Positive things we can take from the Covid-19 pandemic

Many who were planning their marketing strategies a few months ago, are looking with horror at what is left of their business’ today.

Many sectors have been completely flattened and will never return to what they were a few months ago.

Change is inevitable.  Dramatic change is a shock.

The Coronavirus has forced us to have a very hard introspective look at the world and our role in it.

Are we going to change and move forward, or constantly try to recreate what we had and be dissatisfied with anything different?

The world has been hit by similar viruses in the past, MERS and SARS were also from the same Coronavirus family as Covid-19 but were comparatively contained.

The New England Journal of medicine reported that Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), were spread much less efficiently and only by symptomatic people.

In fact, Covid-19 has already caused 10 times as many cases as SARS in a quarter of the time.

This is not new to the world, in 1918 about 50 million people died from Spanish Flu.

We, as South Africans, are faced with a choice of trying to manage the infection over time, allowing our health care system to cope, and getting our economy rolling again despite lockdowns and restrictions.

To spend billions of Rands on fighting the pandemic may seem to be a waste of money. But look at the economic pain caused by the virus already, travel, supply chains, oil prices, stock markets and a plethora of others have been disrupted.  If these billions are effective, it will be worth it.

Our natural instincts want everything to return to “normal”, the way things were before and which we believe we understand.

But, do we really want to go back to that?

Cities have become more and more gridlocked, it takes longer and longer to travel anywhere, pollution is increasing to unsustainable levels, our healthcare is at best ineffective, and our schools and tertiary institutions can operate more effectively.

The World Health organisation is already predicting much longer periods than any of us envisaged initially, we could remain in this social distancing, contact avoiding state for a few years to come, so this is the ideal time to make the changes.

  • It is cheaper to work from home, not only on the budget, but for the environment. Think of the advantages for childcare and child nurturing, it’s flexible, and in many cases equally or more effective, this will not suite the office networking expert, so it is something for everyone.  More teleworking will reduce pressure on our road and office infrastructure, be cheaper for both parties’ long term, and produce less pollutants.  The worlds cities had the cleanest air for decades during lockdown.  Future development must include clean technologies.
  • This is where part of socialism is probably right. There are some basic needs which not only help individuals, but society in general.  Healthcare systems need to be upgraded and available to all, and community medicine needs to be practised to deal with medical problems at the source and before they get too serious, this will also act as an early warning system.
  • Housing with enough space to grow our own basic fruit and vegetables, this will also improve food security. We need to move away from our constant increasing urbanisation and find ways to work and thrive away from major centres.
  • Connectivity which covers the entire country at acceptable speeds will allow people to largely remain at home and still work effectively and remove the overcrowded, unhealthy state of housing for many south Africans
  • A basic, unconditional income for everyone will assist the disadvantaged, and decrease the level of crime, malnutrition and desperation which is experienced at present. This is an advantage to society as much as for the individual.
  • Use local produce and services as much as possible. It keeps local money local and if you buy local products, you reduce the need for products to be transported which helps the environment and encourages entrepreneurs to remain locally and not move to the city
  • Schools and education systems have hardly been changed for hundreds of years; we all know that parrot fashion learning helps very few in the real world. Going to school every day for a fixed time is outdated, expensive and inefficient, especially when half the class is forced to be there and learns comparatively little.  A system of research based education, with the majority done remotely and certain assessments and progress checking done face to face would remove the need to go to an educational institution every day, it will teach children discipline, how to be self-starters and follow the type of education which interests and motivates them.

This all needs to take place with as little party political and business influence and interference as possible, to make it cheap and unaffected by elections, campaigning and profiteering.  These are but a few of changes that could be made to make our world, the only place where we live…  Better.

Why not take advantage now?

Stay home, be safe!