Did Covid teach us to be better crisis managers?
Sixty million US households have ordered do-it-yourself Covid tests, according to CNBC. This news comes as a relief ever since hospitals began overflowing with quarantined patients. Although USA polls show most people are displeased with voluntary vaccination, this is half the country’s official households. Besides, these are the official records of test kits shipped only through the newly created government website.
Tens of millions of other kits are directly distributed personally. A similar strategy was adopted by US president Biden, who admitted that the door-to-door effort in reaching the unvaccinated is a good approach. Zooming out, we find out that only a bit over one-tenth of the population is vaccinated, and some sources compare the dire consequences of this statistic to the adverse effects of tobacco smoking. Society slowly learned to tolerate smokers, and the same pattern may repeat for the non-vaccinated.
Free tests are (or were) available in most countries, but how does this affect the world population? For a starter, rapid virus tests will become a standard in any legal processes that adhere to basic safety.
The free makes and tests indicate the readiness of governments to alleviate some of the heat caused by the pandemic. As a result, some might have used the mask as an excuse to neglect their oral hygiene. One rarely celebrated perk of remote work happens to be the immunity toward either the cause or the effect of bad breath.
As we settle on the notion that we will never claim a victory over Covid-19, we slowly acknowledge its prolonged stay. With such a constant threat in our lives, we must settle on a permanent solution, even after its last remnant begins to die out.
Quick facts about the virus mutations
One bad side effect of an epidemic is the ripple-like effect of contamination. The number of infections gets progressively high, then low, until a mutated version comes to overshadow the original. So far, the 3rd or 4th wave peaked the most in record new cases of infected people – the patterns seen in most countries, including those most affected by the virus, like the US or Brazil.
The Omicron variant is officially recognized by WHO (The World Health Organization) as a considerable threat. There are ongoing speculations about whether Omicron or Delta is the one to fear most. However, a consensus exists that both present more than “mild” health risk factors.
Virus mutations are more likely to occur after mass contamination because the higher the number of infections, the more the chances for mutation. Mutations are usually an upgraded version, and when a globally powered mutation starts to spread, it hits hard. Omicron has already circled the planet and is powerful enough to cause a new wave of epidemics.
The WHO frequently warns about emerging virus mutations and shares known facts and known Covid myths that may happen to circulate and cause needless panic.
Are strict anti-Covid strategies working?
Core preventative measures have been dropped in some EU countries. Some sources suggest that the UK has already returned to its pre-pandemic state. Simultaneously, China continues to take virus restrictions very seriously. As some experts indicated, the virus may have first appeared these, but there are good chances security precautions may linger long after any traces of the Covid-19 are wiped out.
Over two years after the initial outbreak, millions of Chinese citizens are still severely limited by sturdy anti-Covid protocols. An extreme strategy called zero-Covid introduced by the government capitalizes on the importance of keeping the absolute minimum of any human contact. That rule alone has already sent huge tremors throughout the world economy. Like any other economy, the Chinese one is not entirely automated, and many sectors do not have room for AI (Artificial Intelligence), it suffered a blow. Because of the pandemic’s signature domino effect, even businesses with a strong emphasis on automation will hit a bumpy road ahead.
Mental health toll
For the first time in the recorded history of polls, Americans shared they are unhappy than happy. A shocking discovery deeply rooted in our post-Covid reality. The poll definitively shows that the virus does not discriminate between social standings or income.
Those who survived the virus face a troubling question – at what cost? We have beat the virus, but did we all get out unscathed?
WHO paints a gloomy picture claiming that, during the first pandemic year, the cases of increased anxiety and depression jumped by 25% worldwide. How serious is that number? If we assume there were no cases of mental problems during pre-pandemic times, we now have a cause for concern in every one in four people.
Mental health reports alarmingly show that some of the bad cases of post-Covid reality have a lot to do with depression and how it has affected mostly young people. Ironically, the generation with presumably better health outlook suffers disproportionally more from this invisible mind enemy. Before we make haste and draw a potentially inaccurate conclusion based on statistics, let us mention that chronic mental illnesses are usually found during an individual’s early age. Although this fact alone might be skewing the charts toward the lower age group, we must keep in mind that the young are also the neediest of outside guidance and help.
How are young ones coping with the epidemic?
Coincidentally, mental health is one of the new focuses for US government-issued financial support. The official relief funds ($190 bln) will cover structural improvements, like renewing schools’ ventilation and targeting psychological issues like students’ mental wellness. While workers are laid off amidst crumbling businesses, students also take a hit. Policymakers are torn between reopening classes mid-pandemic or not, and the consequences are just as gloomy.
Students’ mental and physical health is high up on the agenda of many countries. Making the right decision for the future of young minds has always been a tough challenge, but the pandemic makes it even more difficult. School administrators have shared their concerns that it would take years to show, whatever the ruling.
