” COVID-19 – Embracing Country’s Eager Core Value System ” – May 15, 2020.
Health crisis of an enormous scale, and grave economic consequences and concern individually, locally, nationally, regionally, and globally mark COVID-19 at its worst point now. Structural/behavioral adaptation, courage, dogged determination, desire, and resilience mark the responses to fight the tragedy.
Subsequent to the months long lockdown declared and implemented by most nations, removal of restrictions and opening of businesses are now happening slowly. Government’s proclivity for spending money to ease the financial stress faced by citizens and businesses – improved access to food, health, shelter, safety, working capital, and recurrent expenses – underlined the essential remedial responses. Concomitant with these are the changes noticed in consumer expectations, needs, preferences, sentiments, beliefs, choices and behaviors.
COVID-19 effects and responses seem on course to bring about a dramatic change in the attitude of people in most sectors of Economy ( Education, health, safety, personal finance, work, leisure, sports, entertainment, and life itself ) like the wave of a magic wand changing everything. As easily as the wind changing directions, as easily as the traffic lights changing from red to green, as easily as the leaves changing colours in autumn. In modern times it has never been known even.
If the predictions are anything to go by, we will be in this situation of uncertainty – unbridled, unbounded, and unbridgeable – for at least 2 to 3 years. It is like the babies born during this period taking uncertain steps. Really uncanny !
” Coronavirus Will never go away” – says WHO Executive Director, Health Program, Dr Mike Ryan. WHO Infectious Disease Epidemiologist, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, however, sounds very optimistic on the contrary. “We have seen countries bring this virus under control. We have seen governments using public health measures effectively. Coronavirus will be controlled.” – says Dr Maria Van Kerkhove. U.S. President, Donald Trump, is also optimistic that a vaccine with a few hundred millions of doses will be ready by the end of this year. Significant to note is also the fact that Vietnam recorded zero deaths due to decisive handling of the pandemic. Life is almost normal there. Discipline and swift action are the key to their success. It speaks high of the Country’s core value system. It can be replicated in other places too.
So, what after COVID-19 ? Will the human population remain the same ? Will the human population fall from a high ? or Will the human population emerge stronger than ever before are the ideas that will be debated for weeks/months or even years.
Let me now record a few reported changes that are likely :
1. Youth, specially those constituting Gen Z and Millennials are accustomed to a luxurious, extravagant lifestyle spending large amounts of money generously. COVID-19 situation forces significant reduction in discretionary spending. Digital activity and on line spending are expected to compensate for the reduction, but the reality is far from encouraging on this count because the increase is actually quite small in degree as at present.
2. If we managed to overcome our difficulties during demanding/challenging situations as floods, droughts, fires and other natural calamities earlier by bringing people to pull themselves together and taking control of the situation in the moment of survival, with COVID-19 now this culture of doing things together and taking care of people feature more prominently than ever before in practice.
3. When I was young, I used to share information and thoughts from news magazines, peer discussions, scientific papers, photos, views, opinions, and personal interviews ; with COVID-19 and the accompanying isolation, technology has become the ‘vital pivot’ in sharing information while staying under one roof. No movement demanded. This places youth at a tremendous advantage. COVID-19 at the same time creates three different classes of individuals : One, those in murky, stormy, uncharted waters ; Two, those with the feeling of ennui ; and Three, those with a mix of traditional and modern work pattern. This separation which is expected to widen with time needs to be viewed critically.
4. COVID-19 has accelerated compliance with norms, rules and regulations, and discipline and order at all levels. Acceleration in support for local communities, local businesses, and products is visible more than ever before. People do not hesitate to spend more to help local businesses, sellers and producers due chiefly to ‘imposed movement restrictions’.
5. COVID-19 has brought parenting, teaching, coaching, training, official tasking , entertaining, cooking … … under one roof out of sheer necessity. Home is now office ; home is now the school ; home is now the exercise lab ; home is now the training ground ; home is everything in one place. Personal, professional, social, and familial chores are organised and guided in one place. Home is the centre of all. There are no boundaries and even if there is any, it is difficult to recognise clearly.
6. With COVID-19 people start taking health seriously more than ever before. Self healthcare is a priority and highly prevalent now. Taking physical exercises, consuming vitamin tablets and health tonics, disinfecting rooms, maintaining clean areas, and avoiding sharing of chairs, beds, baskets are all common. Physical and mental welfare is the priority now. Desire for human contact is still prevalent, but ‘fear’ drives people more towards social and digital platforms.
7. COVID-19 challenges our social and personal habits too. As consumers we think and make our choices of spending time and money with care. Meetings and social events are replaced by home entertainment and improvements in recreational habits saving costs. From off line to on line is the primary shift in our choice as consumer. Oft heard out of stock messages, slow or inaccurate delivery, reduced quality of customer service, and poor buying experience are now beyond excuse and considered serious failures. Faith in retailers’ ability to serve is key to trust and reputation more than earlier. On line shopping is, nevertheless, becoming an important part in the lives of people.
Conclusion : With the above reported changes come changes in beliefs and value systems. What one consumes ; how one uses time ; how one engages in work and leisure ; how one views support,demand,reward, or punishment ; and how one interprets normal life – will also change. Will these changes get accepted after the lockdown is lifted completely ? Will they become permanent ? What will be the future ? These will finally shape the next “normal”.
” Dieu avec nous “
Friday, May 15, 2020 – 10.09 a.m. (IST).
Tidbit : ” Arbidol, Flavipiravir, Remdesivir, Kaletra – anti virals that are likely to be approved for COVID-19 treatment.”