Each day, when I look at the increasing number of COVID positives, I wonder, if it would have helped is the strict “Lock Down” was extended by a few more weeks. I am sure this a debate amongst family members and friends too.
When I took a step back and thought through that all essential stuff we need, as a family, and as Individuals, I felt that further “Lockdown” would have made livelihood difficult.
Today, I am writing an article on LinkedIn, read and write emails, am on video calls and conference calls for business meetings. Many of us may be using online retailers to order food, vegetables, fruits groceries etc.
How does this work? Firstly The stores are online, I have a stable broadband connection, I can use Net banking, or GooglePay, or online wallets. we can select and pick up stuff we need into a shopping cart, provide you address where it will be delivered, and pay for it online.
If we look closely on what keeps this going, to make our normal livelihood happen….
The availability of stable internet, there are people maintaining it, your smartphone may be, there are telecom providers and their staff who are working to make sure your telephone works. There are Groceries and other shops who have an internet presence and technical folks maintaining their portals or websites, and keeping their data updated.
They have a delivery team often called roadrunners, who pickup from store and deliver it to your home. The motorcycles they use have to be fuelled and refuelled at gas stations by Individuals, The vehicles will have to be maintained.
Going a little farther, these stores will need a procurement team, and aggregators, again teams working and teams for logistics management and managing the supply chain. In addition depending on the items you procure, it may come from agricultural farms, or manufacturing plants. Agricultural farms need labourers and all the inputs like seeds, fertilisers, pesticides(if required). And the yield typically transported to wholesale markets and further onto retailers. Similar logistics for manufacturers: Raw material to pre-processing to production to the remainder of the supply chain,
Banks will have to work with all the staff even though reduced or staggered to make transactions possible either net banking or even to ensure that ATMs keep working. We take it for granted that you can walk into a ATM, use your card and withdraw cash. Well, in the first place every ATM has to be loaded and reloaded with cash and there is logistics behind that happening.
Now, Imagine the lockdown was implemented for a longish period and that meant strict containment and closure of many of the entities I mentioned above? How long can we sustain our livelihoods, even assuming we are enabled to “work from home”, applies only to businesses that are completely digital and Online. What if our work and earning or income depends on going out to a workplace, may be a manufacturing unit. Can that be shut down for too long?
I have tried to Illustrate one thread of our essential needs and the entire supply chain that is needed to make it work.
let us Imagine the diversity of things we require, commodities and services, the entire supply chain. “A Chain is only as strong as the weakest link”. and if the weakest link breaks, you don’t have chain end-to-end.
While the COVID Pandemic is worrying, bringing a sense of uncertainty, helplessness and frustration. I would like to believe that extended “lockdowns” render living unsustainable.
Can everything work as it was during pre COVID times? obviously not!
Hence I guess the need to take good care of ourselves, follow the protocols and Standard operating procedures, be compliant to it as much as possible.
The simple protocols of stay at home unless absolutely needed, wear masks, wash your hands as often as possible, most importantly maintain strict social distancing. Do we get hassled by these “Must do’s”? Of course yes.
I have a suggestion: whenever you think of these SOPs as a hassle, think of the frontline health workers, the nurses, the paramedics, the technicians. The sacrifices they are making, the courage they are displaying. In case one wants to know how it feels, wear a full PPE kit for 8-12 hours, just once!
They also have had to work with Health systems that were underprepared and insufficiently equipped, to put it mildly.
Today most hospitals have no beds, and hotels and other facilities are being turned into quarantine centres. Which only means more pressure on the health infrastructure, which fighting hard to cope with the Pandemic.
No one to blame, as the COVID hit us suddenly, and almost nobody, and almost all countries did not have imagined a pandemic of this kind to breakout and sweep the world creating huge damage to the world economy.
Imagine how much it caused to populations under poverty, densely populated areas. Inevitable we have to pay attention to people who are ignorant, or have a callous attitude towards the Pandemic and the precautions to be taken.
Let us switch to being very optimistic. Scientific research community across the world are collaborating, ignoring odd exceptions. There are several candidate vaccines that are at various stages of trials, and as a non-medical person, I read that some of these Vaccine candidates may cover a large spectrum of the CORONA virus strain, and may be even provide lifelong immunity. May be new medications will become available.
The probability this happening is high and if everything works well, may be they are available for use early next year. I would like to believe that in the interim period every individual should take utmost care of themselves and their near and dear ones.
Let us stay positive and optimistic that the mankind will defeat the Corona Virus and its origin
This period is well documented, and well evidenced, and should be a great lesson in history for the succeeding generations, should become part of Education at all levels, and finally should be a great inspiration of conquering a dark period in Human civilisation.