“Hardship may dishearten at first, but every hardship passes away. All despair is followed by hope; all darkness is followed by sunshine ” Maulana Rumi
The Corona pandemic has created a mayhem around the world. People are in despair. The fallout of the pandemic is catastrophic. It is believed that 2020 could be the worst year for gobal economy in nearly a century. Everywhere people are confined to homes. Streets, roads, and markets are desolated. Schools, colleges, ånd religious places are closed.
The pandemic has traumatized big economies around the world including the US, China, Russia and India, as there is a considerable decline in economic growth around the world. According to International Monetary Fund, ‘‘the cumulative loss to global GDP over 2020 and 2021 from pandemic crisis could be around 9 trillion dollars, greater than the economies of Japan and Germany combined’’. So maximal digitaliztion, use of artificial intelligence and minimal direct human intervention are essential to run economies. There is no escape from interconnectedness brought by globalization. So, an early warning system to tackle any future global crisis is must. Moreover , the welfare economics should also be on the agenda.
The political fallouts are evident through disrupted democracy and governance worldwide by centralizing power and closing democratic space through curtailment of fundamental rights, expanding state surveillance and electoral disruptions. A new global debate about ‘merits of authoritarianism versus democracy’ is emerging. Lack of preparedness among different nations around the world to deal with health crisis is out in the open. So there is a need for worldwide healthcare mechanism and robust institutional and legal framework to tackle the future pandemics. Our health care system should be well prepared to fight any pandemic. A sound critical care and universal health care is need of the hour. We also need to amend the disaster management rules to tackle such crises more efficiently.
A significant amount of fear is prevailing in our minds, ignited by the social media through circulation of unauthentic news and information about corona pandemic. A proper regulatory mechanism should be put in place to restrict it. According to WHO, ‘‘the problem does not lie in Covid 19 alone but rather in fear and panic caused by spread of virus and amplified by media which has been projecting the situation as if it were end of the world’’.There is also a need to check global health inequalities as the lack of health care among the downtrodden may be disastrous owing to the very high secondary attack rate of the virus and no community being immune to it. Millions of people have died because of lack of access to antiretrovirals, and the same would continue with COVID-19. A strong digital infrastructure in our schools is the need of the hour, which can not only be economical but would also bring accessibility and uniformity in education.
Moreover, a national level disaster needs collaboration and consultation at federal as well as state level. The cooperation of people in ensuring lockdown recently halted the rapid spread of the virus to a large extent. Such adherence to rules and regulations saved the lives of millions of people and is a sign of a mature and responsible civilization. The lockdown also underlined the fact that family is the ultimate bond and saviour of a human being and the same institution needs to be strengthened, and that ultimately would strengthen a nation.
Establishing the need for a collective approach, the pandemic points to the need for sustainable, humanitarian, innovative, universal, multidimensional principles in our policymaking. The authorities need to be rational and should take calculated risks and people need to act responsibly. We need to expedite the medical research and ensure a cosmopolitan institutional mechanism to deal with future global crisis. Lastly, we should have faith and belief in ourselves to fight any eventuality. David J Schwartz quotes in his famous book ‘The Magic of Thinking Big’ ; ‘‘those who believe can move mountains, do. Those who believe they can’t , cannot. Belief triggers the power to do. ’’
Zahid Majeed is a Junior Research Fellow at Department of Political Science , University Of Kashmir