Life has never been as confusing as it has turned out to be with the Covid-19 pandemic. It came in as a short-term manageable virus not until it was declared a pandemic by the WHO; and the world was set ablaze with skyrocketing numbers of covid-19 patients in china and later this spread caused lots of worry to global inhabitant who were caught up in a junction without sign posts.
Newton’s third law of Motion States that, “For Every Action there is an equal and opposite Reaction”. The Corona Virus pandemic attacked us viciously and brought untold destruction, killing thousands and wrecking businesses while leaving many economies on the brink of collapse. That was the action. The world in this case, made a reaction to this attack by enforcing lockdowns, putting quarantines, applying social distance, sanitizing, washing hands and we are now looking for vaccines and possibly a cure for this COVID-19. Unfortunately, the world’s reaction to the pandemic attack came too little too late. In many instances applied wrongly and because this reaction did not give back an equal force in the opposite direction many lives were lost and economies destroyed.
The Covid-19 journey is long and full of confusion. Many experts have been flip flopping in their opinions and theories of management. The World still awaits a thorough post Mortem of events, and consultants have a big task ahead of delivering on Human behavior & its management.
Part -1- lockdown phase Drama.
The initial phase of the Corona virus attack was an ambush on the world and on life itself. Confusion prevailed everywhere as to what remedies should be taken to contain its spread.
The health priorities in many countries were caught in between their Political and Economic agenda. Nations had to choose to pursue politics and economics without suffocating the Health needs of her population.
Announcements were made and guidelines issued, for people to wear face masks, and as countries began to order them by the millions, there was an immediate shortage of masks around the Globe. Then some countries started issuing fresh Guidelines saying there is no need to wear masks unless you are a Health worker or in close contact with a patient. Then after a few more weeks, we were all told that nobody can go out of their home, without wearing a mask. Different advisories were issued by different health experts at different times on mask specifications and we noticed the variations from country to country. Opinions were changing faster than a Chameleon changing color. It was total confusion.
In some countries like India, handling of movement of Migrant labour during the Lockdown showed the confusion at its peak. Confusion never came to an end, over arranging food & shelter, for migrant workers, or arranging transportation to move them to their homes or allow them to walk for 500 km journey towards their home. The confusion was in its threesome capacity. Now after 4 months of pandemic, the shortage of migrant labour is felt in many parts of the world.
Medical System around the World has its own unique story. While Government hospitals & Government health workers were busy fighting Covid-19, the private hospitals & doctors of other faculties in most countries were protecting themselves under lockdown. In many countries, a person suffering from any other diseases or ailment was not able to get the right treatment. This subject of neglect of other disease and patients has hardly been touched or talked about by governments, around the world.
The effect of sneezing was always a question of debate, as to how far the droplets can travel. The debate of one meter to two meters is still ongoing, Is Corona Virus air born or not, is another point of debate in the media to date.
Lack of Transparency from most of the countries, around the world has been observed. Except for a few Western countries, most of the others never accepted publically the shortage of PPE Suits, Masks, ventilators, availability of Beds, Test Kits, Testing Labs or funds. Also, the declaration of statistics, related to Covid-19 has been so much controlled by many countries, to suit their agenda.
Countries that were talking about enough stock of testing Kits, were doing least number of tests. Now another theory has surfaced “stop chasing the virus, focus on those critically ill”.
Good to blame WHO, but the country’s own Experts were also not playing their timely role, they should have played. May be confusion prevailed among them as well. We all waited for the Pandemic to be declared by WHO, as if it was not the duty of each country to protect themselves.
China locked Wuhan from the rest of China, but world did not lock itself from China. Airport Health checkups around the Globe either never took off, or were initiated very late with halfhearted approach. There is no single rule for International travelers and people are confused.
The declaration of Launch dates of Vaccination & medicines is the race among country leaders & pharmaceutical companies around the Globe. How confused is the common man, about the availability of Treatment & Vaccination?
Declaration of Economic Stimulus was for the economy, or for people, or for voters or countries just followed the herd theory. The real implementation needs to be watched, if it matches with the announcements made and if it benefits the Economy.
In many parts of the world, Covid related SOP’s were issued for the general public but were not suitably issued for frontline workers, as there was shortage of PPE & Masks. Hence, use of PPE & Masks were never made mandatory for these frontline workers.
Lockdown policy was adopted halfheartedly. Delaying the Pandemic through lockdown was also a theory debated around the world. But difficult to see its real effect in any country.
Part II- unlocking the Lockdown, Drama.
Many of the infected Countries opened their sky for Domestic Flights without any provisions of Quarantine but were reluctant to open International flights without Quarantine policy. Meaning countries around the Globe which have either recovered or had less infections can bring Covid-19 but the Internal cities which are Highly Infected, will not transmit Corona virus due to this opening of Domestic Flights. The confusion between Home Quarantine and Government controlled Quarantine was seen in many countries.
When Herd Immunity concept was for the first time talked, we all rejected it, but now what is this unlocking phase? The talk of second wave of Corona attack is another theory to be seen.
Asia, & many African countries have seen less impact of Covid-19 & Governments are taking credit of this as it was due to their accumenship. Time will find the reason for it. Of course, theories like Hot weather, BCG Vaccination, Immunity Level of people are also arguments being debated.
As students say, back to school, – for the first time in our life, the whole world is saying, Back to work. We need to, get the economy moving.
The community, the Business, the Government, altogether need to get away from confusion & need to develop, a roadmap, to see, that our economy, bounces back & lives are saved.
The Art of handling life, during and after the Pandemic, will decide, every country’s economy and every business future. It is the leader, of the country, community, and corporate who will make a difference, and lead us to success. One thing is true about all the mixed messages and confusion; i.e we all have a part to play.
Let us take this, as an opportunity, to become, more resilient, for absorbing such shocks in future.
(The Writer is a Uganda based entrepreneur and recipient of the highest Civilian Award from H.E The President of Uganda and also, the Highest award for Non-Resident Indian from H.E The President of India)