CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Lessons from Covid-19 crisis so far

The crisis has taught us that we are easily connected via a handshake, thus sharing a common destiny as humanity.

In Summary

• The coronavirus pandemic has also exposed the pathetic situation of our health systems globally.

•  They are made for the elite and, therefore, unreliable, especially in jurisdictions such as the US and Kenya, where most of them are driven by the profit-led private sector.

An isolation ward at J M Memorial Hospital in Ol Kalou
FIGHTING CORONAVIRUS: An isolation ward at J M Memorial Hospital in Ol Kalou
Image: /Ndichu Wainaina

A time for great reflection it is, this Covid-19 has taught us. And the usage of this statement has become so synonymous with our daily life, that children can now say it effortlessly without tutelage.

Truly, we are a coronavirus generation and we have long winding tales to tell when all this is over. Here are some of the discoveries so far.

That politics and politicians are overrated as most have gone into hiding during this crisis. Only a few have distinguished themselves by providing solutions, or by standing with their communities, or have managed to secure interviews on TV or newspapers.

This tells us that most of the political noise is paid for and therefore unnecessary, and that the country can actually run without it. Those who have lost footing the most are heretofore the loudest of them all, as Tangatanga and Kieleweke factions of the ruling Jubilee Party have become irrelevant during this crisis.

New authentic voices have emerged from professionals such as medics, researchers and association leaders that are currently shaping public opinion. Political pundits have all but disappeared, their prowess in benchmarking political scores having taken a back banner.

The pandemic has also exposed the pathetic situation of our health systems globally. That they are made for the elite and, therefore, unreliable, especially in jurisdictions such as the US and Kenya, where most of them are driven by the profit-led private sector.

This crisis clearly has repositioned the place for the right to health as a primary right, rather than a secondary one as is currently the case, and the need to make medication more central and affordable for all. It’s quite shocking that many countries have astonishingly low ICU bed capacities and equipment such as ventilators, to protect their people.

This crisis has also taught us that economies don’t run on autopilot, and that all hustle and bustle we witness each day is driven by the most important resource that we have  — the human resource. That all that looks permanent and well-calculated eg income projections and bottom line profits can quickly disappear when there is no human activity.

In fact, this pandemic has taught us that many people the world over are only one or two meals away from starvation, and that a lost income of one or two months will take more than 70 per cent of the global population below the poverty line.

The crisis has taught us that we are easily connected via a handshake, thus sharing a common destiny as humanity. It also goes ahead to expose the limited human knowledge and systems to combat a virus that only another simple task of washing our hands well can flatten the curve. This proves it’s in the simplicity of things that life flourishes, and not necessarily how complicated we tend to make them be.

In this era, we have seen people become more creative and the eruption of new talent and content across many fields. Who would have thought that our young women doctors would do an artistic song challenge or that our artists would awe us with the dance moves or poetry that we are seeing across social media?

We are witnessing grown-up men playing childhood games again with their families, rediscovering the little boy in them, as children get used to seeing their dads at home. It is also true that while families are bonding all the more, so is the rise in domestic violence due to the fact that spouses don’t spend as much time together. The stay at home order has exposed many frictions since we spend more time at work, in school or with friends.

Covid-19 has also shown us that countries that have managed their financials well are best placed to respond to this crisis. They have money to directly inject into peoples’ pockets and haven’t had to result in borrowing from the suspect Bretton Woods institutions.

We have also discovered that Africa is always used as a scapegoat for the world’s problems. With only 23 deaths, some French doctors unashamedly comfortably discussed on TV that a vaccine could only be tested on Africans, the least affected continent so far.

On the other hand, Africans are being chased out of their rented houses in China on the accusation that they are the ones spreading the virus, noting the irony that Covid-19 actually started in China.

We have also learnt that the Church is just another exploitative human institution and that the true one is the human body as the living temple of God. The rest is a money-making venture just like any other business. .

Finally, that war is not equal to physical combat, but preparation for biological warfare is equally important going into the future.