Coronavirus crisis has restored sense of unity, humanity

Thursday, March 26th, 2020 00:00 |
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe when he officially launch the COVID-19 CT Scans machine at Kenyatta National Hospital. With the equipment patients’ information from counties can be interpreted through the Diagonstic Imaging Centre at KNH. Photo/PD/TABITHA MBATIA

Sandra Ochola 

It is a calamity as numbers of the world comes to terms with the effects of coronavirus.

The pandemic has emerged as an equaliser of states; groups and individuals as countries race against time to curb its spread.

 No one seems to have the right answer on how to best manage the virus or to keep the global population immune from it.

Thus far, social distancing and the strict observance of personal hygiene appear to be the trusted means of taming it. 

The impact of the virus can be seen and heard daily. Families are losing loved ones, hardworking citizens are losing their source of income even as economies try to stay afloat.

A lot more of this impact will, sadly, be felt long after the world emerges from this menace. 

For example, in countries that have been worst hit by the virus such as Italy and China, there is an increased appreciation for their governments and service providers.

Populations that have survived the virus have witnessed the institutional dedication and strategy that have gone into the policies to safeguard lives and interests. 

The political polarisation that characterised states and parties at local and international levels has morphed into calls for solidarity and communal supplications.

World leaders and their offices have been tested for their resilience and management skills and will likely be judged by their present actions during the next elections.

Doctors, nurses and other practitioners that have sacrificed their lives for the cause have further shed light on the state of healthcare systems across the world.

Small-scale traders, the transport sector and others groups providing essential services continue to keep populations and economies afloat.

These experiences are likely to improve on levels of patriotism and cohesion especially, within the countries that have been most affected by the outbreak. 

Technology has been viewed through varied lenses since its advent. Yet, it is now almost the only way for people to stay in-touch with each other.

This experience has given our technological advances a peak into the future, demanding for aggressive and homegrown inventions towards human surveillance and public health and telemedicine. 

Evangelism might also take a different meaning for some devotees post-coronavirus.

That places of worship have become points of infection for the masses has, indeed, changed perceptions towards fellowship and ministering.

The boundaries between state and religion have been made clearer while the need for collaboration between these two entities has been magnified.

In many instances, it is no longer about blind faith but rather, informed faith given the risks the masses continue to be exposed to.  

The spread of the virus has also impacted on human relationships, especially with the weak and vulnerable within our society.

Majority of those affected worst-hit by the virus are the elderly. Their weak immune systems, lack of proper medical insurance and even disposable income to sustain them during this trying period has left them susceptible to the ravages of the virus. 

While there are quarters that believe that this is a matter of natural selection where the old die and the young live, the situation offers a glimpse into global social welfare systems policies and their implementation.

After this, there are countries that will improve on their policies and ensure better health service provision and social security for their aged populations. 

What is most dampening, is that the virus is likely to widen the inequality gap. This is not only at the micro level but also at the global level as countries address the financial impact of the virus.

Job losses and pay cuts will set back low-income earners in ways they may never recover.

Governments will have to come up with creative, yet costly ways of keeping their populations fed even as international institutions seek ways to lighten debt burdens across board.

Stimulus packages and other cushions offered to keep economies afloat will still impact the global economy in one negative way or the other. 

Regardless, the sense of unity and purpose against coronavirus must be maintained. None of the above will matter when the world is unhealthy.

Indeed, for many populations the year 2020 will begin once we declare victory over the pandemic.   —The writer is an Advocate of the High Court

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