March 2020 will forever be remembered as the month in which most European governments (over)reacted in response to the Coronavirus, partially because action was taken rather late if not too late. Nobody understood what was really happening. As a fire brigade response ad-hoc actions were taken to limit the spread of the unknown virus and the amount of patients with the Covid-19 disease in the hospitals. Country boarders got closed, we had to face an almost worldwide lockdown. Months later we still don’t know whether or not this has been the right response. And a lot more seems to come. We will most likely have to face the reality and stop thinking that in a few weeks time things will be better. We must start thinking about longer term changes, because the virus will not be gone soon.
Summer chilling is over
After a short relaxation period over the summer we are currently facing another dramatic increase of infected people across the world. Governments are considering to implement or have already implemented new and additional limitations.
People seem to be fed up with the guidelines
A lockdown like in March is something we all would like to prevent, because of the dramatic additional economical impact this would have. And at the same time an increasing amount of people no longer seems to feel the need to obey the “agreed” limitations, like maintaining social distance, wearing face masks, washing hands frequently, working from home, limiting the amount of contacts, etc.
We need to take care about our healthcare system
With Covid-19 cases in Europe at a similar level as in March, the question is what will happen next. Fortunately, specialists now better understand the virus and especially how to treat sick people in the hospitals. Nevertheless, a too high amount of patients should be prevented. We cannot put the same amount of pressure on the healthcare system like in March, that would probably be unbearable for the people working in this sector.
It is time to realize this is not temporary
At the same time, it seems highly unlikely we will be able to find a simple fix. Yesterday evening a Dutch representative of the hospitals, Ernst Kuipers, and a virologist, Marion Koopmans, shared the honest truth about Covid-19 during a talk show on television. We need to realize that the Covid-19 crisis will unfold very dynamically, “It’s like a dance with the virus”, mentioned Ernst Kuipers. We will have to continuously adapt to the new situation, what works today, not necessarily has the same result three weeks later. Marion Kooopman mentioned it will for sure last for another year (if not longer). Therefore, all together we need to find solutions, instead of arguing with each other whether or not we agree with certain guidelines and whether or not to obey them. Even if a vaccine will be ready by the beginning of 2021, it will take a long time before enough people have been vaccinated.
We need to reinvent our society
Knowing this, it is high time to start thinking different. We should no longer think in arrangements for the upcoming few weeks. We will have to reinvent our way of living with a longer period in mind.
Christmas, Carnival and other celebrations will be different, sports events will be cancelled or take place without audience, winter holidays will be without partying (which is not necessarily a bad thing), business travels will be limited for a long period of time etc. Educational systems might have to be reconsidered.
Many sectors will have to reinvent how to deliver their value to their clients/audience and certain sectors will have to rethink the commercialization of their business. This will demand a lot of creativity and effort, probably in the beginning for less reward.
To prevent a continuation of this situation and to be better prepared for the future, we should all aim to be as healthy as possible.
But at least it might prepare us better for the dynamic times to come. If we manage to make this change, the Coronavirus might change our life and how we live forever.
Image credits: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)