COVID-19 or Coronavirus can be equated as a pandemic that already had far-reaching effects and would be remembered at least for this millennial. This pandemic is directly responsible for throwing life out of gear of more than 200+ countries worldwide, ranging from population depletion to throwing economies out of gear of many.
COVID-19 currently has no cure, nor do researchers are able to invent any vaccine for the same, which makes COVID-19 as one of the most dreaded diseases worldwide now. Therefore, we can say that with outbreak of COVID-19, many of our priorities have changed.
Life before COVID-19
Before the outbreak of COVID-19 as the pandemic world seemed to normal to general people, but it was not over various chronic issues, and environmentalists, along with multiple governments, were engaged in fighting with numerous problems. So, let’s have a look over them.
Human overpopulation is a global problem, and it started taking the face of a worldwide issue since the 19th century. It takes a toll over various things such as putting much strain over available resources and per person availability of resources too gets reduced, impacting the quality of life and puts risk over starvation. Numerous famines which occurred over the 19th-century bear witness to it, that what may happen if human greed continuously unbridled and its consequences are well before our eyes. Still, as human nature, we tend to forget the past
Degradation of environment
The exploitation of the environment had been going on for ages. This exploitation now has reached its extreme levels with rampant deforestation, which is not only leading to loss of valuable forest cover, along with some species of animals going extinct. Likewise, take, for instance, of Asiatic Cheetahs or better known as Indian spotted cheetahs, which were once found in abundance, but sadly they are now just part of history and are now critically endangered species found only in protected areas of Iran. Asiatic elephants, Tigers, too, were following suit, but thanks to some initiative of government that ran ‘Save The Tigers’ for the conservation of Royal Bengal Tigers.
Even our oceans and seas weren’t spared, for instance, take overfishing. Indiscriminate fishing activities conducted in seas had already stripped many fisheries around the world of its fishing stocks, which would generally replenish in time. Rampant fishing of Sharks for their fins and Cod for their oil has put these species in danger, whereas sustained fishing seems to be a viable option. Plastic pollution too has its significant share in the degradation of the environment which one can’t deny. Excessive usage and careless dumping of plastic products over mass scale rather than putting it for recycle is the main culprit here to blame. For example, if we take FMCG industries into consideration, who do packaging of their products in plastics. Such as packaged drinking water, which are sold as small as 500ml plastic bottles, which can easily be changed into eco-friendly glass material, but who cares, if lobbying at the governmental level does the job! It is estimated that by the year 2050, our seas will be having more plastic than fishes, and by that time no matter how frequently we clean our beaches, it will be filled with plastic waste.
We all are familiar with the concept of how Global warming is causing changes in climate patterns in India. Like unseasonal rains, which lead to the destruction of standing crops, which further lead to skyrocketing prices of them in the market, thereby causing strain over our household budget. Global warming is caused due to pollution, which traps heat around the earth, which is caused by various pollutants and greenhouse gases which come from by burning of fossil fuels, emission from factories, homes, cars and other heavy industries such as thermal power plants. Rapid state melting of glaciers too, contributes in its form during summers by bringing flood in various perennial rivers, which displaces innumerable people, which used to be a yearly affair. Melting of ice caps over Arctic and Antarctic regions, leading to a rise in global sea levels, which ultimately will lead to submerging of low-lying coastal areas, which includes many populous cities too.
Overconsumption is such a situation when resource use has outpaced the sustainable capacity of the eco-system. This overconsumption can be of energy, water, and raw materials that worsen climate change and increases air pollution. To continue to thrive on this planet, our lifestyles will need to become more sustainable so that we can protect our natural resources from being overexploited.
Overconsumption of fossil fuels is one of the significant concerns in current times. As of today, fossil fuels are the primary source of energy that are being used. Those fossil fuels which we are using today had taken almost 500 million years to produce it to its current form by the earth. Indiscriminate usage of fossils fuels had taken a toll over the environment. We often see our city skyline covered in heavy smog during winter when these pollutants come to a lower altitude to create smog. Smog can cause or aggravate health problems such as asthma and other respiratory problems as well as irritation of eyes. Heavy smog can even throw public transport out of gear or even lead to cancellation of rail services and suspension of flights.
COVID-19 – How it intruded into our lives and affected us.
These are some problems, which till now we had been experiencing till outbreak of deadly virus named as COVID-19 or Coronavirus. As COVID-19 has affected our lives in a deeper and quicker way than those above-mentioned issues which had been plaguing since a century, and we had been avoiding them, but this pandemic didn’t give us an opportunity to avoid it.
Changes which COVID-19 brought
COVID-19 brought wide-reaching changes in the lives of all, be it a person engaged in laborious works or persons involved in the medical fraternity, which is the forefront in combating this pandemic. Providing their much-needed valuable services to save humankind from this onslaught.
First and foremost, the change which we had experienced is the psychological fear regarding how fast this pandemic is spreading. Countries like Italy who have one of the best medical facilities too, are worst affected, so what about the developing countries? Well, these are some of those fears and phobias which had been haunting many people out, but there is always hope. India, as one of the most populous and developing countries, rightfully took the decision at the correct time to go for ‘countrywide lockdown.’ As this lockdown announced had been quite instrumental in containing many possible COVID-19 cases from spreading further. Those people who were used to daily immersed in their routine work are now being made to self-quarantine themselves and practice social distancing which, takes a toll over human psychology in the longer run.
