As I logged into my Facebook account, everyone in my friend-list was re-posting a news. News of break-out of an unknown virus, in Wuhan, a port city of China. I did not pay much attention to the news.
As, days passed, came the year 2020 with everyone posting pictures, videos on social media. Even then, we were unaware of the kind of situation the world will have to go through. By the end of February, few other foreign countries got affected, but I was still without any clue, that even my country would be hit hard. But by the end of March it broke out in our country. People, who use to be proud off, and blow trumpets when their sons or non-residential Indian (NRI) relatives use to come back home, from a foreign country, all of a sudden went completely silent. Why, because the situation became totally opposite of what it use to be. It was in this backdrop, that the scientists came up with their research about this virus and named it COVID-19, they are working tirelessly to save a species named “homo-sapiens”, the superior species of our mother earth, as they called themselves. I don’t know how other species feel about that.
Our country ‘India’, was already going through various internal turmoil and was just trying to cope up with it, trying to prove which religion, caste, sects, sex are superior. But never mind, during this pandemic, scientists, doctors and other social and public workers came together all over the world to prove that ‘Humanity’ is superior over anything as they work selflessly.
By the way, the world has to believe that this tiny microbe has given us a chance to think in a different way and work differently. Lastly of course to take our new year resolutions or any other commitments seriously. This pandemic is definitely crippling even the most powerful, developed countries. And, if we don’t work together and take actions in time. It is definitely the light to the world to follow to bring changes, so that we can survive. It gives the spotlight on ‘3S‘, that is, sustain and survive with the help of ‘science’.
In this new era everyone, that is, governments, NGOs, other organisations (nationals and internationals) people’s participation, which is most important aspect of this era. It’s high time to follow and act over “fundamental duties” rather than only pointing out figures at the “Head of the state”. We need to understand the concept of ‘symbiosis’ as we need to ‘share’ the resources available and use it sustainably. The world which is already focusing on the ‘sustainable development goal’ but now we need to ‘act’ on them, so that we don’t go extinct because of our own self-centered ‘mindset’.
This pandemic, why this even pandemics which has already occurred, hold a space in our history book, has to be taken out from the shelf, as not many people took the pain to dust and read the old pages of those chapters. While reading we can come across the reason why, how it has taken the shape of pandemics.
Post Coronavirus we will definitely see changes, some might be for good and some might be for bad. Changes will occur in every sphere.
- Scientific aspect
- Social aspect (Psychological and ethical)
- Development Aspect
- Environmental Aspect
- Political Aspect
- Economic Aspect
- Disaster management and mitigation
By judicious use of scientific temper, for example, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Drones and Robotics. Focusing more on research and development, as it is changing us and the world in countless ways leaving an impact on society and it is growing with each day. Impacts like cures diseases, provide abundant food and clean water, reduces our labour, enables communication and travel across the globe and expand our knowledge of the natural world and cosmos. It eases our daily lives, from simple task to complex management systems. Today many people pose devices that are technology viable. Even it has an impact on businesses as it boosts creativity.
The essence how science and technology contributes to society is the creation of new knowledge, to boost the prosperity of human lives and to solve the various issues facing by the society, as we even get real time data with the help of technology. Pandemics which has hit hard to human race has made us realize the importance of health information technology. It decreases medical errors, strengthen the interactive between patients and healthcare providers, increases patients safety to store and retrieve data, better tracking and reporting of consultations and diagnostic testing, clinical decision support.
Health Information technology system permit the collection of data for use in quality management, outcome reporting and public health disease surveillance and reporting data gathered can be used to evaluate the efficiency of therapeutic interventions and lead to improvements in the practice of medicine.
Pandemics through history have reminded us why research and development, science and technology and health play an important role.
This raises the next question, why need this? Why community work is important? According to Frank Snowden’s study- infectious disease have shaped social evolution no less powerfully than economic crisis, revolution and wars. It is not a new knowledge but a respective phenomenon. Global history spans more than a millennium of outbreaks covering diseases from bubonic plague to small pox, the respiratory illness SARS, Malaria, Ebola and now COVID-19, they have long term economic social, political and cultural consequences, as violence, mass hysteria and religiosity have accompanied epidemics.
There are evidences of white scapegoating of black south Africans in 1918, first step towards apartheid. This encouraged a new form of social and sexual behavior as migrant labour are being divided from families.
Globalised economic system militates against it, because profits are rarely invested where they are extracted and we still seem to think that borders will keep diseases out, even though they never have been creating clashes between states and citizens, eroding state capacity, population displacement that is migration and highlighting social tension and discrimination. Large mortality shocks resulting demographic shifts.
