CORONAVIRUS CHRONICLES: SIX RULES FOR THE FUTURE

ZHI JIAO DANIELLE GOH  WRITES — As America enters its worst coronavirus week, it is time to start reflecting on how we ended up on this perilous peak. Herewith, a possible to-do list for the future of the universe:

1.    Stop blaming

The general public seems to have settled on the theory that COVID-19 came out of Wuhan although scientists across international borders can only confirm that it most likely came from bats. The rest is still elusive.

It is vital not to blame each other for the source of the virus. Determining its original source is key in terms of helping us understand the nature of the virus and to prevent another pandemic by developing a vaccine.

2.    Don’t Delay Action

The first known case dates back to Nov 17th, 2019, a month earlier than whistleblower Doctor Li Wenliang had noticed. Similarly, in the West, most countries took a month – from the end of January 2020 to February 2020 – to realize how fatal the virus was.

A chaotic atmosphere resulting from inconsistent information, including a wide range of preventive instructions and rumors of unproven drugs as cures, should now make us understand just how important it is that politicians collaborate with scientists and listen to facts.

3. Raise Public Awareness

The public also played a part in accelerating the crisis. People did not pay enough attention to the news and act accordingly. Instead, they commented online and blasted individual countries for the virus. What they should have done was remind their loved ones and themselves how to practice good, safety-oriented hygiene. In the future, is there some way to better emphasize this point in educating the young and heightening their alertness to health considerations?

4.    Don’t Disrupt the Supply Chain

One of the main reasons for panic buying and hoarding is that people believe the global supply chain has been disrupted and that in a matter of months there will be a lack of necessary goods. Indeed, the damage to global trading is inevitable, but the lesson we should learn from this is not that globalization is bad, but that it is important to diversify economic sectors and supply chains. Exploring feasible multi-platforms for suppliers, distributors, retailers, and consumers can help minimize the impact of a sudden disruption.

5.    Improve Trust Between People and Governments

Conspiracies have been thriving during this pandemic. This reflects two things: 1) how little trust people have in the government in general; and 2) in places such as Singapore, where people generally do in fact trust government, the government does not trust its citizens, perhaps for good reason: A recent lockdown was ordered up due to an increase in cases of COVID-19, as people failed to heed advice and continued to gather in groups. Governments tend to operate on one of two principles:  That people will be conscientious enough to voluntarily avoid unnecessary trips and so minimize spread of the virus, or that only government force will keep people indoors. Can we balance that equation?

6.   The Planet

Since COVID-19 there have been many reports of improved air quality in major cities. This has in fact prompted some animals to “take over” and seem to enjoy walking through empty streets.  This much we know: There is a correlation between a decrease in human activity and improvements in air and water quality. Has the world learned? Will there be a greater push for collaboration between major countries to create common goals for a healthier planet?

This is a lot to do and a lot to ask. Is it worth it, to avoid another terrifying worldwide pandemic?

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