By Sandeep Sahu
As the year 2020 draws to a close, the long shadow of Corona that engulfed the better part of the year is finally showing some signs of receding - though the Covid 19 scare is far from over. With the vaccine against the dreaded virus finally leaving the confines of laboratories across the world and making its way gingerly towards the multitude of humanity desperately waiting outside for its arrival, it is only a matter of time before the virus runs its course.
But will the world ever be the same again? Will things get back to where they were before Corona started playing havoc with lives, livelihoods and lifestyles all over the globe? The answer, I am afraid, has to be an emphatic ‘No’! While most things may get back to normal, certain things will never be the same again.
If nothing else, mankind will dismount from the high horse it has been riding over the pre-Corona years and decades and realise how vulnerable – and utterly helpless – it is despite all the scientific and technological advancements and innovations it has achieved. This was a lesson man needed to learn as much for its own long-term interests as for interests of the rest of the universe. In its single-minded pursuit of dominance, man did not realise the irreparable harm it is causing to the rest of the living world. And it is, in a way, good that man learnt this all-important lesson the hard way. Hopefully, it will be more mindful of the adverse effects of its actions on other species and the universe at large from now on.
Second, humankind will hopefully pay greater attention to cleanliness and personal hygiene now than it did before, even after the Coronavirus recedes to the background. Habits acquired during the pandemic to boost immunity will presumably stay even in the post-Corona days. The ubiquitous face mask could well become a thing of the past in a few months’ time. But large gatherings with intimate mingling – the kind we saw before Covid – would certainly become a thing of the past, at least for the next several years, if not for all time to come. Public displays of physical intimacy will be a strict no-no.
Even as Corona played havoc with lives, it also had some very welcome fall-outs, none of them more important than bringing families closer. The relentless march of industrialization and modernization had torn family relations asunder. No one had time for other members of the time. Corona taught us the value – and virtue - of spending time with family. One can only expect that the lessons learnt during the pandemic months would not be forgotten in a hurry.
The healthcare infrastructure in many countries, not the least of them India, was caught completely napping when Corona struck. With the lessons learnt during the pandemic, this all-important sector would hopefully get greater attention – and of course greater outlays – of planners.
Things like online classes, virtual meetings, webinars look like they have come to stay. While physical meetings and offline classes will resume in a few days, the virtual is unlikely to go out of the scene completely because of matters of convenience and costs. Likewise, ‘work from home’ will no more be a matter of compulsion, but of choice. The post-Corona world, therefore, could be a judicious mix of the real and the virtual.
One can go on adding many other sectors that would internalize lessons learnt during the Covid-19 pandemic and make lasting changes to their ecosystems. The important thing about almost all these changes is that they are all for the good of everyone.
Despite the heavy toll of human lives it has taken, it can be said that Corona has not really been an unmitigated disaster after all!
(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are the author’s own and have nothing to do with OTV’s charter or views. OTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same)
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