As we move forward through this global crisis, there comes a time when we need to raise our eyes to the horizon. Tomorrow will be here before we realise and it is essential that we are prepared for it as best we can be.
What is frighteningly real at this precise moment in time is that what I saw referred to as the 'Great Pandemic of 2020' is going to be with us for a while, at least another year. Until we have a vaccine and that has been created, tested, manufactured, distributed and administered then we will not be able to say we are beyond this.
So, I guess, the first assertion I want to table is 'Learn from history, teach the future'.
Simple fact is that we will never be totally beyond this, recent events have changed the world as we knew it in ways that we don't yet fully understand. And at a practical, pragmatic level that includes a realisation that this isn't the first virus the human race has ever encountered and it is likely that it won't be the last. Our global preparedness and response has been patchy to say the least.
Let's give the experts their place. We need to be honest, 250,000 people dead, no-one got this one right but we weren't great at listening to what was being said and proven for us.
Going forward, however, it is important that we 'Don't play the blame game'. Instances of 'whataboutery', of ' I told you sos' and 'If only' are neither healthy nor helpful. Only the bravest would tie their hand to further prediction-projections, it's all too volatile right now. Sure, some have been complicit, incompetent and even downright criminal but that can all be dealt with going forward. There is no place for triumphalism at this time.
And whilst we are at it, can we dispense with the rampant racism and the nascent nationalism...you can no more blame a race for this than you can condemn a whole country. Now the ruling class or government of a certain country may be but not the vast majority of the general populace whose real concerns are peace, food, accommodation, healthcare, jobs and education.
'Tech has answers, but at what price?'. Vaccines and other medical treatments aside, the role of big data has come to the fore as a result of the 'test, track, treat. approach. Hardly a day goes by without a new app being announced by either a company or a government. All well and good you might think but not when the data being collected is overly intrusive, the protections required brushed aside in the name of medical expediency and no clear indication of when the data collection will be ended (and what happens to the data collected).
It should not be forgotten that despite some grand and seemingly altruistic gestures by a variety of big tech and pharma companies and their major shareholders, they remain as 'for profits' so ultimately nothing comes without a price tag. No vaccine was ever created for SARS in the early 2000s despite much research, the reason why? The disease was largely contained and so the likelihood of turning a profit evaporated. The financial prize for 'cracking the covid code' is phenomenal...here's hoping no-one cuts any corners!
And if we're going to invest more credibility into the work of scientists and believe the evidence, empirical, anecdotal, extrapolative or historical, how about we acknowledge and action the fact that 95% of the scientific community and a significant majority of people believe that climate change is a reality?
Simultaneously, how about we start to question what our governments spend our money on? How do they set priorities? What is the purpose behind the nations of the world spending more on weaponry than in any previous year and yet we can't put gloves on the hands of the medical staff required to fight the 'invisible enemy'? We need to 'Question everything'.
There is plenty to learn and plenty to expose. How does the financial system work, who benefits most, how and why do you 'print' money, are there alternatives, why does the global financial community and governmental apparatus appear to work against cryptocurrencies...the list goes on. We are all entitled to answers, ultimately, it's our money, it should be our choice for our world!
And the misuse of social media to spread conspiracy theories, public misinformation and the like needs to be exploded! (A topic for another time!).
To date, whilst many of us have had wildly different experiences of quarantine, lockdown and its impacts, a few good things have emerged. Many people have had time to think, about any number of things least of which has been the meaning of life amidst all the medical mayhem. It has given many a chance to take on long postponed home projects, self-teach, cook, read, talk, listen, garden, sew, knit, paint, draw, write....a huge creative reawakening...a lot has been facilitated by the internet with searches and knowledge sharing reaching new highs.
Likewise, as the confinement has dragged on people have had the opportunity, taken the opportunity to access the vast archives of music, movies, sports coverage, documentaries, TV series, audio and e-books and catch up with or finally get to watch or listen to all those things you were saving for a rainy day. Beyond that, many have shared titles and the like and allowed a huge journey of cultural discovery to take place with millions delving into genres and works and artistes that they would probably never have been exposed to without this enforced isolation, again with technology to the fore.
Post lockdowm, we need to 'Hang on to the good', retain and hone our new found skills, continue the cultural journey, share and share alike. We need to be more appreciative of everything around us, too much of which we have taken for granted for too long. It's true to observe that you don't know what you've got till it's gone...your freedom of movement, social interaction, travel, shopping, dining out, sports, seeing friends & family.
As a minor aside, maybe the cleaner skies above New Delhi, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and many other urban centres around the world will spur efforts to resolve air pollution before we lose them completely.
It is also true that, in many respects, we've learnt that we can all live with less. I know this isn't the message that all those who want to open up the economies want to hear but being without has shown that we can live without. Conspicuous consumption could finally be exposed as the wasteful extravagance it can be.
And finally on the subject of appreciation, we need to re-evaluate the 'Value of work'. We have heard a lot about the Frontliners. Traditionally, these included the men & women of the Emergency Services but within the context of this crisis and the modern world, we have been forced to openly admit the critical role played by so many others...postal staff, energy workers, cleaning staff, delivery people, transport staff, food production, distribution and retail staff...the list goes on and the one aspect that unites too many of them is that their pay & benefits (if any) fall woefully short of their contribution, effort and sacrifice.
The world is changing as a result of the Covid-19 global pandemic, I believe we have a unique opportunity to redress the order of things, to get back to some basics and to value what matters most. Let's take these things forward with us.