So about 2 weeks ago, the government here decided we need some new protocols due to the COVID-19 outbreak, all in an attempt to slow down the infection rate in my country. At the time, we all thought the government was ‘over-reacting’, looking to infringe on our lives and civil rights starting with the most basic – our freedom.
What began as more stringent guidelines to minimize social interaction, such as minimizing the number of people in a room, quickly became minimize going in to work at all. No group activities with over 5000 participants, quickly became less than 2000 participants, then 100 participants and lastly 5 participants. And this week these limitations were upped, now minimizing the leaving of our homes (only if absolutely/positively required).
What began as a scare, has brought the world (or most of it) to a grinding halt. Our lives and social connections have taken on a new regiment as our connections to the world have gone ‘digital’. For those already working from home, I dare say the change was minor. Mostly because those colleagues were already set up for such a regiment. For the rest of us, well let’s just say we needed to get used to this new ‘way of doing things’.
In this short blog series, I will look at the COVID-19 pandemic with hopefully new eyes. I will look at the following subjects:
I guess the answer is a clear: Yes, we should have known.
Over the years, nature has an annoying way of rearing her ugly head. At what seems to be an increasing pace, the human race has had to deal with some sort of epidemic. In 1918, the Spanish flu swept across the world killing more than 50M people. The second half of the 20th century saw outbreaks of Ebola and Nipah virus. In this century, we’ve already had SARS and MERS, each of which have spread to more than 30 countries.
So, I would say most epidemiologists have been warning the world for years. But not only them. Warnings have been given by a wide variety of both medical and non-medical personnel. From Bill Gates, in his famous TED talk, to Michael Osterholm in his book: ‘Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs’, to the US Intelligence Team. All of them have been clear in stating that the world is not yet ready to deal with the next epidemic.
However, the warnings do not stop there. It is said that Dean Koontz predicted the pandemic in his 1981 novel (The Eyes of Darkness). And those of you who say Steven Soderbergh’s film Contagion (with Matt Damon) would likely balk at the number of similarities to today’s COVID-19. Of course, some even say that Nostradamus predicted such a virus, but I don’t know after his failure at predicting the end of the world, I just don’t believe Nostradamus anymore 😃.
Therefore, you ask if we should have known – I would say yes. However, it seems the world always had better things to do than preparing for an unknown virus. That is until this ugly virus reared its head and put a stop to our ‘burying our heads in the collective sands’. We cannot pretend anymore that this won’t happen, nor can we pretend it will go away on it’s own.
We can all see what this tactic has done in Italy and Spain both in terms of the number of dead and the implications on the country’s hospitals and patient care. It was only the other day that we all heard that Boris Johnson, who promised his British counterparts that they would quarantine only the elderly and at risk groups, had contracted himself the Caronavirus.
I think that is enough for now. I will be back next month with more. In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more how this pandemic will affect and be affected by telecoms industry, read Dean Bubley’s latest blog here: TelcoFuturism – Pandemics.
Sigal Biran-Nagar is Sr. Director of Corporate Marketing at ECI. Sigal comes to ECI with a strong record of marketing, strategy and communications for both global and local conglomerates.