April 10th, 2020
COVID-19 has changed the world forever. It is undeniable that tensions run high in the air – of fear and uncertainty. This is an expected reaction. Nobody knows when the situation is set to improve. There may be tons of commentary, conspiracies, and promises circulated across various news channels, medical forums, and other online outlets but nothing seems substantial. If someone did possess golden knowledge (perhaps of a cure), the world would see itself in a much different situation – bolting toward salvation.
Alas, there are countless conjectures but nothing set in stone. And with that, humanity can only plan one day at a time and count on delay tactics. Research teams from various universities in multiple countries are announcing hopeful treatments and vaccinations, but nothing seems conclusive at this juncture. Even if a cure was signed, sealed, and delivered, it would be risky to assume that COVID-19 will not linger or recur.
History tells us that the fight against a pandemic is an arduous process that we must be prepared to weather for the sake of survival. The Spanish Flu of 1918 wore itself out after a year – when most of the infected had died or developed natural immunities. The haunting episode was also a testament to the fighting spirit of humanity – with societies overcoming the deadly virus despite primitive levels of healthcare and the ongoing carnage of WWI.
If we could survive then, we should be able to do so now – but this is not a rushed job.
The pandemic is an anomaly, a seemingly randomized event that grew out of proportion.
There is no method of anticipating random events since they are essentially inscrutable blips in the system- but we can predict the aftermath. COVID-19 is no different, and the bad news is that its effects are likely to linger for a while. The good news is that we can protect ourselves against those said effects by recognizing its ramifications.
COVID-19: Healthcare Front
Healthcare remains the primary concern with a pandemic. COVID-19 has infected millions, with a global death toll of over 600,000 at the point of writing. Some notable figures in society have succumbed to complications of the illness, which include broadway star Nick Cordero, singer Chris Trousdale, and renowned shoe designer, Sergio Rossi.
COVID-19 is a virus that latches its spiky proteins onto healthy cells – especially moist areas such as the lung tissues. The invading virus proceeds to hijack healthy cells, eventually killing them and putting lives at risk. COVID-19 is mainly transmitted via contaminated surfaces and the respiratory droplets of infected individuals.
While there have been over 8.6 million reported cases of recovery, here’s the rub – these viruses feature something known as persistence. This refers to the period where a virus stays alive within a body while avoiding detection. This is comparable to the herpes virus, where recovered individuals remain as carriers, are contagious, and prone to re-infection.
Scientists and healthcare professionals are still trying to decipher the prognosis of COVID-19, which remains a novel condition. Mary Kearney, a senior scientist specialized in drug resistance shares, “Persistence is a tricky word. Where there’s long-term persistence, there can be long-term consequences.”
The good news is that promising vaccines are underway, such as the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 overseen by Oxford University. Oxford’s vaccine mimics COVID-19’s spike protein, which is responsible for the virus’s invasion. The vaccine has shown positive immune responses during trials, essentially training bodily systems to fight COVID-19.
Similarly, China pharmaceutical company Sinopharm has undergone phase three testing of their version of a vaccine. Trials were conducted by the China National Biotech Group in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi government, involving 15,000 participants. The vaccine is expected to be commercially available by the end of 2020.
However, while vaccines are within sight, COVID-19 remains to be investigated for its long-term health implications. The path toward the eradication of the virus may remain a bumpy road as scientists continue to scrutinize the symptoms of the infection.
COVID-19: Business Front
Medical staff and scientists continue to slog day in and day out in this veritable war against an unseen enemy. But it is easy to forget that the battle is not purely waged on a medical front. COVID-19 has altered the norms of businesses and shifted world economies. Governments are heightening securities over trade and foreign relations, which continue to disrupt global supply chains. It will take a while (months or perhaps years) for several industries to recover – tourism, airlines, and luxury goods, to name a few.
A sharp decline in the stock market during the start of 2020 led to heavy losses for big companies. Warren Buffet, one of the richest investors in the world, saw his company losing a whopping $50 billion worth of Class A (priciest) shares in the first quarter alone. A report from insurance provider Main Street America states that 7.5 million small businesses are at risk of folding despite the Federal government’s low-interest loans.
The world of business is currently in a state of flux that warrants close monitoring by business owners, investors, and other key stakeholders. Debts and losses incurred during the COVID-19 season are expected to affront industries even in a post-vaccine era.
COVID-19: Socio-economical Front
Work-from-home and remote functions have become a rule rather than an exception. This is expected to remain the norm for the future workforce post-COVID. Employers are becoming increasingly well-informed and confident with location-agnostic arrangements. Laurel Farer, CEO of Distribute Consulting identifies three workplace trends that are set to stay: virtual workplace accessibility, asynchronous communication, and results-based tracking.
On the social side, mass media continues to propagate content on social-distancing, hand-washing, and other sanitization practices. It has become common to find pandemic-related videos pop up on your newsfeed despite displaying zero interest on the subject. Society is likely to remain cautious over the slightest health scares.
Celebrities, who were once placed on pedestals of greatness, as shining role models, have been dismissed as being insensitive and out-of-touch. This is in response to celebrities posting quarantine videos from the comforts of their palatial properties. The New York Times has suggested that Celebrity Culture itself is quite possibly burning.
COVID-19 has occupied most of 2020 and continues to transform the world that we hold dear. Even if experts find a cure for the virus, there will be residual effects that linger in various aspects of life. However, this might not always be a terrible thing. Families are spending more time together and employees are enjoying newfound flexibility in their remotely managed careers.
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