harthy
As the world continues to grapple with the on-going spread of COVID-19, there is an incessant drive by many thinkers and decision-makers on how to survive, adapt and thrive. For almost four months, the focus and priority were on protecting the masses; ensuring that all are safe and well. Very little was attempted to live and cope with the virus as our new reality.
It is difficult to imagine, in hindsight, that we would be living in lockdown for as long as we have, with a virus so dangerous that it would end up consuming the lives of over half a million people worldwide.
As we passed the midway point of 2020, it has become imperative to reopen markets, schools, and offices. We must begin reviving the economy and maintaining people’s mental health and overall happiness. However, it will prove challenging to imagine a world after COVID-19. Big questions will arise on social, political, and philosophical planes. Will people find a way back to socializing normally? Will handshakes become a greeting of the past? Are we going to transform the ways in which we work into more digitally accommodative channels?
It is interesting to observe how our society will evolve. I would go as far as to claim that this pandemic will radically reshape society into new ways of conducting themselves. Its impact would be as far-reaching as the impact of the two World Wars, and the 9/11 attacks. Peoples of the world will realise that the trivial activities that we partake in on a daily basis can no longer be taken for granted. Our constant freedom and independence may prove impossible to guarantee.
There may be a lot of good that may emerge from the ashes. The natural environment would have had a chance to rehabilitate itself. The impact of which may make more realise how much damage the human race inflicts on wildlife and on the flora and fauna of our planet. Additionally, we may see a dramatic to shift to work evermore smartly; workplaces will not have the previous hesitancy to adopt new technologies that make their workers more efficient and optimise their operational overheads.
However, the flip side of the post-COVID-19 world may be harder to predict and/or measure. The damage done to world economies as a result of the pandemic has prompted many economists to boldly predict that we would need more time and resources to heal than was needed during the 2009 global financial crisis. The status of workers currently out of work may prove yet to be a contentious issue.
To end on a positive note, this global crisis has helped many to rediscover what truly matters in life: health, family, and stability. We must not revert to our old ways once this crisis ends, but should seek to take all the lessons learnt and practice them consistently. That should be our new norm.