Life, after we get through these tough times will never be the same. The normalcy that we are familiar with will become archaic. It is an acknowledged fact that every crisis brings an opportunity to rethink, re-analyze, and scrutinize ourselves both individually and collectively. This pandemic will bring changes at every level be it our personal lives or the business world. So let’s brace ourselves to adapt to the post-corona world.
Here I have tried to highlight the few terrains of our lives that will change after the pandemic is lifted. Tag along!
Mental Health Pandemic after COVID-19 Pandemic
In times like these, when we wake up to the news of a plummeting number of infected cases and the rising death toll, it’s hard for even the most resilient ones to protect their optimism let alone the ones with pre-existing mental health issues. It has been reported in a study that MERS and SARS negatively impacted the mental health of both infected and non-infected individuals. The current pandemic will exacerbate mental health issues like anxiety, stress, depression, and especially PTSD. On the brighter side, some people will use this time to create and to innovate. Remember the time when we used to wait for Sundays to write that story we always wanted to write, to take that guitar lesson, to try that new recipe, to learn that new skill we were always passionate about, and everything that we loved? Remember when we used to crave to sit with our families a little longer but oh that client couldn’t wait? Remember we always wanted to cherish the dusk and the dawn but who will go to the office then? Well, now feels like a good time to do all of that.
“In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.”Albert Einstein
It is a good time to find out your hidden talents and to sharpen your skills. When back in the 14th century, Asia and Europe were hit by the Black Death, people used this opportunity to polish their skills behind the shut doors. When theaters were closed during the 1590s, Shakespeare turned to poetry. In 1665, during The Great Plague of London, Cambridge students were sent back to their homes for social distancing and one of them was Isaac Newton, not ‘Sir’ Isaac Newton at that time. He grabbed this opportunity and used this time so wisely that it was later referred to as “year of wonders”. It was during this time when he sat under an apple tree. Yes. That Apple tree!
Will we Become Better Muslims?
People usually find refuge in religion in tough times like these. Being a Muslim majority nation, many of us were so engrossed in our daily routines that we were losing the true essence of our religion. This is the time to rejuvenate that connection with God. We, as Muslims have faith that if a crisis brings us closer to our religion, it’s indeed a blessing in disguise. I hope when after the pandemic is lifted, the congregational prayers in the mosques will not be as dull and drab as they were before. I hope that we will learn that marriages can be arranged with simplicity and Ramadan can be cherished at home with a small gathering and big charities. I hope that we will be more empathetic and compassionate towards each other.
New Travel Habits
One prominent change will result in our travelling habits. A survey in April 2020 asked the Italian population about their travel habits after the pandemic is over. 34% of them were interested in taking more domestic trips. 24% believed they would explore nearby places and 16% of them thought of taking lesser trips after the emergency is lifted. The blind trust that we had in the globalized world will be shaken and we might not be able to enjoy sustainability and solidarity the way we did before. Travel routines will change on an individual level. The hashtag #TravelTomorrow by UNWTO calls for a responsibility among the travellers and tourists to ensure safety in the times of the pandemic. It might take a year or two for people to regain their trust in the globalized world.
The tourism business will be affected gravely by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been estimated that due to the current pandemic, the global revenue for travel and tourism will be 447.4 billion U.S dollars in 2020 which is far less than originally forecasted for the year 2020. It is very likely that even after things get back to normal, international travel restrictions will linger on to avoid the second wave of COVID-19. Immunity passports may become a requirement for travelling and the UK is already considering to issue them. It will put a lot of restrictions on who can and cannot take part in socio-economic activities. Dubai based airlines have also begun COVID-19 testing before travel. Good-quality travel will become expensive and complicated.
Can we be Optimistic about Healthcare after the Pandemic?
In the SARS epidemic back in 2003, the prevalence of psychiatric morbidity especially PTSD in healthcare professionals, nurses, and the supportive staff was found to be 75% even after the control. A recent study in a tertiary hospital in China has also reported increased anxiety and depression in healthcare professionals associated with COVID-19. COVID-19 has highlighted the frailty of our healthcare system. It has brought to light how ill-equipped we are when it comes to our healthcare. Healthcare desperately needs improvement in its infrastructure, processes, and technologies. Finally, we can hope that this issue will come into focus in the post-COVID world.
The Permanent Niche of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Healthcare
The role of A.I in healthcare is not hidden now. According to an estimate, e-health is expected to rise more than six times by the year 2025. Healthcare systems all over the world were in a dire need of AI systems and this pandemic has highlighted this fact. Following are some good snapshots of how AI has supported the healthcare in this time of crisis:
- It was Bluedot, an AI system that predicted a Wuhan based outbreak 9 days before the first report was presented.
- In South Korea, people receive emergency texts when they are near a patient of COVID-19.
- An AI-based diagnostic tool by Alibaba claims to detect new COVID-19 cases with an accuracy of about 96% via the CT scans.
- As a protective measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Meituan, an online buying website in China, deployed autonomous delivery vehicles on roads to provide people with goods and medicines.
- Presently, some apps are working to track and predict the disease. Recently, google and apple have launched one such tracking app.
- The telemedicine department all over the world has changed the future doctor-patient relationship making the patient visit happen only when it is unavoidable.
We have been dealing with this pandemic in essentially the same way we dealt with the previous ones, following the same protective measures, the quarantine and the lockdowns, the only thing we lacked was the rapid and robust system of screening, diagnosing and testing. This efficiency will increase by thousand-folds if we let A.I system play its role.
Work from Home, a New Normal?
Isolation and lockdowns in Pakistan have already changed our approach to work. People who were not working from home are now working from home. This impact might be long-lasting owing to the convenience because hey! Who will want to wake up at 6 in the morning and put that suit on just for a meeting that could be an email? And why would a business owner pay the rent for his office space when all of his employees can work from home? Business meetings are being done by video conferencing, entire schools are online and the business of online freelancing has also flourished.
However, zoom and other video conferencing apps might work in times like these but they are not that beneficial for they lack social interactions which are, at times, important. For instance, CEO and managing director of Jubilee Insurance Company, Javed Ahmed said that direct engagement and dealing with the public have been influenced by social distancing and lockdown. Also online classes are not that fruitful especially for the high school kids because interactions are a vital part of their development in general. Home deliveries and online buying are also going to stay us even after this pandemic ends.
The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic will be disastrous. It has been estimated that major economies will lose 2.4 percent of their GDP. Industries like airlines, import-export companies, tourism, retailers, restaurants, and many others have been severely victimized by the pandemic and it will take a lot longer for countries like Pakistan to repair the damage.
What Should We Do?
Dave Pelzer, an American writer says that something good comes out of every crisis. Every hardship has a silver lining. The world will change. We all want things to get back to normal but the fact is, there will be ‘new normal’. What we should do know is to look for our shortcomings both as an individual and a community and make the most out of this situation in which we are all together.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Post by: Khadeja FarrukhKhadeja is currently an MBBS student at FJMU. She has interests in Medical Research and is also a student peer reviewer at Pak J Surg Med.