By: Jaime Florez
The truth is that there is no strategy that has proven results of what could be an exit to the Coronavirus crisis. This is particularly true in regard to the way in which we are pretending to recover our normality if whatever results after all of this is over, can actually be called “normality”. We are living difficult times, and in circumstances like these, it is common that people assume strict and strong positions that they defend firmly.
Once again, we are polarized. Let’s go piece by piece. Evidently, we have three different and fundamental aspects of the crisis that are intimately related to each other. The first piece is the sanitary side: people get sick, they are contagious, and they infect others. The virus is inclement, it spreads in a dangerous way, it affects people of all ages, and it can overcrowd the hospitals. This is all that we already know and are already tired of learning and knowing.
On the other hand is the economic side, because this Covid-19 pandemic has brought as an immediate consequence, a financial and economic debacle of exponential proportions, and one that will affect the economic growth of the whole planet.
In the United States alone it has already generated an unemployment rate close to 15 percent, and each one of us has already realized that within our close circle we have friends and relatives that have already lost their jobs or their livelihood, and the worst part is that we do not even have an idea of when is the situation going to start to improve.
The third piece is the political aspect because it is our governments–and at different levels–who are responsible for taking decisions that, by principle, cannot be postponed. Some of these are how to reactivate the economy, opening what they decided to close while keeping the famous contagion curve under control.
And here is where, unfortunately, the ghost of polarization appears. Because each one of us is already set in one of the two poles and depending on the fact of if we like or dislike the person in charge of decisions in the government, is that we either agree or disagree with them.
This situation is of such alarming importance that no one was prepared to face it. This does not depend on which political party they belong to or which ideology they profess if we like them or not or even if they are better prepared or not to move us in the right direction.
Naturally, in these types of circumstances, no one is completely wrong or completely right. What we need to avoid is the extremes, on one side, to open everything again without any responsibility or on the other side to keep the confinement indefinitely, condemning a huge segment of the population to hunger and shortage of basic goods.
The great contribution of science and experts must be to bring to the table the assistance to be able to find the proper mechanisms that allow us to reestablish jobs and production while keeping in place the procedures that have allowed us to flatten the contagion curve, even when this is not achieved at the speed that we might want.
This situation of continuously washing our hands, keep our distance, use the face mask, etc., is something with which we will have to get used to because it is not going to go away. Another thing that we need to understand is that no one will force someone that does not want to go out to do it. Those people that do not need to go out, either because they are not working, or because they can work from the comfort of their homes, must remain at home.
The idea is very simple; the less people are in the streets, in commercial spaces, public places, bars, restaurants, and other commercial areas, the less risk will be that someone infects others. With less people in the street, their possibility of infection will decrease, and these data that we are thrown every day from everywhere will eventually decrease.
It is not fair that those that do not have the need to get out to work because they have the ability to do it from their homes are the ones that are putting more pressure for the reactivation of the economy, trade, and services. Their position is, let’s say, selfish, because if they stay at home, their possibilities of getting the virus are practically null.
On the other side, those that want to get out to work, in many cases, have the dire need to do it, are willing to risk getting infected and to infect their loved ones. But this is just because the other possibility that they have is not to produce, even for the basic needs, to pay bills that do not stop and or simply not to work is not an option.
The solution then is, as often is, a neutral point, where some stay home, those that can do it, and some get out, those that have to do it, and for these latter taking all the possible precautions both for their individual protection and for social distancing.
It is also up to the creativity of the businesses to create the proper conditions that contribute to making it more difficult for people to get infected. For example, some days, people can work from home and others at the office, staggered work schedules, redesign of the office spaces in order to make sure that the distance between people is the appropriate by placing cubicles farther away. We can just believe that all of this can help us defeat this pandemic.
A new normal will emerge from all of this, and we will be prepared to receive it and accept it properly. It might be that one good way to do this is to open our horizons, our thoughts to be more receptive to new ideas and points of view, to leave in the past those past dogmas that in situations like the ones we are living today, just make it clear that they lack any true meaning.
The reality that is starting to come before our eyes seems to be charged of new ideas and options, we are being more inclined to generosity, to the common citizenship, to helping others, to take care of our planet, to learn to dedicate more time to our families, loosen the accumulation of material objects and instead increase that for experiences that make us better. If the world is coming to us with a change, why can’t we also receive it changing ourselves?