Counting the costs of COVID-19 far transcends head-count of fatalities. As a matter of fact, fatalities, if it will be rightly counted, should include, not only the numerical value of human lives lost; but also, losses in economic, industrial, vocational, educational aspects, among others.
The task of assessing wastes and losses brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic should at best enlist the dexterity of pundits in succinctly measuring the broken pieces and patches that can never again be mended or put together in terms of opportunity costs. The lost grounds, in this respect, will include those heights that should have been reached, were the schools not closed down; those volumes of production and cycles of trade that could have been reached, were the productive segments not locked down; those trophies that were not lifted and medals not strewn, owing to suspension in sports festivals and tournaments; those feats and strides we lost in technology, industry, manufacturing and other tenets of invention, owing to the sudden cessation and truncation witnessed in virtually all activities that form the nerve-centre of our national life.
We ought to also consider, the helpless crippling witnessed in aspects of life regarded often as routine, sedentary of even, informal. In this regard, we list the line-up of progresses people would have made as individuals and groups or as corporate entities. Ceremonies put on hold, weddings left unconsummated, funeral ceremonies left hanging in the balance and other social / religious / traditional functions put to a standstill because of their potentials for pulling mammoth crowds – all give the sad reality that we are not likely to emerge from this emergency properly right-sized in our mindsets to always cut our coats according to our sizes; or rather still, according to the sizes and dimensions of the available clothing materials.
Now that the chips are down, and the coast gets gradually clearer, we require to get acclimatized to better and more realistic attitudes. With the gradual reopening of our economy, we need to learn to do things anew. Remaining adamantly resolved to return to the old order implies that we hardly learnt any lessons from the pandemic experience.
The right attitude that should remain with us in the incoming post-COVID 19 era has as its central focus that we should never again be thrown off-guard. Sanitation and personal hygiene should remain our cherished creed; while our daily ways of life should be such reordered to have wider tolerances for hand washing, physical distancing avoidance of overcrowded convergences.
On the whole, our touching behavior, body contact, crowd behavioural patterns, distancing and all of our clustering and settlement configuration need better adaptation at this period. Only in this doing would we have learnt proper lessons and internalized them, permanently, beyond the COVID-19 pandemic era.