Over the years, humanity has suffered great losses due to pandemics. The Spanish Flu” (caused by an A(H1N1) virus) in 1918–1919, the “Asian Flu” caused by an A(H2N2) virus) in 1957–1958 and the “Hong Kong Flu” caused by an A(H3N2) virus in 1968 that killed millions of people. Currently, we are living through a pandemic. The coronavirus disease of 2019 popularly known as (COVID-19). COVID -19 is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome – coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It was first identified in Wuhan, China in 2019. Unfortunately, it has spread rapidly across continents some of which are more equipped to handle the situation while others are trying to come up with magic tricks; with all being makeshift solutions yet to solve the pandemic.
There is no denying the devastating effect this is having on us globally, regardless of one’s economic or geographic position. Conspiracy theorists have called it a biochemical weapon; while religious partisans have called it the work of the Antichrist, but it is certainly a disease, a devastating one. If there is more to it, that remains uncertain. To reduce the spread, we have been encouraged to improve our hygiene, practice social distancing and self-isolate. Self-isolation and social distancing go against our nature; we were not created for isolation. However, in times like this, we have to go against our very nature to survive. We have to choose between the preservation of our species and the need for social behaviours.
As creatures with the innate desire for companionship, how are we expected to thrive in a condition that goes against our nature? The long walks in the park with a loved one, coffee at our favourite café, brunch with our friends, dinner with a would-be lover, and long weekends with family are the things we look forward to after a stressful day. The little blessings of life. Instead, our days are filled with fear, the media is filled with negative news, death counts increase by the day, and it seems for some, there is pleasure in seeing the scores soar, so they can gloat at those who failed to heed to warnings. We can not argue that it has always felt good to say “I told you so” but this period more than ever isn’t the time.
As we count the death toll, we should also take into account the toll the pandemic is having on us, financially and emotionally. Already, there are reports of increased divorce rates in China after the COVID-19 lockdown, and this would most likely be the case in many other countries. One would have thought that this would have been an opportunity for families to foster strong bonds and healthy relationships, but the reverse is the case. Relationships are ending, domestic violence is increasing, kids are trapped with their abusers and there is no escaping the emotional torture that comes from being unable to live freely. Life as we know it would never be the same or at least for a long time.
The economic impact COVID-19 will have on the global economy can not be ignored. The drastic drop in oil price, job losses, the decline in government and private revenues and bank assets are all indices of recession – a decline in per capita output. A lot of people are at home due to the lockdown in order to flatten the curve, giving medical frontiers a chance at eliminating the virus.
The uncertainty around the virus’s future has left many economic experts in the dark. However, a resurgence of COVID-19 in 2021 will leave many economies struggling for years to come, and many countries will struggle to protect both lives and livelihood.
The good news however is; whenever there are lost opportunities many others spring forth and such might be the case of the post-pandemic economic impact, many more opportunities with a more robust economy. For now, humanity will have to live through the economic trough.
Even though history shows that the world didn’t come to an end after the Spanish flu, a huge number of people believe that this is the end of the world. As devastating as this is, it also seems to be a blessing in disguise. A lot of us have realised that wealth and fame are not the most important things in life however essential, and that peace of mind and good health should never be trivialised. Our order of importance as we have been accustomed to has been questioned more so in recent times. Our inadequacies have come to light and hopefully, a reorder of our priorities will cause a positive change in the world.