We can all agree that we are going through some extreme circumstances which probably occur once in a century, which for us, is a lifetime. The world has faced similar situations before but they are ancient enough to qualify as a different planet. Being an author, I have always admired fictional works and ideas and there are some works, books and/or movies, which are strangely similar to real world events. I have always been fascinated by this aspect of fiction vs reality comparisons and the fact that they sometimes are strikingly similar to each other. So, I tried to find something similar related to the current pandemic and was astonished when I realised that we are in the middle of the worlds of 3 fictional works. They are ‘Inferno’ by Dan Brown, ‘Journal of the Plague Year’ by Daniel Defoe and the movie ‘Contagion’
Out of the 3 works mentioned above, ‘Contagion’ is probably the one which portrays a situation almost identical to the one we are in. Other than how the virus came into existence, all other details like the virus hitting unexpectedly, the magnitude being unprecedented and widespread, the planet setting off into panic mode, the symptoms being very generic and of course the professionals desperately looking for a cure are freakishly accurate. Certain details about the lockdown measures similar to the ones we are in are quite minute and easily missed.
Hence, I included a masterpiece of historical fiction, ‘Journal of the Plague Year’ by renowned author Daniel Defoe. Although set in the era of the plague, certain details are extremely relevant. For example, Defoe concentrates on the congested-ness of the public and residential areas and the horrifying stories about patients being separated from their families for extended periods of time as a quarantine measure. The minute features of the public restrictions and the different measures taken to prevent infections like similar lockdowns and contagious districts and zones accurately resemble today’s countermeasures and people’s thoughts on the same.
The reason behind including ‘Inferno’ is mainly the political facet of this pandemic which is the conspiracy theory about the virus being engineered. Although there is no hard proof of this fact, there have been multiple investigations and accusations made and the plot of the book is built on similar controversies but post virus experience is not the focus like Defoe’s work. Inferno explores the more controversial aspects and we still do not know the truth behind this pandemic first-hand.
So sometimes fictional stuff comes true, but reading about it comes nowhere close to actually living in such harsh conditions and fighting for survival.
‘Life is beautiful’ is an old movie directed by Robert Benigni. From my point of view, the movie portrays how important a father is to his son.The father protects the son from learning the hard truth about the situation going on in World War. He does this by making the son believe they are playing a game and if they achieve their target of 1000 points, his son would get to see a tank. The film captures the challenges faced by the father-son duo and showcases each challenge converted to a task which the son believes has to be completed to earn points.
Many households in India having infants and toddlers continue to be in lockdown. Children are restricted from going to the swimming pool, playing with their friends, going to school, etc. Parents have to find different ways to make their children understand the graveness of Covid-19 without being able to explain a virus or a pandemic. Parents must be thinking of creative ways to get their young ones to cooperate and adhere to the lockdown norms. They could be engaging with them in creative ways to make this phase enjoyable and protect them from the anxiety and worrisome developments in the world outside.
In the movie, the son shares,with his father, his wish of wanting to see an army tank. The father uses this wish as the big prize for completing a series of tasks. In a similar way, parents must be incentivising their young ones, using rewards, to follow the new rules in the house. Additionally the father in the movie used “hide and seek” for making his son stay in a safe place for a couple of days, while hiding from the enemy soldiers. Parents could use the same technique to get their kids to wear masks or simply keep them entertained at home. Throughout the movie, the father tries not to showcase fear while informing his son about the situation. He tries keeping an optimistic attitude throughout. Likewise, parents today, might also follow the same ideology.
Pandemic. A word that struck fear and chaos around the world the second it was seen on every news channel on 30th January, 2020. This word is now nearly always used in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. Nearly.
Before COVID-19, I had always associated the word ‘Pandemic’ with a board game I like to play. Fittingly named ‘Pandemic’, the board game is about stopping a global health crisis similar to COVID-19. This is a cooperative game, where all players are in the same boat, on the same team trying to stop four different viruses from infecting the whole world. Yes, four viruses, all designated to a certain region. Since COVID-19 has spread to all of the four regions of the world, I have considered the four viruses as one, for the sake of this comparative study.
The game starts out with one to three infections, represented as cubes in the game. Throughout the game, you can see how the virus multiplies slowly at first, then spreads out across the world rapidly in multiple outbreaks. This is an exact replication of what happened with COVID-19. The crisis started with one case of ‘pneumonia’ with an unknown cause in Wuhan. Quoting Newton, ‘Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.’ This is true for both the game and the global crisis we are in. Except for the fact that the reaction is almost never equal to the action. In the game, for every one case treated, three more pop up. This is exactly what happened in the initial stages of the pandemic in Mumbai. The two people who came in contact with the carrier from Dubai were from Mumbai. They were both tested positive. Soon, they came in contact with 9 people, who were also tested positive later that day. This is shown by multiplying the infections in a city exponentially in the game.
