No doubt about it COVID-19 is changing the world.
Since February 2020, nothing has been quite the same.
So exactly how will COVID-19 impact you, and your life right now? Let’s look at what is happening then see where this is taking us.
March 11th, 2020 the World Health Organization officially announced that Covid-19 is a pandemic.
Shortly after, non-essential services closed. Businesses and entertainment centres such as restaurants, retail stores, theatres, stadiums, sports events, religious centres, large gatherings, weddings, parties, libraries, correctional services, construction sites, parks, pretty well ANY kind of store selling goods and services from bricks and mortar establishments, all closed. As the infection curve rose and deaths climbed, some essential businesses also closed and moved entirely online. Schools, office workers, doctors are examples of this trend.
A break, a time to be with family, stop the hectic rat race pace for a change, but when a few months turn into half a year, people all over the world wondered, ‘Will this ever end?’
COVID-19 gave us all more time to be with family, loved ones, ourselves. It took us out of the rat race faster than anyone would have thought possible, and the unsustainable reach for happiness through consumerism. It has adequately exposed the shadow side of life. Like a giant pendulum that swings back and forth, this pendulum has reached its limit and is now hurling itself back in the other direction… or maybe it is a new direction.
In the News
The news has a lot to say about how COVID-19 is changing the world? It would have us believe that all is doom and gloom. It focuses on the climbing death rate while ignoring the declining death rates in other areas. For example, death and injuries due to car crashes, are in general down during March and April of this year. Replace the micro-focus on the Covid-19 pandemic and number of deaths with a broader focus, and we have more to celebrate than not. For instance, cancer mortality rates have been dropping for years and continue to decline. Death due to war and global conflicts has also decreased over the years, and even COVID-19 death rates are dropping as we speak.
When we look at actual death rates on a broader scale, we see that the overall trend in death rates for human beings has decreased in the last few years – even decades – and it continues to decline. Furthermore, I firmly believe that all living things on earth, are also experiencing declining death rates, markedly since the COVID-19 caused the lockdown of millions – even over a billion people at one point. I have no proof of how other life forms are faring since COVID-19, but I would lay money down that they are better off since we were locked up and had our mobility reduced.
Global Trends and How COVID-19 is Changing the World
Another way that COVID-19 is changing the world is through trends? It is exposing global and national issues that already existed. COVID-19 brought many problems to the surface, quickly and simultaneously. I’ll work from the most recent occurrences and work backwards.
1. The Phenomenon of Mass Protests
The most significant trend at the moment is an increase in mass protests. The trend is an equal-opportunity discontent. It is shaking countries governed by both the left and right, democracies and autocracies, rich and poor, from Latin America to Asia and Africa. Particularly striking are those protests in the Middle East – because many observers thought that the broken illusions and horrific bloodshed that came in the wake of the 2011 uprisings would dissuade another round. (https://www.crisisgroup.org/global/10-conflicts-watch- 2020).
The unrest isn’t going away, and protesters are in for the long haul. And it is no surprise. The scale of the protesting is what is staggering, most of which are peaceful and among diverse people from all walks of life. When you have no voice, you talk with your presence, and that can be very powerful. Not even the brute force of dictatorship rule in some countries that ran like clockwork for decades can sustain its usual power over the people.
2. Superpowers and Shifting Power struggles.
Rivalry among significant powers in the world is also intensifying. Regional authorities are encouraged and even fearful by the opportunities these transitions present. And no one quite knows where the USA stands at the moment. This, too, has also exposed an already weak global system where big brother the USA isn’t going to fight the world’s battles anymore. Is that such a bad thing? Whatever it is, it is time for all countries to find themselves, step up, unite and face the music. Only time will tell how much of the U.S.’s transactional unilateralism, contempt for traditional allies, and alliance with traditional rivals will endure – and how much will vanish with Donald Trump’s presidency (Robert Malley).
Even Europe’s foreign policy is squeezed by three great powers, the U.S., Russia and China, each of which relates to Europe in its way, all of whom increasingly are prone to ignore, bypass, divide, or strong-arm the continent for their ends. Europe is struggling to find its voice amid the crush, as are many other countries in the wake of sweeping changes.
3. Corrupt Government Systems Rocked
August 10th, Beirut, Lebanon, was rocked by what some observers described as ‘a blast that felt like a nuclear bomb.’ BBC reports that the explosion was the result of the detonation of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that was stored for six years without safety measures at Beirut’s port. Days after, the government announced it would step down. What has this got to COVID-19? You know the saying, “It was the straw that broke the camel’s back?” The people of Beirut have lost all trust in their government system and are sick and tired of decades of a corrupt government system. They want change, their country back, and most of all, they want the government out.
Lebanon is but one example. Many other government systems around the world stand on unstable ground these days. All countries are looking over their shoulder as COVID-19 makes an already corrupt system more exposed for what it truly is. No countries are immune. To name a few examples of countries in turmoil right now are Belarus, Italy, Brazil, Venezuela, Syria (still), Turkey, Iran, Mali, even the USA… the list goes on the longer COVID-19 has its way.
