The lessons we must learn from coronavirus pandemic

Written By: Shriyans Bhandari
Delhi Published: Apr 06, 2020, 01:47 PM(IST)

Coronavirus in India Photograph:( IANS )

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Things may get worse before they get better, however, we must not forget the lessons learned from the pandemic.

Quarantine, social distancing, self-isolation. While these words have always existed, it’s the first time we have understood their meaning. 

The same actually holds true for all other words: hard work, compassion, family time, love, you only understand their meaning once you experience them. 

The year 2020 is going down in history books and we are a part of it. Till now we must have only lightly imagined what the wars and other crisis would have been like, but only when it has come upon us, do we really understand its gravity. We have been discussing World War III happening in outer space but here it is, in a mode we least expected and probably creating more damage overall.  

COVID-19 has become a crisis as it had all the elements from the spread, lethality, unpreparedness, no availability of vaccine and likewise, new things would always catch us unprepared, unless we identify early signs of disbalance in the environment, from increasing forest fires to natural calamities. 

There is also an urgent need for an active risk management department in all governments which sparks an alarm as soon as they see any potential development which could potentially derail the society. We have also been investing in defence, missiles and bombs. All destructive, rather than constructively building up other areas of our systems.  

It is also true that the time of crisis brings about the true self, thus this is a test. Did we think only about ourself or remembered the daily wage workers? Did we truly donate or just did it because we didn't want to be left out? did we actually feel bad for the ones who got infected or died? did we only think about our self or a bit about others as well? only we can judge what has been our intrinsic motives. 

On the other side, I see that a lot of youth have been wasting their time instead of building themselves up by engaging in constructive activities, apart from spending time with family and catching up with friends, which is also important. One cannot wait for the storm to pass to restart, to really grow both bad and good times need to be used to equal advantage. It is surprising to see that most successful startups that we see today started just after the financial crisis of 2008 from WhatsApp, Uber, Pinterest to Airbnb. This is a good time to spend on planning on your current startup, writing the book which you have been putting off, taking online classes, ideation and many more things.  

It also brings about the human potential and the fact that no matter how tough the day, it eventually gets better. After all, we have 4.5 billion years of survival planning in our genes, this may seem new to us but our genes have been programmed for this, time and again. If only we can identify what kept us going in this time we can find that as motivation later in such situations. 

History informs us that every 100 years we have had such a crisis from Plague to Spanish Flu and the World has rebuilt itself, all anew. It does make us think if there could be a larger reason behind this, to motivate us to change our lifestyle, reduce climate change, self introspect to understand what matters.

We should prepare ourself for more such crises in the 21st century with the disaster taking different forms. Business must build themselves like Lego blocks which can easily dismantle and restart and have low debt and a diverse market, governments must more holistically employ their budget for different measures, individuals can know the difference between necessity and want and spend accordingly. But moreover, there is a need to understand the response time to a crisis and how we rise after it.  

We may be in the middle of this crisis and things may get worse before they get better, however, we must not forget the lessons learned and bring about the necessary changes. 

We have been using historic figures from 1919 to 2008 to measure the impact, however, our focus must be to work together and not allow this pandemic to create a new benchmark as a mother of all crises. 

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)


Shriyans Bhandari

Shriyans Bhandari, is a social entrepreneur who founded Greensole, a company that refurbishes old shoes to create new footwear. He is also the Director of Heritage Girls School Udaipur

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