A year ago yesterday, my country went into its first major lockdown following the Covid 19 pandemic pronounced by the WHO, and experienced by many nations worldwide.
Yesterday, I completed my final vaccination jab against this history-making virus.
I guess you can say I’ve sort of come full circle in these 12 months.
Yet one year on, it’s clear this fight is anything but over for all of us, whether we’ve been vaccinated or not.
These days, any cursory glance at news headlines globally will tell you that many countries are still reeling from the impact Covid is wreaking on everything, from the economy to healthcare and all the other stuff sandwiched in between.
Globally, the number of Covid cases diagnosed has exceeded 132 million as of yesterday. Deaths are nearing 3 million, and countries like France and Japan are experiencing new waves warranting new lockdown protocols. Even as vaccination roll-outs appear uneven in many parts of the world including Europe and Asia.
So much for the miracle cure to restore the world to pre-Covid days of BAU (business-as-usual)!
All in all, Earth’s still a pretty bleak place to be in right now whichever way you look at it.
Which brings us to that annoying but no doubt (deep breath here) “present-in-everyone’s-mind-mother-of-all-questions” question:
Do we still want the old “BAU” (Business-As-Usual)?
Let’s get this out of the way right now, shall we?
The short answer is: “Yes, but…!” As in “Yes, but it’s not likely we’ll get it.”
A return to pre-Covid days? The resumption of mass travel? The end of wearing masks, giving and getting hugs and kisses, taking virus tests and getting vaccinations? The packing of stadiums for major league games and superstar concerts. Big birthday or rave parties that go on all night?
Not full-blown yet thank goodness.
But if the likes of BBC and CNN are already keeping running pages on their websites to track in real time the likes of the bats in Asia, mosquitoes in North America and pigs in Europe, wreaking new havoc…I think it’s safe to say we must all continue to stay vigilant and adaptable to future lockdowns and restrictions.
And no one should be in any hurry to rip off their masks and delete their safe entry QR code scanning phone app!
Yes, it’s no secret many still yearn for the old BAU. Just look how eager places like New Zealand and Australia, Hong Kong and (yes, my dear motherland) Singapore, are to green-light travel bubbles between each other as early as this month. How Japan’s going ahead with the 2020 Summer Olympics this coming July; and “revenge shopping” might be unleashed as last year’s pent-up and frustrated retail demands are given the reprieve this year’s vaccination roll-out promises to bring.
But are all these and more, better for this world?
How about a new “BAU” like “Better Advocate Unity”?
But I fear we run the risk of falling back into bed and fast asleep to all we’ve been doing up until 2020; to ignore the signs that all’s not well on this little (no-longer-so) green planet in the vast Milky Way. We are in danger of forgetting how “ravaged” the world had been in the decade leading up to Covid’s unwrapping.
Fake news. Natural disasters. Civil wars. Tech dominance. Internet vulnerabilities. Echo chambers. Climate change.
Need I go on?
Covid actually brought everyone “closer” (social distancing notwithstanding). For the first time in a long time, the whole world had one common enemy, and thus one common rallying point. And we have seen how hands across nations can build bridges and tear down walls. The call for unity across nations had never sounded louder and more urgent.
For me, anything that can unify our highly disparate world is a bonus, a win.
So why the rush to return to the old BAU, when we can embrace a newer, better BAU?
Let’s hope that even as the world desires to defeat this virus (and we most certainly must), we don’t forget that we are one global village. And like all villages, we need each other and must continue to support and help each other.
We “Better Advocate Unity”!
Then, if the pundits’ predictions come true within the next decade and another pandemic strikes, we will stand better ready to weather it and emerge faster and stronger than we are now.