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August 15, 2020 00:00:00 | Umar Bashir Mir

Life and Pandemic: Live with it

Covid-19 will push around 40 to 60 million people into extreme poverty that is people living on less than Rs. 150 per day: World Bank

  

 

  • It is estimated that more than 50 million people will die due to Covid-19 if not halted soon
  • Covid has transformed the way people will evaluate governments in future
  • Masses have now understood the importance of healthcare
  • Do not get surprised if in the upcoming election politicians start talking about your health, jobs and education instead of traditional age-old stagnant issues
  • Policymakers have to address soon whether we are prepared for another pandemic
  • Online education has several benefits over traditional education systems
  • As of July 2020, there are around 1.725 billion learners impacted because of closure of educational institutions globally
  • Global think tanks have implied contraction in global GDP of around 5.2% which is the lowest in last 80 years

 

Have you ever thought about how you will live after this pandemic ends? Do you have plans to roam with your friends, go for a barbeque, go for shopping or maybe excursions or swimming? If you have then excellent because we all should and that is what keeps us going. According to scientific research, on average, it takes 66 days to develop a new habit. Whether you like it or not but the fact is that we have to say bye to some of our habits and welcome many new ones or have we already walked that path?

Healthcare

As per reports, it is estimated that more than 50 million people will die because of Covid-19 if not halted soon and till now there are around 19.4 million confirmed Covid-19 positive with 722k deaths globally.

Covid-19 has impacted 7.8 billion people globally either directly or indirectly which has compelled all the governments and citizens to think what is the new norm of living. It has made people realise what is essential and this could transform the way people evaluate governments in future. Educated and conscious citizens are critical to a developed society which in turn demands the effective and efficient government.

The masses have now understood the importance of healthcare. Questions like how many doctors, hospitals, critical care ambulances, testing labs do we have per million people could be encountered more frequently now. Do not get surprised if in the upcoming election politicians start talking about your health, jobs and education for children rather than traditional age-old stagnant issues like roads, water and electricity. Also, the policymakers have to address soon whether we prepared for another pandemic.

Education

Are physical classrooms a history? Well maybe not right now but considering the exponential growth in online education start-ups it seems just a matter of time before home-schooling and online classrooms will become a norm. However, its impact on the quality of education is something which is still blurred. Online education has several benefits over traditional education systems in terms of investment in physical infrastructure, convenience for attending classes, time-efficient, inclusion by extended reach and at par with global level. As of July 2020, there are around 1.725 billion learners impacted because of the closure educational institutions globally.

Economy

The pandemic has significantly altered the global economic scenario. Almost all the countries have noticed economic contraction. Global think tanks have implied contraction in global GDP of around 5.2% which is the lowest in the last 80 years. Suppose Covid-19 is not controlled very soon then global recession which could be more severe than previous ones is inevitable. According to Kenneth Rogoff, Professor of Economics, Harvard University, the Covid-19 induced recession could be the worst in the last 150 years. Similar views were expressed by Jerome Powell, Chair in the U.S Federal Reserve System. He believes that this recession is going to be worse than any recession since World War II.

World Bank has estimated that Covid-19 will push around 40 to 60 million people into extreme poverty that is people living on less than Rs. 150 per day. Below table presents a snapshot of the impact of Covid-19 on global poverty. There is a continuous increase in the number of people living in extreme poverty, and this sudden increase is attributed to forced lockdowns imposed by various governments across countries.

 

 

Year

Pre-Covid-19 Projection

(in millions)

Post-Covid-19 Projection

(in millions)

Change

2017

675

-

-

2018

641

-

-

2019

614

632

2.93

2020

595

684

14.96

2021

577

679

17.68

                                                       Source: Global Economic Prospects

 

 

It is important to note that emerging economies and less developing countries are the ones that will bear a significant brunt of this economic turmoil. So, there is a need for transformational policies that safeguard the interests of people working in the unorganised sector. This sector is mostly comprised of workers and small business units (informal economy in India is more than 85% and contributes to around 50% of the GDP). It has got most affected because of the lockdowns and restriction imposed by the administration. In future, we could see such population also included in the safety nets which at present is primarily applicable to the organised sector.

Segregating society

Socio-cultural implications of Covid-19 are guaranteed, that we all are going to realise sooner or later if not already encountered. Shaking hands, patting, and other forms of physical touch could become history. Dr. P. Vigneshwara, Professor at IIT Delhi believes that Covid-19 might bring another level of segregation in our society based on who is scientifically tested as safe. People might be labelled via somebody tattoo or chip based devices that emits safety information to electronic reader.

The more knowledge people have about the spread of the virus; the more will they become reluctant in embracing any form of physical touch even by close friends and family members. Physical and social distancing which has been recommended by the global experts as a means to control the spread of infection could act as the catalysts of behavioural changes in the society. While physical distancing does not imply social disconnectedness, social distancing presumes disconnectedness which can further aggravate anxiety and depression cases in the society.

According to UNESCO, while imposing physical distancing, there are certain basic societal needs like access to the Internet and daily living requirements that need to be met without any bias. Historically, it has been found that in times of crisis be it environmental, health or security-related – minority groups have been made scapegoats for various reasons apart from subjected to racism, social boycott and violent clashes. Suppose if this injustice is left unchecked. In that case, this could lead to a permanent division of societies, thereby hampering cross-cultural communications, collective understanding and inter-communal solidarity which is the basic fabric of any civilised nation.