4. Superpowers in Times of Crisis
Hong Kong is the most recent example of how COVID-19 can change the political world. A new law came into effect at 23:00 local time on 30 June, an hour before the 23rd anniversary of the city’s handover to China from British rule, that gives Beijing powers to shape life in Hong Kong, it has never had before. Critics say it effectively curtails protest and freedom of speech – China has said it will return stability. In the wake of COVID-19, I am venturing to say that superpowers and even smaller countries are flexing their muscles and taking advantage of an already fragile economic and political system, brought about by COVID-19. COVID-19 is bringing about new opportunities for countries to alter the course of their history right now.
5. Racial and Economic Inequalities
The murder of George Floyd on May 25th, 2020, exposed the depth of the racial tensions in our society. The fact this happened right at the peak of COVID-19 in America helped to break down prejudices that were overdue to be seen. It’s called systemic racism – not just racism. COVID-19 has exposed yet another deep-seated shadow side of modern culture. White people have to finally admit – that we are racist by default because we were born into privilege. Now that the truth is exposed, and white people can’t deny this core truth within themselves. There is no room to go back and plead ignorance.
Luckily, some excellent racist courses are emerging that support anti-racism in white privileged societies. Let’s face it; if you are white, you ARE privileged and have been for a very long time. Check out courses such as White Anti-Racist groups at iBeme in Canada. The focus is on tackling racism from the inside out, from within ‘white’ people. COVID-19 has also shown the raw truth about inequalities in health care, nutrition, distribution of services, education, law enforcement, careers… (to name a few). Thank you, COVID-19, you exposed another shadowy layer of our existence.
So… What Can Possibly be Good About All This?
The good in all of this is that is it is better to know the truth in the issues that affect us, than not know. Unless you are an ostrich and like sticking your head in the sand and pretending all the ‘baddies’ will go away. COVID-19 is a reasonable force in that it demands us to wake-up and change how we govern ourselves at every level. Another right side of COVID-19 is that wildlife has never been happier! The grass is growing, flowers are blooming in the most unexpected places, and skies around the world are clearing. In Nepal, the Himalayas can be seen, as clear as day, on a typical sunny day. Previously, this was unheard of in the last decade. Pollution levels are down worldwide; stress levels from work are also down. Time to stop and reassess our lives… we have to reassess everything.
Families have bonded more intensely, or they realize it is better to part. There is no more grey zone. The fine line between truth and illusion has become much more evident with the onset of COVID- 19. You can no longer lie to yourself about how you feel about certain things. Everything is so much more blatantly clear – even right down to who should NOT run your country – thank you, COVID-19!
A Better World?
There are new stresses due to unemployment, domestic abuse, stress from anxiety and uncertainties dominate many peoples lives. Yet change never comes quickly and always at some cost. Are the cost of losing your job and some of the securities you took for granted balanced by the benefits of thinking of life differently?? I don’t know about you, but deep down inside, I think many of us knew we couldn’t ride the high tide forever. We have no choice but to see how little we need.
How we treat the disenfranchised, the less than desirables, the people who are convenient to forget – has been exposed. It was all covered up, governments covered it up, and yes, even you and I covered it up. In all honesty, we didn’t know… we were ignorant, but not anymore. Truth is a funny thing because once you know it, you can’t go back.
And it feels a little uncomfortable right now. Feeling nervous or feeling this is all breaking you down, is the price to be paid for making the changes needed to reach a new normal that is more sustainable and globally cooperative for more people.
How to Survive Theses Times
The truth is coming out whether we like it or not, and it is all-encompassing. We must deal with the reality about our relationships, career, community, family, government, even our emotions, and who we think we are. COVID-19 forces us to face our situations and ourselves. But wait, it is also over yet!
How you come through this pandemic will depend on your opinion or your personal view of what is happening. Will you see this as a collapse and destruction or opportunity? It is neither, yet is both. In any change, there is pain. How will you come through this? It will depend on your ‘opinion’ and how well you adapt to change.
In this changing environment, hanging onto your old beliefs will only make things worse. People who can change and be flexible will survive this far better. Change is the name of the game right now.
Irrelevant – Redundant – Time to think differently.
Are you part of one of those increasingly growing trends of becoming irrelevant? Or maybe you do not even factor into the new equations of the world emerging during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Solomon Salve writes some truths about the effects of COVID-19. This dis-ease creates a worldwide threat but reminds us we are a global community. It demands physical distancing but requires unified societal action. COVID-19 attacks human beings but stirs up humanity as well. It also ceases religious freedom but kindles faith. These are ALL good things, and it is about time.
New Reality Check
How is COVID-19 continuing to change the world? From the environment to governments, communities, families, to ourselves, the changes are sweeping. Covid-19 has undoubtedly made us all question productivity, globalization and spirituality. We also didn’t need all that stuff we use to buy and busy ourselves with. We have adapted to survive on less, thereby giving ourselves more of what matters. Ridiculous consumerism has met its match, and it is about time.
The big picture is this: moving ahead will mean working together more than ever. The collective will win over the individual. If we keep the big picture in mind, we will get through this.
Truth is knowing, that there is no stopping a pendulum whose time has come to swing in a new direction. You can’t stop it or even change it.
It does truly come down to your opinion and what you decide to focus on. How will you spin this story to yourself and others? Life is no longer about just you, or your loved ones, it’s about us, and it is about time.