Ninety days in lockdown have already passed by in India. Most countries have successfully flattened the corona curve in their respective countries by strictly following lockdown guidelines and strict guidelines of social distancing and public hygiene.In countries like U.S and India , governments are again on the way to impose lockdowns after a short period of unlocking to let ease the public for meeting their day to day requirements and mainly with an eye on saving the falling economies. Except those going for work now , most people might already be feeling imprisoned in their own homes, staring at the same walls, missing social life and so on. All are just waiting with one hope, the exit of the small virus which is creating panic everywhere. Waiting eagerly for the final announcement by W.H.O. that the coronavirus pandemic is over and the end of lockdowns and shutdowns. Imagine that moment when we all can jump out of our homes to catch a sight of the streets that lay stranded for the past few months, the unattended many issues outside our homes, that are seeking our attention to be addressed and the list is endless. Going by the current statistics of the COVID 19 infection rates across the world, a picture comes to my mind. It might be very tough on the part of any government to completely do away with the series of lockdowns until a proper vaccine comes out officially. Perhaps an easing of lockdown rules over the next couple of months as it is being currently done in our country to save the country’s economy and to feed its people might be a way out to balance our day to day lives.
At the start of the pandemic, it was like a war between Humanity and the Economy. Lockdown was the only answer to such a threatening situation befalling upon humanity. It may be regarded as the last line of defence. Humanity was given the priority in almost all the countries. There was no other option but to save the human race from getting affected in huge numbers by this disease, thereby reducing pressure on the already overcrowded hospitals by announcing lockdowns. The economy can be revived if the human race survives the pandemic.
Imagine the day, you’ll be moving out of your homes after the lockdown to venture into the same world which you had left it outside for that small virus. Would you remain the same when you move out for any work, to socialize or to travel domestic or international? What about sending your children to the schools and colleges, when authorities would notify for the restart of the academic sessions that got lapsed in between? One fine day, if our governments announce that pandemic is all over now, no more curfews or lockdowns, would you dare to visit your favourite eateries or restaurants for some good food or a drink? If large religious congregations are permitted again, will you be a part of it? When borders are reopened and flights are resumed and you can travel again, whether for work or a trip – will you be excited to fly again? The answer to the above questions is a clear ‘NO’.
Everyone must be anxious about when this lockdown would end. But what if this lockdown ends, would you be the same person while outside your home? I am sure. You won’t. This situation may better be explained as somewhat like this. When any patient comes out of a coma, the doctors won’t allow him to go for work or party immediately. He will be asked for bed rest at home after being discharged from the hospital. He has to undergo a long period of gradual rehabilitation, of dietary and locomotive restrictions, of physiotherapy.
Also, there will always be a constant fear of a second surge in COVID-19 cases until the proper vaccine comes out. Witnessing the wrath of the coronavirus across the world since the recent few months, we all will be extremely guarded about how much we venture back into the world, how much we socialise and how much we travel and interact with people physically. Activities will shrink for sure.
At this stage, the human race might already be imagining a world of ‘Low-Touch and High-Friction’ to survive tomorrow. Such a world would have two key characteristics. The first (the touch part) would be that people would be reluctant to gather in public as freely and easily like before. The second (the friction) would see a world where countries have shrunk back within their national boundaries with increased self-sufficiency and strong monitoring and surveillance. If we want to be part of the post-COVID-19 world, let us be ready for low-touch and high-friction. COVID-19 will bring in many changes in all spheres of life. Habits will change and there will be a shift in demand patterns. There will be an enormous increase in virtual gatherings, in remote working(work from home companies), in healthcare capacity and telemedicine, wide acceptance of online education worldwide and the mushrooming of e-commerce companies. Functioning through the cloud, online shopping, online streaming, change in eating habits, pre-emptive healthcare measures, emphasis on insurance, etc will gain prominence. New outsourcing opportunities could also come to Indian companies. There will be another set of opportunities that arise as nations retreat into greater self-sufficiency and local solutions. The recent topic “Vocal about Local” has already been discussed by our Honourable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi a few days ago. His speech indicates about going local as the only current solution to save the economy and society. According to him, “Every crisis brings with it an opportunity. Covid-19 is no different. Let us evaluate what might be the new opportunities or growth areas that would emerge now”.
If we want to sustain tomorrow, let us positively take COVID 19. Let us prepare ourselves for the new normal. Let us not wait for the dust to settle and for governments and medics to give the go-ahead. People are already imagining and adopting creative ways to get going, in any field, big or small. They are learning new skills in readiness. They are preparing themselves for different ways of working. Many small business owners are gradually making shifts by adopting the digital platform to reach customers. Some are seen shifting their existing line of businesses to the most essential goods and services sectors. In a nutshell, the new normal might be digitalization across sectors, focus on public health and hygiene(like adopting mask culture religiously or avoid spitting in public places etc), maintaining social distancing in public places or if possible avoiding unnecessary social gatherings.