Just like every other ending of the year, at the end of 2019, every citizen of the world had new year resolutions for year 2020, we all were hoping to give lost opportunities a second chance, go to countries we have never visited, buy new cars, learn new things, improve our careers, get closer to our families, buy second houses, be a better person, develop new applications to solve more world problems, get married to our loved ones, have better relationships, etc. Little did we know that the world was going to experience a standstill like never before. We had been hearing about the coronavirus disease that originated in Wuhan in China, less people had the idea that it was going to spread across the world in less than 3 months.
Fast-forward 2 months later, the disease has forced the world to its knees, crippling the world’s economy, forcing World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare the disease a Pandemic, countries – that were reluctant to shut their borders for economic reasons – to ban foreigners from entering their countries and quarantine their citizens arriving from foreign lands, companies and establishments to shut their buildings advising employees to work from home, others to lay off their employees in order to promote self-isolation and social distancing, governments to enforce Stay-at-home policies and help the citizens with unemployment benefits for their troubles etc., all in a bid to slow down or curtail the astronomical spread of the virus.
On the 2nd of April 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported that Record 6.6 Million Americans Sought Unemployment Benefits. The Irish government also introduced a new temporary income for workers and companies affected by the pandemic. This is the same for most countries trying to do whatever they can to support their citizens in this unique time. Billionaires, millionaires and others who feel the urge to help are donating money, Ventilators, face masks, among other equipment to help governments fight the deadly disease. The health workers are working round the clock to help the patients at hospitals. This is indeed a unique time for all of us.
For some who still have their jobs, working from home is the new normal, TV Shows are now being held from home by the hosts, press conferences held with social distancing enforced and some by leaders self-isolating.
“Can you hear me?”, “I think I just lost you there”, “My network is bad”, “This network is wonky”, “Can you see my screen?”, “Sorry, I got kicked out there for some seconds”, “Can you please help mute your mic?, we can hear you”, “I can hear background noises there”, “Sorry, I was talking to myself there, I thought I unmute my mic”, “Are we live?”, “Please block your camera, we can see you”, “I can’t share my screen for some reasons, please let’s try Slack”, “Your free meeting has ended”, “My power may be out for some hours, so I might not be able to make the 3pm meeting”, “My internet is not working for some reasons, I need to call Vodafone”, “Skype doesn’t let me share”, “Can we try Microsoft Teams?”, “Some people are working on some things close to my house, so you might be hearing some background noises, please bear with me”.
Who would have thought that one day the whole planet earth would be grounded, and the politicians would worry less about re-elections and humans would worry less about their ambitions but how to survive the next day coronavirus-free? Unfortunately, this is the reality.
For most companies and establishments around the world, it’s been one month already, and we are adapting very fast. Desperate times call for desperate measures, the pandemic has made the world to start to adjust to the new norm. In this new era, only essential stores are allowed to open for business and deliveries are encouraged, stores now limit the number of people allowed in the stores at a time, getting fresh air is now a risk, health workers can no longer get close to their loved ones. Work-from-home, Stay-at-home, Social distancing, self-isolation, Netflix parties, Facebook party are now the order of the day.
Four weeks later, despite the lockdowns, the disease is still spreading like wildfire, forcing governments to extend the lockdowns with the hope that things will get better sooner rather than later. As of Sunday, 5 April 2020, there are 1,205,801 cases worldwide with 64,973 deaths and 247,961 have recovered already, that is 20.6% recovery rate.
The usual question from everyone is: How long is this going to last? The experts’ honest answer is “Nobody really knows”. Some experts believe that: “The answer is simple, if not exactly satisfying: when enough of the population—possibly 60 or 80 percent of people—is resistant to COVID-19 to stifle the disease’s spread from person to person. That is the end goal, although no one knows exactly how long it will take to get there”. Tara C. Smith, PhD, a professor of epidemiology at Kent State University explains that it depends on how well the people follows the guidelines of stay at home and social distancing. One thing is certain, Corona Virus will not be the end of the world, we will beat this, but in the meantime, we might as well try to adapt to the new norm, follow the guidelines set by the World Health Organisation (WHO), by washing our hands regularly, stay at home, practice social distancing, reduce touching of M.E.N. (Mouth, Eyes and Nose) when our hands are not clean. This is the only way we can all do our best individually and collectively to slow down and curtail the spread of the deadly disease, so we can all go back to our daily lives sooner rather than later.