Visioning a better world beyond the pandemic

      None of us will emerge unscathed. But I believe in saying good bye for now- and then keeping our distance-is our best hope for surviving and being able to return to a time when ʻI love youʼ means ʺ helloˮ againʺ(James Kuo, founder, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Salt Lake City-based Bio Micro Systems). 

The coronavirus pandemic took a dynamic world by surprise, effectuating a new way of living. COVID-19 is the first pandemic in modern history with epic proportions. The last pandemic that ravaged the world on a large scale as this was the 1918 influenza pandemic. It was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin.
The COVID19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV2).[1] The disease was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China.[2]
Prior to COVID-19 there was a large gap in the public health and welfare system of developed and developing countries. Most developed countries had a good health care system- state of the art hospitals, adequate doctor to patient ratio, high literacy rate etc. The reverse was the case of developing countries. Coronavirus exposed the loop holes in the global health care system, unleashing a global health crisis as health care systems round the world were overwhelmed, with developing countries at a higher risk of containing the virus. This global health crisis was also exacerbated by the trend of ʺmy country first politicsˮ in recent years.
COVID-19 brought an advancing global economy to its knees, invoking a global economic crunch that has not been experienced since the last economic crunch of 2008. This global economic downturn has had devastating effects on underdeveloped and developing economies. The scale of the downturn most likely to be quantified after the pandemic.
Furthermore workers/labour has been adversely affected as the pandemic has initiated a new mode of work ̶ remote work; working from home, working online- video conferencing, telemarketing, telemedicine etc. This sudden change in the way skilled and unskilled labour carry out their activities has given rise to layoffs, inefficiency at work.
A huge blow the coronavirus pandemic has dealt the world is uncertainty. The pandemic is alarming in nature because it has several new and unfamiliar features. This has stoked uncertainty about the future of work and the global economy. These worries coupled with disinformation and misinformation about the virus has created a contemporary world of high uncertainty and high risk.
Individuals, corporations and the Governments of Nations are working assiduously to proffer solutions to the problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Some solutions to the ongoing pandemic are:
Universal Social protection and Multilateralism- The global order had been in a state of flux well before the coronavirus pandemic. Trade wars, crisis in hotspots such as the Middle East, East Africa. Natural disasters, to name a few. This inadequacy in social protection and cooperation prove the aptness of the words “Men are born free, yet everywhere are in chains.”[3] A comprehensive legislation by the United Nations would have to be enacted swiftly to mitigate the harmful effects of COVID-19. The way multilateralism operates will have to change to reflect this very different world. [4] The COVID-19 pandemic has been testing the limits of global cooperation. Support for developing economies in particular remains inadequate. They were hit early by the global economic downturn, including through record capital outflows and tightening financial conditions.[4] Facing the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II, these economies are experiencing unprecedented pressure on their already limited fiscal capacity to tackle urgent public health and social needs. [4] Choices made now will have far-reaching consequences. Reliance on more of the same is untenable and ignores the scale of human suffering unleashed by the pandemic. [4]
Sound public Health care systems- Governments of Nations should deliberately invest in the health sectors of their respective Nations. Public to private partnerships (PPP) are also welcome. If for anything, the ongoing pandemic has exposed the flawed health systems of many countries. An investment in education by the afore mentioned can greatly aid the development of health care worldwide.
Environmental considerations- A scary fact of COVID-19 is that it occurred in a world that is reeling year in year out from the effects of climate change. Humans have ignored the environment for centuries. This ignorance birthed environmental degradation, high pollution in cities, and global warming due to the high amount of greenhouse gases. Governments must ensure that they diligently adhere to climate change agreements by the United Nations. Invest in renewable natural resources, invest in low carbon infrastructure. Citizens of Nations also have a role to play in restoring the environment by disposing waste properly, recycling. Avoid and report bush and forest fires.
Sustainable Global Economy- One good lesson the pandemic has shown us is the fragility of the world’s economy. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and multilateral system should put in place positive measures to ensure a robust economic recovery.
Our goal for recovery should be full employment and a new social contract. Public investment in the care economy, education, and low-carbon infrastructure can form the backbone of stimulus that reduces inequality. [5] Wage policy, collective bargaining, and labor market regulation can revive demand and income while putting an end to a business model that allows companies to take no responsibility for their workers. [5]
Investment in new Infrastructure and the future of work- The world after COVID-19 is unlikely to return to the world that was. [6] Many trends already underway in the global economy are being accelerated by the impact of the pandemic. [6]
This is especially true of the digital economy, with the rise of digital behavior such as remote working and learning, telemedicine, and delivery services. [6] Virus screening is likely to become part of our life, just like security measures became ubiquitous after 9/11. It is important to invest in the infrastructure necessary to detect future viral outbreaks. [7] This investment protects economies in case immunity to COVID-19 turns out to be temporary. [7] The future of work might just have been ushered in by the coronavirus pandemic.
As global super powers and countries grapple to contain the spread of the virus, initiate economic recovery and restore the world back to normalcy, one can only hope the new world order would be very humanistic.

			REFERENCES

[1] “Naming the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the virus that causes it”. (2020). World Health Organization (WHO).
[2] “Novel Coronavirus – China”. World Health Organization (WHO). Retrieved 9 April2020.
[3] Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1788).The Social Contract.
[4] Jean Saldanha (2019).Director of the European Network of Debt and Development. International Monetary Fund.
[5] Sharan Burrow (2019). General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation. International Monetary Fund.
[6] James Manyika (2019). Chairman and director of the McKinsey Global Institute. International Monetary Fund.
[7] Sergio Rebelo (2019). Professor of International Finance at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. International Monetary Fund.

			CONTACT INFORMATION	

Kawen David Bitto
ADDRESS: UAM 8 Federal Housing Estate, North Bank Makurdi, Benue State.