Once a city reaches its ‘infection capacity’, when there are no hospitals left, an outbreak occurs. This is done in the game by infecting all neighboring cities. After eight massive outbreaks, the game ends, marking the end of humanity. This shows that there can be only a certain amount of outbreaks the Earth can handle before the virus takes over the planet. That is the first way to lose the game. We are currently moving away from that critical point, since the rate at which the cases are multiplying is decreasing.
However, there is another way we can lose this battle. This is when the infection cubes run out. When this happens, it shows that there are too many cases to overcome, and that the disease has spread too fast. The only way to prevent this is to have the medics racing against time to treat every patient, and to put everyone into quarantine, done by quarantine specialists. This is the fastest way to lose the game, and the real time war against the virus. This is why staying at home and self-quarantining is especially important. We have the edge here due to the lockdown, making it hard to spread the virus. However, due to rains and the existence of slums, where quarantine is virtually impossible, the virus could spread faster than ever. This is shown in the game using ‘Epidemic cards’, where a multitude of cities are infected and the infection rate is increased. In this crisis, this was seen on 1st April, when India saw the largest spike in Coronavirus cases. Many cities were also infected and infections spread faster than before.
The third and final way to lose the game is to run out of ‘Health cards’. This, in the real world, means that there are no resources like food, water and most importantly healthcare left, draining the economy. India’s spending on tests solely adds up to over 100 crore. Indirectly, this also means that time has run out, and the disease has passed the ‘critical point’. Since the economy is not having a steady flow of income as many jobs are put on hold due to obvious reasons, it collapses. Many countries are on the brink of this catastrophe.
Since there are so many ways to lose, surely, there must be a way to win? There are two ways to do so. A temporary win is when the disease is tested and is temporarily eradicated. Temporarily, not permanently, because the disease could originate again from a different source. The only permanent way to win is by finding a cure. This happens when a scientist combines four identical disease cards and uses that information to find a cure. As of now, we are close to obtaining our first card. The end of the lockdown only marks a temporary win. A vaccine - permanent.
The only hope for surviving this pandemic is by staying put and hoping for the best. Because somewhere, there is a scientist trying to find the right cards, a medic doing his best to treat every patient and a quarantine specialist preventing a potentially disastrous outbreak. Let’s hope everyone plays their cards right, as they are what determine the future of this world.
In the post Corona world, a few practices will pick up pace, such as online shopping, deeper penetration into the rural market and more usage of digital payment ; whereas some innovative processes will also find its way into our daily life.
‘Contactless’ is going to be a new mantra. The new normal would be contactless services, payments etc since everyone expects to receive their orders contactless and well sanitized.
I think the future belongs to innovative technology and one of them is daily essentials being delivered to the household by drone. A prototype of the same in the form of a model made by me is shown in the following picture.
Be it grocery, vegetable or fruits, or any essential item which needs to be delivered physically, drones could be there to aid us. Drones will become an integral part of life in the coming time. Contact-less, fast, hassle-free and not dependent on the delivery man.
While I was busy doing this, I saw a report on the same as of today (June 4th, 2020). I have attached the link too.
COVID-19 has changed lives all around the globe. Everyone is confined to their homes and the absence of a cure to this disease gives rise to fear and uncertainty. What initially seemed minor, as it only affected some parts of the world, has now spread across everywhere, leaving almost no place unaffected. Nevertheless, there are a plethora of aftermaths of this disease in addition to the many lives that have been lost.
The economic and political changes will be most significant, affecting all of us. In my opinion, the world we will live in post Covid would be very different and perhaps better. A major positive change would be the realization of how unpredictable and short life is. I mean, I could never see myself stuck in the house for my summer break. Maybe once this period ends, we might understand how materialistic things only give us temporary joy and don’t add any REAL value in life. It is, in fact, family and health that lets us feel happy permanently.
This situation will also affect the future by encouraging unity and collective strength. And once we rise stronger, we could do wonders. According to me, it could possibly reduce the amount of conflicts between people. The loss of so many working hours and workers will for sure weaken our country economically and this would be worse for other countries, such as the USA, on which the virus has taken a serious toll. I think this will change the superpowers of the world post Covid and India could rise up stronger than the USA in the post Covid world. These changes of countries’ powers will definitely affect different relations amongst countries, thereby affecting the world.
