As human race we are going through a pandemic.
As a part of nature, we are undergoing a significant natural phenomenon. An event, significant from the point of view of human survival.
As a species we are quite safe. But as individuals??? Are we sure we have equal opportunity to be backed by all the scientific & technological know-how the race is capable of?
As the most advanced species on earth, we just found ourselves a bit (and that’s a very large bit🤪) unprepared for the event.
All of a sudden, we find ourselves in the midst of an invisible tsunami and are doing our best to hold on to a life line called social distancing for dear life. No matter what our technological advancements are, social-distancing is the only effective weapon we have now. We are simply waiting for the storm to run its course. Our situation is akin to that of the early mammals’ situation during the reign of dinosaurs. Only difference being that mammals’ main survival strategy was to hide underground while we are now given lock down orders, Stay-Home orders, etc. We are fighting it tooth & nail but have been humbled enough to compare the fight with a world war.
It is a situation where we are forced to –
- Ask questions as to whether all that we – humans – do is right in terms of the safety of the race.
- Understand what we are missing out in terms of our priorities, Politics or Business interests or religious agendas or Environment or Preparedness for people’s welfare.
- Undergo a sample trial of being a Rushi or a sage (who in a normal situation observes self-isolation & social distancing). Though we are outwardly trying to occupy our minds with jokes, social media banter, government bashing, etc, inwardly we are turned inward dealing with that one uncomfortable question, “what if its my turn now?” facing us and are dealing with it as best we can individually.
- To assess our own behaviors when it comes to avoiding exposure / risk in different scenarios (eg: India, S.Korea, Italy, Iran, S.pore)
- Figure out how to prevent public panic while ensuring food & essential supplies as part of disaster management.
- Assess how well the public policy framing is working in each country.
- Realize how leaders’ political instincts persist & influence decision-making and how precious time is lost in the face of an invisible mass-killer.
- Think how globalization & access to all corners of earth has multiplied the pace & expanse of a contagion.
- Address the challenges that global warming will pose, one of them being unknown pre-ice age viruses, presently under lock down themselves in permafrost regions, getting released by melting glaciers & polar ice caps.
- Understand how a biological war can be unleashed with no one actually declaring it. (I don’t think present situation is such a thing but there are always those “devil’s workshops” that learn from this experience)
On the whole, as individuals we can only observe social distancing & other measures once we find ourselves in such a crisis. More comes or should come in the form of governments’ foresight, priorities & preparedness. Education & attitude of people matter a lot in any situation, of course.
As a species we are undobtedly safe, we will survive. But as individuals, self-isolation – that too as early as possible – is the only guarantee despite the scientific assurances that only 2% of the total infected have serious risk. But, an infected person knows s(he) is NOT in that 2% only when doctors confirm that s(he) has fully recovered.
So, all our struggles are now to avoid an “invitation” to that 2% club and people are unequally-equipped – mentally, intellectually and physically. That has to change. That change, to come, will need some changes in the way economics, environment, governments, businesses and politics are run. At a deeper level, greater transparency & honesty between nations will be necessary. Such changes are possible when majority of population demands guaranty for their safety. In essence, 100% Democracy, 100% Education, 100% Transparency, 100% Governments’ accountability are needed to handle this type of crises in an acceptable manner. We can understand that 100% of all those things is not possible but do we know what % is possible? Is there enough political will to maximize that %ge?
We also know that it is impossible to perfectly predict & prevent new virus invasions but it is possible to ensure good medical infrastructure and efficient & transparent crisis management like S.Korea did.