The global pandemic, COVID-19, is increasing in many populations around the globe. According to statistics from the Worldometer, the global total confirmed cases as at 28th March, 2020 was 614,404 with 28,242 deaths and 137,329 recoveries. Many have been rick with fear and panic. The initiation of lockdown protocols has affected some businesses that demand physical presence. Also, nations and states are worried that the world is entering into an unprecedented economic recession.
Thus, the stories told of the COVID-19 is one that is dire and dreadful - full of fear, panic and pandemonium. Is that all there is to the story? A story of no hope at the end of the tunnel? Well, I think there is more to this story. The COVID-19 pandemic is not only a story of fear and panic; it goes beyond that. This is what I seek to expound in the subsequent paragraphs.
The COVID-19 has affected 199 countries and territories (Worldometer, 2020). In almost all of these areas, some sort of restrictions has been placed on the movement of persons. These may be a total lockdown as in the case of China and Italy or a partial lockdown as in the case of Ghana. Irrespective of the situation, the is presented with chance to be innovative and adaptable.
One untold story of the COVID-19 is that it creates the enabling environment for online businesses and commerce to thrive. Given the imposition of lockdowns in many countries, this is the right time for businesses to exploit the power of social media and e-commerce. Online tutorials, e-banking, among others can now take control of the economies of countries. Engaging in bit coin and other electronic currencies have the platform now to assert their supremacy in the world's economy.
In the told stories of the COVID-19 pandemic, we see how porous health systems are across the globe. As such, this situation presents an opportunity for the world to explore better and improved ways for handling outbreaks and containing health problems. The COVID-19 situation makes us come to understand the need for serious health care systems research to be conducted to develop rapid testing kits and protective kits that will facilitate health care delivery. In the same vein, the current situation of the COVID-19 will push virologists, microbiologists and other scientists to work assiduously to develop a vaccine for the tackling the virus.
Besides all of these untold stories of COVID-19, it presents us with the opportunity to try new things; which is the essence of being human - the ability to be dynamic and try new things. For instance, a number of people have begun to learn ways of working remotely. Yes, working remotely can be boring yet it has many benefits including improvement mental wellbeing, reduced stress, low or no cost of transportation to work, etc. Hence, we are gifted as a generation to enjoy this moment of stress free working environment that is only limited by your strength and creativity.
Additionally, the untold story of COVID-19 transcends into the need for collaborative efforts and information sharing between key players in the health industry. This period of a global pandemic has revealed how quintessential information disclosure is paramount to health interventions. The timely and accurate divulgence of information and data is critical to the fight against the novel corona virus and other future pandemics and epidemics.
Lastly, the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the inability of the world to cope with our current use of the earth and the destructions we expend on climate. This may seem a bit of the Malthusian view but we are once again reminded by nature that if we don't take action against population increase and climate change, then nature will check us through such pestilences. The intergovernmental panel on climate change posit that 99% of climate change is anthropogenic, that is, it is caused by the activities of man. Hence, this point in the world's history teaches us to be conspicuous and meticulous about our interaction with the environment in order to experience a sustainable life on earth.
In summary, the stories told of the novel corona virus has rather been scary and full of half-truths. There is an untold aspect of the COVID-19 story. This is what this article sought to achieve. This "season" of the COVID-19 presents so many opportunities to us at the individual level, national level and international level including the opportunity to create the environment for e-commerce to thrive; to explore better and improved ways for containing epidemics and pandemics; to try new ways of doing things; to strengthen collaborative efforts and information sharing between key players in the health industry; and the opportunity to rejuvenate the earth to promote sustainability.
Author: Mr. Joshua Okyere (University of Cape Coast)