Although, I believe there are 2 sides of a coin, Covid can bring out negative consequences, exacerbating the predicament, people may think that ‘life is short and unpredictable’ and thus behave haphazardly and thus may hoard up necessities and products which will cause inflation affecting the poor more than the rich. Additionally we would be living in a world that is constantly in the fear of relapsing.
Since the inception of the lockdown on 24th march, the life that we knew outside the house is completely different. The casual walks around the block, the morning jogs in the society, playing around in the park is now no more. The auto rides to the nearest shopping centre, hanging out with friends, and going to school...no more. We have to stay indoors in order to protect ourselves from the deadly virus. No one leaves their safe haven unless absolutely necessary. In fact, in Mumbai, The Indian Army has been released onto the streets of the city to prevent the people from leaving their homes. The lockdown seems like a lifetime of imprisonment.
But what will the world look like after this lockdown is lifted from the country? Will life go back the way we know it in the outside world, or will there be a separate and more cautioned code of conduct? What will our lives be like?
Masks and gloves are now going to be general articles of our clothing. It will be a compulsory part of our lives. Social distancing will be the new norm. I can imagine all the public spaces having transparent screens, separating people from each other, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
How will India be affected?
In India, the economy will be under pressure due to a surge in unemployment and pressure on healthcare. Industries will suffer losses as there will be lesser demand and hence reduced production. The medical departments of our country will be under pressure to cure millions who are going to be infected. The educational experience will be different for all as the strict COVID-19 prevention guidelines will prevail. People will suffer from financial losses as no one will frequently visit shops or salons or groceries.
However, not all is lost. This circumstance will teach us the basic rules of personal hygiene that we should have practised earlier. Due to the decreased population on the roads, nature will be given more space to breathe. People will learn to value their lives and the lives of others. Sympathy will be in play. Over time, our kind has become very selfish and self-centred, but now we are helping others. Donating food, clothes and money to those with less fortunate lives. We are also learning to trust and put faith in fellow human beings and treat others with the respect they deserve. Now that we are forced to become independent, we realise how much we depend on others, how easy they made our lives.
There is no doubt that our lives cannot go back to the way it was immediately after the lockdown is lifted, but slowly and steadily it will change. During these times we need to be cautious for ourselves and for others. We are humans, and it is human nature that we socialize with others and it is impossible to keep ourselves inside the home for the rest of our life just because of the COVID-19 virus, so life must go on. Life will not be the same as the ones that we led before this pandemic but we must be grateful as a country to have the freedom that we will get once the lockdown is lifted because there are many others who may not have that freedom for a long time now.
While we know this pandemic has damaged the world, we have managed to forget that whenever the human race has had a downfall, it has always come back up and fought it. Just like that, we will win this fight against the virus. The pandemic is reshaping the world and some things are perhaps going to stay years after the lockdown is over. What I am trying to say is that we are going to have to adjust to a NEW NORMAL.
First of all, let us talk about fitness. Fitness is key. Fitness is something a lot of people pursue in hopes of staying fit and often use gyms to do so. In addition to many people being in a room, while working out, people sweat quite a lot while exercising. Gym equipment is also used by many people in a day. I believe that separating gym equipment in separate rooms would help. Additionally, 2-3 people could use a room for 30 mins and then once they are done, they could press a button that sanitizes the whole room. This allows the room to be disinfected for the next person.
Secondly, public transport. Public transport could potentially increase the spread of the virus. The amount of people using public transport must be controlled. While I believe it's best if people don't step outside in the first place, this might not be possible for all. Instead of using local trains and busses, people can, for a while, use their own cars or autos/taxis as such modes limit the number of people.
Lastly, masks and gloves must be made a necessity. If someone is caught not wearing masks and gloves, they must be fined...it is the only way to bring in discipline.
I would like to end by saying we’ve been sitting on our comfy couches for too long. It is time to get up and get creative. Even though there isn't much we can do, thinking and innovating is something we can. We wanted to go to space and we got creative, built a spacecraft and went to space. Similarly, we have got to get creative and create a NEW NORMAL and normalize it.
As people stay at home they are safe and sound until they decide to go out for some fresh air. The question is if it is really important to go out of our houses? Or can we just stand in our balcony and take in the fresh air, just grab a chair, a coffee cup in our hands and just enjoy our peaceful time.
‘THE NEW NORMAL’ is an oxymoron. It is a complex situation but also a very easy task, sooner or later you just get the hang of it. COVID-19 is a really new pandemic in our normal life. So does the fear still stay?