Experts believe that Covid-19 is not going to vanish completely. We have to find ways to live with it irrespective of the availability of vaccine. Whether we are ready to accept it or not is not the question but how soon we embrace it is something that will decide how quickly we can return to our new normal life.

           

Author is a Research Scholar, IIT Delhi

umarmir123@gmail.com

 

Archive
August 15, 2020 00:00:00 | Umar Bashir Mir

Life and Pandemic: Live with it

Covid-19 will push around 40 to 60 million people into extreme poverty that is people living on less than Rs. 150 per day: World Bank

  

 

              

 

Have you ever thought about how you will live after this pandemic ends? Do you have plans to roam with your friends, go for a barbeque, go for shopping or maybe excursions or swimming? If you have then excellent because we all should and that is what keeps us going. According to scientific research, on average, it takes 66 days to develop a new habit. Whether you like it or not but the fact is that we have to say bye to some of our habits and welcome many new ones or have we already walked that path?

Healthcare

As per reports, it is estimated that more than 50 million people will die because of Covid-19 if not halted soon and till now there are around 19.4 million confirmed Covid-19 positive with 722k deaths globally.

Covid-19 has impacted 7.8 billion people globally either directly or indirectly which has compelled all the governments and citizens to think what is the new norm of living. It has made people realise what is essential and this could transform the way people evaluate governments in future. Educated and conscious citizens are critical to a developed society which in turn demands the effective and efficient government.

The masses have now understood the importance of healthcare. Questions like how many doctors, hospitals, critical care ambulances, testing labs do we have per million people could be encountered more frequently now. Do not get surprised if in the upcoming election politicians start talking about your health, jobs and education for children rather than traditional age-old stagnant issues like roads, water and electricity. Also, the policymakers have to address soon whether we prepared for another pandemic.

Education

Are physical classrooms a history? Well maybe not right now but considering the exponential growth in online education start-ups it seems just a matter of time before home-schooling and online classrooms will become a norm. However, its impact on the quality of education is something which is still blurred. Online education has several benefits over traditional education systems in terms of investment in physical infrastructure, convenience for attending classes, time-efficient, inclusion by extended reach and at par with global level. As of July 2020, there are around 1.725 billion learners impacted because of the closure educational institutions globally.

Economy

The pandemic has significantly altered the global economic scenario. Almost all the countries have noticed economic contraction. Global think tanks have implied contraction in global GDP of around 5.2% which is the lowest in the last 80 years. Suppose Covid-19 is not controlled very soon then global recession which could be more severe than previous ones is inevitable. According to Kenneth Rogoff, Professor of Economics, Harvard University, the Covid-19 induced recession could be the worst in the last 150 years. Similar views were expressed by Jerome Powell, Chair in the U.S Federal Reserve System. He believes that this recession is going to be worse than any recession since World War II.

World Bank has estimated that Covid-19 will push around 40 to 60 million people into extreme poverty that is people living on less than Rs. 150 per day. Below table presents a snapshot of the impact of Covid-19 on global poverty. There is a continuous increase in the number of people living in extreme poverty, and this sudden increase is attributed to forced lockdowns imposed by various governments across countries.

 

 

Year

Pre-Covid-19 Projection

(in millions)

Post-Covid-19 Projection

(in millions)

Change

2017

675

-

-

2018

641

-

-

2019

614

632

2.93

2020

595

684

14.96

2021

577

679

17.68

                                                       Source: Global Economic Prospects

 

 

It is important to note that emerging economies and less developing countries are the ones that will bear a significant brunt of this economic turmoil. So, there is a need for transformational policies that safeguard the interests of people working in the unorganised sector. This sector is mostly comprised of workers and small business units (informal economy in India is more than 85% and contributes to around 50% of the GDP). It has got most affected because of the lockdowns and restriction imposed by the administration. In future, we could see such population also included in the safety nets which at present is primarily applicable to the organised sector.

Segregating society

Socio-cultural implications of Covid-19 are guaranteed, that we all are going to realise sooner or later if not already encountered. Shaking hands, patting, and other forms of physical touch could become history. Dr. P. Vigneshwara, Professor at IIT Delhi believes that Covid-19 might bring another level of segregation in our society based on who is scientifically tested as safe. People might be labelled via somebody tattoo or chip based devices that emits safety information to electronic reader.

The more knowledge people have about the spread of the virus; the more will they become reluctant in embracing any form of physical touch even by close friends and family members. Physical and social distancing which has been recommended by the global experts as a means to control the spread of infection could act as the catalysts of behavioural changes in the society. While physical distancing does not imply social disconnectedness, social distancing presumes disconnectedness which can further aggravate anxiety and depression cases in the society.

According to UNESCO, while imposing physical distancing, there are certain basic societal needs like access to the Internet and daily living requirements that need to be met without any bias. Historically, it has been found that in times of crisis be it environmental, health or security-related – minority groups have been made scapegoats for various reasons apart from subjected to racism, social boycott and violent clashes. Suppose if this injustice is left unchecked. In that case, this could lead to a permanent division of societies, thereby hampering cross-cultural communications, collective understanding and inter-communal solidarity which is the basic fabric of any civilised nation.

Experts believe that Covid-19 is not going to vanish completely. We have to find ways to live with it irrespective of the availability of vaccine. Whether we are ready to accept it or not is not the question but how soon we embrace it is something that will decide how quickly we can return to our new normal life.

           

Author is a Research Scholar, IIT Delhi

umarmir123@gmail.com