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news details
BEYOND COVID-19: THE NEW NORMAL
6/2/2020 11:31:09 PM

Dr. Parveen Kumar, Dr. D. Namgyal

‘There can be no illusions: We are in this for the long haul’. These are the words of Dr. Poonam Khetrapal, Regional Director of World Health Organization for South East Asia. These words are regarding the COVID-19, which means that corona virus is here to stay and we have to live with it for a long time. The South East Asian region with one-fourth of the global population and disproportionate disease burden continues to be vulnerable in view of high population densities, mega-urban slums, migrant groups, socio-economic drivers impacting compliance to physical and social distancing, in addition to the global shortage of essential medicines and commodities.
The corona virus has come as the most tumultuous, most catastrophic and the most defining epoch of everyone’s lifetime. Nothing has happened with such speed. From the end of December 2019, when the cases were first reported from Wuhan in China, to the middle of April 2020, when an estimated one-third of the world’s population was locked into their homes, the devastation was just unprecedented. The respective governments look confused, international agencies have to bite the dust and no one had any concrete plan for what to do and how to tackle this deadly virus. The virus is a mutant, it jumped from its animal host to humans; it is pernicious because it seems to find new ways to hide itself; and, we can be asymptomatic and yet be a carrier of infection. Efforts were made in the past and in the coming period all efforts should be made to control and suppress spread of COVID-19, strengthen and maintain health services, and support each other to stay safe, healthy and well. The governments of different countries went for a complete lockdown which paid them; but continued lockdowns are not a solution. Lockdowns cannot be kept on extending
There is going to be life after and beyond COVID-19. Experts and the medical fraternity are of the opinion that the virus is here to stay and humanity has to learn to live with it. Now the big question is how we will adjust with it and what will now be the new normal. The first and fore most is the use of masks. We have to be used to these masks. The social distancing measures are also very important. Gatherings have to be avoided and a minimum distance ‘Do Gaz ki Dhoori’. Already many countries have made the use of masks mandatory. They are urging their citizens to wear cloth masks at all public places. Cleaning the hands regularly after a certain interval or washing the hand with soap every time we venture out of the home should also have to be made a habit. Actually these are going to be a part and parcel of our life.
At present the factories, the industries and other places are closed temporarily; but sooner or later they have to be opened. The workers in these factories shall also have to take all the precautions. The students attending the school should come with masks and stand at least meter away while in assembly morning prayers.. The teachers have to ensure all this. With our health and economic security hanging in the balance, the pandemic has triggered a lot of stress and anxiety, making it harder for many to get enough sleep. All of us should enjoy a good sleep at least for eight hours. Isolation and distancing is good but isolation should be geographical not emotional. Unfortunately the one who turns out to be positive for this virus also faces emotional isolation. Even the family members take it as untouchability and ultimately this becomes a social stigma. This is not fair and should completely be avoided.
The victims of COVID-19 largely have been the old and the diseased persons because of their weak immune system. In the situation aftermath of the covid-19, everyone has to do extra efforts to boost their immune system. Youths have to stay from addiction. Health care system has to reinvent itself to trace the infected persons, test them and then treat them. They have also to ensure that old persons, the new borns and the pregnant women have access to nutritious food and they should be provided with food supplements like vitamins and minerals. In the new normal needs will overshadow wants as impulse buying and high-ticket purchases get prudently postponed. This will drastically reduce non-essential consumption, at least for the next couple of years. We can temporarily bid adieu to the reckless concept of ‘buy now, think later’ culture. We rather everyone would be happier with less, there will be a marked increase in the contentment levels and peoples will opt out of the thankless rat race that has dominated our lives. The post covid-19 situation will also see some more of philanthropic interventions with the resource rich persons doing a lot for the poor and needy.
Millions of peoples have already lost and many more will lose their jobs, unemployment will increase further, but there is‘silver lining too’. ‘The Make in India, compaign will be an important component of the country post covid-19, and if the government succeeds in supporting this, then it can change the face of our economy in the long run. Most job creation in the future will be contingent upon the success of the ‘Make in India’ plan. Our daily chores will also change. The way we move about and have fun will also witness a major shift. Public transportation, carpooling, mass transit, mass entertainment avenues such as bars, restaurants, concerts, entertainment hubs and cinemas will become taboo. Peoples will avoid travelling in groups or with groups. Two-wheeler sales will rise, as it will become the only viable commuting option for many.
The future impact of COVID-19 on our lives is going to be more significant than we think. It will not be a transient phenomenon. It has to be a lasting change in our social fabric. The earlier we get used to it, the better it is for us and for the humanity too.
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