I don’t think so because people are there in their homes with so many activities to distract them from this new pedamic. So this really new pandemic has become a really simple situation now. An easy way to say this is, following the 4s’ :
Stay Home, Stay safe, Stay happy, and Stay healthy.
I have listed down a few normals “pre-covid” which have now become the new normal “post-covid”
|We went to school.||E-schools have taken place like- video chats via- google meet, zoom, etc, or we use google classroom and gmail.|
|We went to various restaurants.||We cook various cuisines at home now.|
|Departmental stores- like malls, for shopping were available.||Online shopping is in great demand now Like- Amazon, Flipkart, Snap Deal, etc..|
|Our parents worked from the office.||Work from home has started taking place|
|We went to buy groceries.||We order groceries from online apps like- Grofers, Big Basket, Amazon, etc.. and get them home delivered.|
|We went to different places to meet our friends and families.||More video calls.|
It is most definitely in our human nature to criticize any situation we experience. Naturally, you and me have cribbed throughout the 80 days of lockdown. However, in these dire, once in a 100 years, situations we tend to forget how unbelievably fortunate we are. While the lockdown might seem to be an eternal war between you and boredom, the world and the majority of its people are fighting a rather one-sided battle against survival.
As news flashes of rising poverty rates,and crippling living standards flooded my news feed, I realised how ignorant the majority of us have begun. The Monetary Fund(IMF) has conducted a detailed analysis of post-COVID-19 poverty rates. Extreme poverty in the world will rise this year by about 50 million people compared to the original 2020 forecast. With numerous people moving onto the streets by the end of this year, economies will crash, politicians will start playing the blame game, the gap between the rich and poor will increase and entire communities will cripple.
The upper strata of society- the men, women and children blessed with means to fulfill their needs and wants- have forgotten their roles as humans. Perhaps you and I fit into this category and it is our moral duty and responsibility to help the people in need, NOW. The loss of countless lives due to poverty and not COVID-19 will affect each and every one of us, regardless of our socioeconomic status. Helpers, cleaners and security guards can be helped, rather, rewarded by giving them some money, safety equipment or donating money through authorised NGO’s.
As for our new normal post corona, things that affect the majority of you, everything changes. The pandemic has allowed us to easily identify and eliminate inefficient activities. Offices will render useless as companies prove that working from home is more efficient both, time and money wise. As for the majority of us Indians, our horizons will continue to expand. With an increasing well-educated population, Indians will be able to produce and manufacture more, our rise to stardom will take off and take the world by storm. Collectively as humans, our medical expertise will increase dramatically, giving us an edge over any possible pandemics in the future(let's keep our fingers crossed till then)
I could have presented a thousand facts in front of you but that would not do any justice to the gravity of our current situation. I strongly urge you to start taking some action, this time as men and women call us for help, we cannot afford to hit the snooze button. And that, is our new normal.
The impact of corona virus has reshaped the world. All institutes have closed down, the shops, schools, offices, temples and transport too. Everyone is working and learning in the comfort of their houses and are trying their best to adapt to this situation. With lockdowns continuously increasing, our hopes of going out of the house are dying down. Recently, the Maharashtra government has allowed only essential movements for medications or to visit hospitals. They have also allowed private offices to open but with only 10% of the workforce. Only two wheelers, four wheelers, taxis, cabs and rickshaws are allowed to move on the streets. There are still many restrictions right now, for example- hotels, educational institutes, temples and places of worship, large gatherings, spas, malls, restaurants, salons may remain closed. Even after the lockdown ends and we will be unable to continue with our normal life, there will be some restrictions and measures we will need to take. Some of them are-
In many other countries, schools have resumed but with new rules and practices. For example- Each student has their own cubicle around their desk made out of glass slabs to avoid contact. In my opinion we should continue online classes as that reduces risks of being in contact with many people. Now is the time to update our digital methods and make this a digital age due to the risks outside. There are many people risking their lives at this very moment. Doctors and nurses staying in hospitals and taking care of corona infected patients, Doctors and scientists trying to find a cure and end this all, watchmen and guards staying in buildings to help the people residing in it and many more. Practicing all the guidelines is a must as we need to protect ourselves for we do not know what is laying ahead waiting for us.
Referring to the current situation we are going through, it is extremely difficult to predict what will be coming our way as we are amidst a huge crisis the world together is facing.We are not certain about when this will be over and when will we be able to experience a ‘normal’ routine again.
