COVID-19, also known as coronavirus disease 2019, is a new illness caused by a previously unknown virus called SARS-Cov-2, discovered first in December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei, China and has resulted in an ongoing pandemic.
As of 6 August 2020, more than 18.7 million cases have been reported across 188 countries and territories, resulting in more than 706,000 deaths. More than 11.3 million people have recovered also.Billions of people are in lockdown, unable to visit one another, unable go to work, unable to attend school, unable to meet one another in public places. People around the world are in desperate straights, struggling at home, in care homes and intensive care units, dying of the same cause, separated from their loved ones in their hours of need. At times of existential danger, we instinctively desire to be close to our family and friends, hold their hands and embrace them, but now we are forbidden to do so, for every act of physical contact every expression of physical loving-kindness and compassion could bring illness and death.
We are confronted with the true uncertainty of human existence and the true vulnerability of human life. How often have so many of us believed that we are supreme masters of the world around us.
We are brought face to face with the most basic questions of life. What are we here for? What have we done with our lives? What do we yet wish to do if given the opportunity? Who is truly important on our lives? Why we want to participate in relatives’ happiness events only? Why we don’t want to share their problems without calling? The pandemic leads us to some painful insights: If we know who is truly important to us then why have we spent so little of our lives pursuing these things?The Coronavirus shows us how terrible it really is to waste our lives, embroiled in endless battles for wealth and status and power. Why we create problems to others for fulfilling own demands and powers in society or workplaces? How terrible it really is not to recognize the value in the people around us not just our family and friends, not just colleagues and fellow citizens, but also complete strangers. How terrible it is not to give our lives meaning every hour of every day by honoring the sacredness of life and according all living things the respect, sensitivity and care that they deserve. It shows us the importance of recognizing the true purpose of all our businesses and economies, our political parties and governments, our local civic associations and our international organizations, our conventions and ideologies, and all our other systems: namely, to serve human needs and purposes.The needs and purposes not just of individuals, but of societies and of the natural world, in pursuit of not just our individual, self-interested payoffs, but in pursuit of all our overarching communitarian goals that are articulated in our religious and cultural aspirations.
In most of our endeavors, we are interdependent. One individual cannot succeed without the cooperation of others. We cooperate at many different scales local, regional and national. The Covid-19 pandemic highlights the danger of ignoring our interdependence and the importance of global cooperation. It shows us with crystal clarity that all of humanity is in the same boat. Since the virus can be defeated somewhere only when it is defeated everywhere, it shows us the terrible folly of pretending that we can achieve security in isolation, within the borders of our nation, culture, class or religion.Covid-19 forces to confront the most brutally honest and vitally important questions: If we know what must be done to overcome this pandemic – along with other challenges that lie ahead, such as climate change, cyberwar, financial crises and more then why do we spend so little time and effort pursuing these things? Why, at this time of global threat, do so many countries retreat into populist nationalism? Why is the pandemic described as a “Chinese virus” (promoting nationalistic conflict) or “the plague of the snobs” (promoting class war) or the “urban virus” (promoting conflict between town and country) or “neighboring virus” (promoting conflict among India, China and Nepal)?These are the burning questions that the Coronavirus sears into our conscience. Once this threat has been overcome and we awaken in the post-Covid-19 world, these are the questions that the next generation will level at us.
The Covid-19 pandemic lays our lives bare and forces us to appreciate our most essential needs and our highest values. It forces us to appreciate the true value of many people whose roles in society tend to be undervalued: the doctors,the nurses, the hospital orderlies, the people sitting at the checkout counters in supermarkets, the delivery personnel, the many nameless strangers who suddenly offer help to the old and vulnerable.This is the lesson that we must take into the post-Covid-19 world: The time has come to mobilize this goodness in our midst, rather than drive it to the sidelines through institutions and incentive systems that reward selfishness and predatory competitiveness. The time has come to re-evaluate the appropriate goal of business; the goal of our economic activities; the goal of our ideologies and social conventions; and the goal of our local, national and international governance structures. The pandemic shows us that the goals of all these domains must always the same: contributing to the fulfillment of human needs and purposes. This requires us to cooperate locally when we face local challenges, nationally when we face national challenges, and globally when we face global challenges.
When news of the novel coronavirus first came from Wuhan, the world got busy talking about how China’s political system had allowed a virus to hit its economy and how its political system is not suited for the 21st century. In New York and Boston, We heard of it being a China problem. Of course, the commentators pointed out that a few other underdeveloped countries like Nepal also needed to be wary of it. From what has come out of traditional and social Chinese media outlets, it seems that China has been able to do something that other countries would not have been able to do easily control the spread. More than a month later, today, the virus has spread to different countries from Iran to Italy as well as Korea, Japan, Australia, the US, thenIndia fast increased and now showing in Nepal rapidly increasing.
In Nepal, we forget things quickly. Just five years ago, the country was hit by a massive earthquake, but we have started building structures in the same old haphazard fashion. We have allowed the encroachment of open spaces areas that would have been perfect for people to gather in during times of emergency. On social media, we put up posts about how scary the world has become due to the virus, but are secretly happy to attend large gatherings at banquet halls and public places where the washrooms, which are not in the best condition, can spread multiple diseases, let alone Covid-19.Every human challenge teaches us lessons; it will be important to be better prepared to take on the next challenge that comes without notice. Disaster preparedness is not just an external, money-making programme it is about building up the credibility of the country and winning the trust of the people. It is also about self-learning and community outreach. We need to change ourselves, and then share our learnings with the rest of the world.Reorient our social life with the help of following phenomena:
I think this is an essential life lesson to take away. The people closest to us deserve our time and attention, and vice versa. Use this time to reforge these relationships so that we can carry them with us for the rest of ever. No more excuses for not having enough time to do so; we have enough technology at our fingertips to stay connected no matter what.For those who feel they can’t reach out to family, remember that not every family is made of blood. So find our people, our loved ones, and use this time to strengthen the bonds we do have.
(Asst.Director, IDML, email:- [email protected])