The US-issued school funds emphasize purchasing new cleaning materials, Covid tests, and hiring new counseling and custodial staff.
As with most industries during the pandemic, schools face two big problems. They must 1) establish pandemic-specific measures and 2) not destroy their regular program or planned improvements in the process. How we manage the pandemic alongside our default problems makes every step of the way even more important.
Since students become vulnerable victims of the pandemic circumstances, they need all the help they can get. School district policymakers must make the tough call and decide how to best channel the funds and, at the same time, act in the best interest of the young ones.
The Omicron variant and other mutations in subsequent waves caused students’ repeated illnesses, resulting in their interrupted schedule. It is proven that our learning capabilities deteriorate when serious distractions fragment our learning process. If schools are to remain open, the virus must remain boxed in. It would also reduce the emergence of virus mutations.
Distractions also come as the byproduct of some new replacements for classical teaching: virtual classrooms. These modern alternatives use innovative technology but leave teachers struggling to keep students’ attention. The necessary teacher-student connection is ostensibly lost in the digital mode.
The pandemic nostalgia?
Youngsters are also the least concerned fraction of society with pandemic consequences as the virus still spreads like wildfire. During the initial pandemic surge, when apples in the grocery store were individually sanitized and picked by weary shoppers walking around in protective gloves and gear, kids already sought ways to break the boredom imposed by lockdowns. Popular streamers took over emerging communities on social outlets like TikTok and YouTube.
While governments were fussing about the new rules they needed to produce quickly and plug holes, kids were videotaping the crisis in real-time and puzzling their parents with the coming of intricate trends like “the pandemic nostalgia.”
Although a temporary craze on the outside, the pandemic nostalgia underlines a deep and weird psychological trend: youngsters can mesmerize and reminisce about something that would scorch history’s pages as one of the worst crises in the century. The nostalgia trend idolizes the times when people frantically stocked on toilet paper or hunkered down with house supplies, ready to battle months of curfew.
Some suggest that the pandemic nostalgia is the longing for human togetherness. Examples of increased empathy always shine with brilliant examples during a crisis. When dirty bird feathers hit the fan, people resort to basic instincts, but luckily for all of us, one of them happens to be compassion.
Covid on eCommerce
It is extremely hard to predict what market network will give in and cause turmoil even with a clever outsourcing strategy.
Industry’s master sergeants like Netflix or Shopify are registering problems despite the shiny predictions about their imminent growth. Early in the pandemic, daring forecasts suggested that since people are stuck at home, they are more likely to watch movies or do online shopping. It turns out there are more characters in this play.
The pandemic is not the only thing to blame for eCommerce’s many misfortunes, but it is usually central, and other factors garnish it as collateral damage. For example, the decline in Netflix subscriptions can be due to the lack of quality content since movie studios were rudely interrupted by pandemic consequences.
Shopify, doing well during the first half of 2021, demonstrated that Covid-generated interest in eCommerce may be \short-lived. The following year more consumers touched by the ascending wave of inflation became increasingly reluctant to spend online.
In short, many recognized eCommerce platforms like Netflix, Shopify, and eBay sold the idea they could handle things during the pandemic. Still, they are yet to bulletproof their strategy for the post-period.
Although many businesses hopped on the online train as pandemic rules shut down their local outlets, not all were equipped or lucky enough to make the transition and keep the changing interest of consumers. Some restaurants that implemented contactless payment and door-to-door delivery drifted through and somehow preserved customers’ loyalty. In contrast, sectors like retail and health struggle to remain afloat with attractions like low prices or preserving product availability by re-stocking their shelves.
A simple rule like the “truck ban” cripples all the SMBs in the transport and logistics sectors. When different governments decide the country’s internal rules, the process may turn into some bad dice game. Since the consequences of every available choice lead to a serious predicament, measures are as severe.
When whole businesses crumble down because of pandemic-driven restrictions, they already suffered a loss and stood ready for every chance to come back. Most companies who thrived pre-Covid but now struggle are ready to clock any available profit. They would do so no matter the extra cost or if their production model runs on limited capacity. Anti-pandemic rules quickly diminished many established markets that took vendors years to build.
The post-Covid reality is still close to a dim reflection in a crystal ball. Experts agree that choosing between online services and local stores is not the dilemma of future entrepreneurs. Instead, reaching the customers through a web of available channels (omnichannel) and choosing the most convenient one is in hard play, disruptions or not.
Despite the overwhelming effects of Covid, we are yet to see what the receding waves will wash away ashore. Will an amended world economy rise strong, re-wiring all previously lost connections? Can businesses and people get back to what was a part of an ongoing process? Stay tuned to our future blog posts and find out.
And have strong faith in your immune system.