So far, it has been a tormenting time for all of us and we have been trying to work along and co-operate with these conditions.But at the same time realizing the severeness of the cause of this pandemic has kept us going and being considerate.After all health matters more Covid-19 has surely been one of those events that caused chaos all across the globe. .It has entirely changed our daily lives.We have reconstructed our schedule since lockdown and have tried to adapt to it. The Human race together have altered their lifestyles and follow different principles in order to stay healthy. This is of paramount importance to fight this upheaval. Research has mentioned that this virus will exist and has already existed.Hence, the solution will be to find a cure for it.
Transforming not only our current lives, this pandemic also poses changes for our future. Even after the offices, schools, markets,and the other public places open up, everyone will have to take few precautions to maintain hygiene and avoid relapsing. This can include forming various rules which ensure a certain amount of distance between each and everyone and all the places are sanitized.For example increase the amount of cleaning in the area. If it is a store and clean ups were a weekly thing, it must be changed to every two days or everyday. In queues (at airports, supermarkets, etc.) maintain two to three feet of distance between each individual. If not followed, strict measures must be taken. Public places, including schools, must check everyone’s temperature through non-contact infrared thermometers before they enter the premises. Avoiding trips to international destinations is also important as it can cause contact with various people beyond your country’s border which can be dangerous. A limit must also be set on the number of people who travel in local trains as local trains are so densely populated.
We will definitely have to reshape our future. After all, it is beneficial for us and in the support of our survival. Change is something the human race doesn’t prefer and doesn’t want to experience in their lives, but being in your comfort zone is not the very key to survival.
Like Steoehn Hawking said, “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”
According to me, the changes below are something we will experience once things get relaxed. This will be our NEW NORMAL.
Once we reach school, in front of the school gate, we will have to sanitize everything- the bottom of your shoes, hands, and whole body.Maybe a sanitation room. After that a machine will scan our bodies to detect anything unusual such as fluctuating body temperature.
Then, every class must have different time slots to go up the stairs to their respective classrooms. In their classrooms, each desk could be about 1-3 meters away from their neighbouring desk.
In the lift, floor number buttons could be placed at the bottom of the lift so each person can press the button with their feet.The lift will sanitize itself after a person leaves and when the lift is empty. Perhaps done by sensory-automated equipment.
Supermarkets will also have to follow the rules of self-distancing and sanitization as well.Gloves should be compulsory everywhere we go. We must not be allowed to touch anything without gloves.
Since the evolvement of the COVID-19 virus, fear has been spreading globally, alarming families and companies into taking appropriate precautions avoiding the spread of this deadly virus. It has taken millions of lives and shows no sign of stopping.
It has reshaped our lives in unexpected ways, making us more cautious and aware of our surroundings. With bad news coming left and right, it has made us appreciate those around us and taught us to be grateful for the lives that we have, for the food and other basic necessities that we are provided with and the luxuries we receive.
Having brought sorrow to many and destroying countless families, it has forced us to take precautions to avoid the same happening in the future.
Some of the precautions that I believe should and would be taken are :-
COVID-19 has infected over six million people over the world, due to which, around 400,000 have lost their lives. This pandemic is taking a toll on society and will continue to gravely affect the entire world for months to come.. Some governments have been wise enough as they have taken strict and adequate precautions in order to contain this virus. On the other hand, some governments had prioritized the economy and imposed restrictions when it was already too late. On a positive note, nearly three and a quarter million people have been recovered. This event will surely be remembered in the future because it is going to severely impact some ‘normals’ of the society in the future.
Let’s recap a few things. Some governments, like the Indian one, have taken some harsh but effective decisions that have tried restricting the spread of this virus. A lot of influencers like Datta Ram Patil and Sonu Sood, just to name a few, around the whole country have been helping the poor and needy with aid such as distribution of food packets. A police inspector, Arun Kumar Singh, who was on medical leave decided to start his own community kitchen where he could help the needy with food packets. This is an example of a case where humanity is respected and put before everything.
As we know that this pandemic is a major blow to the world’s economy, there will be some changes in our normal lifestyle that will come into place because of this deadly virus. According to me, nearly all public places will be strictly observed and restrictions on gatherings like limiting it to not more than 4 people. Similarly, workplaces will make some changes to their work schedules, like shifting desks with more distance between them and shifting break timings so that less people can gather. Schools would also do the same and take a little more precaution as children are more prone to infection. Cinema halls and stadiums would also keep in mind social distancing. Regularly, people would be wearing masks everywhere. We may have to look at a masked world.
I feel that even when we are done with the COVID-19, we would have to prepare ourselves for any such forthcoming events. For instance, the USA, where one-third of the world’s cases are, was late in decision making and its supply and production have been very low because most of the cases are from factories. The world is not going to look as it did before because of the new norms implied everywhere.
This event is probably going to make people believe in what the old man said
- Prevention is better than cure