Pre-modern pandemics, like smallpox and other diseases to America, led directly to the collapse of many indigenous communities and weaken their public institutions, military capacities and made them vulnerable to European conquest. Now with the improvement of healthcare system and prevention potential mortality shocks have been lowered. As this also led to psychological impact on the people and affect more, vulnerable groups, ethnic minorities, linguistic minorities, etc.
Due to COVID-19 as million people have died and millions are affected which is in turn changing the demographics of the country. Even it is said that the people of older and younger age groups are mostly affected or people whose immune system is not so strong that’s because of malnutrition, health issues, etc.
Evidence do suggest that epidemics and pandemics can amplify existing political tensions, and spark an unrest. By imposing quarantines and curfew to mitigate disease transmission by security forces or by governments. This led to violent clashes with security forces, not only that is a threat to health workers even attacks on public health personnel and facilities also. This incident is quite evident in India due to COVID-19.
During this globalisation period new geo-politics will be arising due to this pandemic. There might be a power shift amongst the superpowers, new powers might emerge like India after 2014 hold the SAARC meeting. Saudi is helping Iran during this crisis period even when USA did not lift the sanctions over Iran and it is rival of Saudi, so it is becoming evident.
India’s ‘Neighborhood First Policy’ and helping least developed nations and developing nations is another act of examples of ‘soft power’. So, there we can draw the points from social, political, cultural impact over economic impact.
To stop transmission of this pandemic, which is leading to riots, instability in the state and also lead to recession for some nations increasing unemployment which will again lead to riots, protests, crimes giving rise to a vicious cycle. This in turn will increase, disparity more between ‘poor and rich’.
Trade wars among nations is another big factor adding to the problems. Increased expenditure, severe pandemic where high income countries confront the same fiscal stresses, whereas low- and medium-income countries could face larger budget shortfalls, potentially leading to out in other government spending.
Recession, big shifts in stock markets. Investors fear spread of the Coronavirus will destroy economic growth and that government action may not be enough to stop the decline. Central Banks slashed interest rates.
IMF described the decline as the worst since the great depression of the 1930s. Travel industry has been badly damaged. This will even surpass the deep economic slump following the global financial crisis.
ILO’s predictions rise in unemployment up to 25 million in 2020. This will hit the most, the low- and middle-income countries, those who are working mostly in informal sector.
United Nations expressed concerns that the COVID-19 crisis will lead to a reversal of decades of progress in the fight against poverty, it will also impact 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. United Nation economists have estimated a USD 50 Billion decrease in manufacturing and production.
IMF, negative economic effects will be felt “very intensely” in developing countries that sell raw materials.
UNCTAD, projects that developing countries as a whole (excluding China) will lose heavily USD 800 million in terms of export revenue in 2020.
Even though market growth is crashing drastically but in the midst of all this, companies like Facebook, Zoom, Netflix, Amazon prime, various online educational platforms etc. their graph of growth is upward rising.
Due to this pandemic the area where we are getting a positive sign is on the environment. Ozone holes are recovering, less pollution travels due to closure of industries and less cars due to lock down, less smog in Indian cities as particulate matter are less in air. Even river Ganga is regenerating itself because of the closure of the textile industries, as people are going on the Ghats, streams which also cause water pollution are less now.
As no vaccines or specific drugs are available, and health systems are overburdened everywhere. So, we have to rely on targeted non-corrosive, community interventions with sufficient transparency and public engagement trust.
Mass gathering and events such as music festivals, religious gatherings, political events, celebrations should be restricted. Social Distancing measures- decreasing the frequency and duration of social contacts among people of all ages- reduce person to person transmission of the virus.
Office space is another enabling environment for respiratory disease transmission, so telemedicine, videoconferencing, telecommuting and expanded leave policies even new shift and rotation schedules seeking decrease social density can minimize disease propagation.
Travel is the single most important contributor by reducing frequency of transport, route restrictions could be proposed, along with community sensitization, aiming to reduce demand for the travel.
From here we understand how sovereign state and people have to come together. It is also setting an example how we are dependent and how we are interlinked together. Having a self-centered mindset is not going to solve our problem. To sustain ourselves with the dynamic characteristics of nature and with its unsolved mysteries we have to join hands.
It is also setting an example even low the largest economy of the world is crippling and making medium and small economies totally paralyzed. So, if we work and focus on community-based work, it will provide a safe environment where we all can grow and prosper together.
(Pratyusha graduated from Shri Shikshayatan College with Geography-major. You can contact her for further queries @ firstname.lastname@example.org)
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