Coronavirus Pandemic Should Change the World: A View of the COVID-19 Crisis From a Possibilist by Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani
Right now, we have some optimistic views causing carelessness and pessimistic views causing unwarranted anxieties on the coronavirus pandemic. Even in the long run, these two approaches won’t yield much good for our societies. I hold a possibilistic view of what is ahead of us (i.e. interested in the possibility or impossibility of certain situations in the future). And what we can achieve or continue to lose truly depends on us. Here are some things for us and our leaders to consider:
- In general, we are physically close to others, but often, emotionally and socially distanced. Given the challenge that we have today, many communities have shown magnanimous examples of high social capital, connectedness and resourcefulness. If communities continue on this path, our duration of recovery from the blows of this pandemic and any future disasters will be shorter. Can we sustain the momentum of cohesion and resilience?
- To date, we understood disaster and pandemic preparedness as a static concept (prepared or unprepared). I believe, we are never prepared enough and we are never totally unprepared – we are mostly underprepared. We need a dynamic view of preparedness where professionals, systems and policies are proactive and not reactive. From real-time lenses to futuristic lenses, the foresight will ensure that we minimize our losses. Can we prevent the next disaster? Or foresee the next pandemic and start preparing?
- A significant population in the world is young with school and college-aged youth. Parents, students and educators have been asked to teach and learn online overnight. Sulk or learn, but that is the future of education. We need educators to be more tech savvy and teach tangible skills. If technology is such an integral part of our life today, why not make learning a lifestyle? Edutainment – anytime, anywhere!
- Our biggest concern in relation to the current pandemic is health care. And, it should be. Not only during pandemics, but every day. Two major issues here: First, we often look at health care from the lens of access, cost and quality, with little resources and emphasis on prevention. Second, we confuse health care with health. The countries that spend the most on health care are not the healthiest and happiest. Why? We need to create a culture of prevention, health and wellness in the society – and it can be done. Hand washing saved us from pandemics in the past, and that still holds true!
- While discussing health care, this pandemic should spur a variety of innovations and interventions on how to make people healthier and provide health-care services far and wide. How about a pocket device to diagnose infectious diseases of many different types? Apps for better screening and testing?
- Economic recovery from the current pandemic can be painful. However, across various fields and occupations, we have the chance to nurture more innovators and entrepreneurs, wealth and job creators, workspaces and occupations, entertainment modes and technological advancements, disruptive innovations and public-private partnerships. How about new jobs in risk assessment and disaster preparedness?
- There is an opportunity for bold reforms now. Specifically, reforms with legislation, regulations and judiciary as it relates to the food and beverage industry, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, law and order, sustainable communities and responsible consumption, agriculture and livestock, infrastructure and transportation, media and net neutrality, education, economy and health care.
In addition to these individual and community level opportunities – and given that coronavirus pandemic left no country and continent unaffected – global leaders have an opportunity to strengthen partnerships to create a better world. All country heads should now try and accelerate the processes for meeting the collective goals that we agreed upon in 2015, and achieve them before time (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals).
The human race has enormous resilience, but as I took a possibilistic view, time will tell if we capitalized on our opportunities or squandered them again.
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