As a country like India, which is very much densely populated and the culture of our very country, many times promotes social get together functions during various festivals promotes community gathering. With restrictions over close social interactions or even trivial things like children’s playing together too are currently discouraged and being mostly confined to indoors. All these surely can bring about some psychological change in some when practiced in the longer run.
Shrinking Job opportunities
World economies being in bad shape, one can figure out what would be the first outcome of it. Many global MNCs had been laying off their employees to bare necessities requirement, and the reason is that not every job profile can fit for ‘work from home’ system, as various governments had advised corporates too. Worst affected can be industries such as hospitality, tourism, and different recreational based arenas, where there can be mass layoffs, which would lead to unemployment on a large scale. Semi-skilled and Un-skilled workers are most vulnerable when it comes to it.
There had been numerous instances of migrant workers in India been heading towards their home states in large numbers, as most of them had been left to fend for themselves after they lost their jobs with the call for lockdown by government. Most of them being working as day to day labor in small establishments, which were forced to close due to precautionary step in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak in India.
Life after survival from COVID-19
In this age of information, these latest technologies aided with medical science can only make us victorious against this demon of COVID-19. But what might be its possible outcomes?
Just like everything has positive as well as negative outcomes, so let’s have a look over some of the scenarios where such effects can experience
Nobody can deny what harm did this pandemic COVID-19 did to global world markets, be it SENSEX or others. Worldwide investors were already skeptical about prevailing market trends before the slowdown, but with early indications of COVID-19 over China, which is a global manufacturing hub for various products, led to the lockdown of them. Later trade and commerce too suffered hugely followed by its spread to worldwide other places also followed suit. Following other countries too been in lockdown where it spreads and challenging their economies too, and we can surely say that recession had already been set in with outbreak of COVID-19 as various organizations had previously predicted in a drop of global GDP outcome.
People being more health conscious
People who are already having some past medical history or are going through prolonged illnesses are much more suspectable to be infected with COVID-19 much faster and are at risk. Also, people with diabetics or heart disease are more likely to face it more compared to any healthy person; therefore, people are putting their much more effort into being healthy. Many are even adapting to healthy habits, like giving up unhealthy junk foods or getting themselves routinely checked for health and wellbeing.
With the outbreak of COVID-19 as a pandemic around the globe, the affected countries being enforcing lockdown as a preventive measure, which ultimately is leading to the closure of numerous factories, which further led to less demand for energy. Also, this less demand for power led to the functioning of fewer numbers of power plants, which primarily operate upon coal, which is again a polluting fossil fuel. Apart from power plants, various manufacturing plants such as cement too are being closed due to the halting of multiple infra works or the real estate industry. These all ultimately led to much cleaner air along with lower SPM (Suspended Particulate Matter) in the air, which is highly hazardous for us. Remember every year NCR area of Delhi chokes in such a blanket of pollution? But this year, COVID-19 brought this change in almost every city.
More reliance over technology
After the outbreak of COVID-19, one thing had been observed that various firms and even government agencies, too, had been shifting their payment systems over the digital interface. Although paying through digital options was always present, but this much of push was only observed during the ‘demonetization’ of 2016 when there was cash crush in the market.
Now the situation is different where people are venturing outside only during bare necessities such as buying groceries, but again reliance over the digital mode of payment comes. As going to banks or ATMs to dole out cash is a lengthy process, so people simply prefer the convenient method.
More emphasise over Make in India
China is a major manufacturing hub in worldwide. It was hit by COVID-19 last year, and as a result, went for the complete lockdown to contain the pandemic; therefore, the manufacturing was badly hit, thereby bringing down their industrial output heavily.
Well, this can be a good opportunity for Indian industries to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
- Companies can start exploring creative ways to restart global supply chains.
- Indigenous industries can capture the trade market shares, which Chinese products used to gobble up.
COVID-19 – A lesson for us
Well, the present situation might seem to be tense, but let’s not forget that every cloud has a silver lining! Had we been better prepared, we could easily contain this outbreak of COVID-19, and recuperations too would have been much less.
- Blockchain based supply chain could had played pivotal role is supplies of many essential commodities like face mask or sanitizers which went off the shelves in many places.
- Price monitoring of essential commodities could have been made possible, too, thereby curbing black marketing at the very source.
- Blockchain-based payment system for a donation could have been game-changer in curbing any attempts which were on the prowl to con gullible people or other such scamsters.
- Medical care could have been given to suspected infected patients through blockchain-based secured and fast system, which would lessen the harassment of people to seek medical advice promptly.
Alas! COVID-19 has undoubtedly brought many worries with it, but let’s not forget that it also gave us a much cleaner environment, which was the result of lockdown enforced by our respective governments. Also, it gave much-needed opportunities to entrepreneurs to look for broader reach for their products, but only if they are ready to explore!
Let time decide if our entrepreneurs are able to grab this as an opportunity or not?