– By Deborah Thomas
What a year 2020 is! We are in early April with the weather warming up tremendously but in a Coronavirus lockdown. The world is changing like we have never seen it before and this invisible virus is travelling fast globally taking lives, increasing panic and anxiety. The carnage and impact of coronavirus on all our lives could be limitless. Several countries already on some type of lockdown for several weeks whilst we are just experiencing our full three weeks.
Already millions of jobs are lost, globally, millions of businesses are on the brink of collapse. Millions of families are on the breadline, and food banks are going into starvation and thousands of people are literally going bunkers. There seems to be no defined exit strategy which stokes more fear to the population, and consequences to this lockdown will be colossal. The entire world is waking up to a new reality and guess what? This is real and definitely not a movie. Is there light at the end of this horrific situation? Is there a way to continue saving lives from this deadly virus but also save diabolical economic fallout? Or is this like a pay as you go contract where just keep topping up until you run out of credit?
The government funds announced by the chancellor at the start of the lockdown was a welcome relief but it’s not yet available to all, thousands are in despair not knowing what to do or how this might end. Grants and loans that is meant to be out there for several millions from the banks are not getting to the little people. The once boisterous high street is now like an apocalyptic sight and makes me wonder if life will ever be the same again.
Fear is a very powerful and primitive human emotion that systematically that starts a chain reaction in the brain that starts with a stressful stimulus that ends up causing a racing heart, fast breathing and a whole host of abnormal behaviour. The aftermath of this global pandemic will definite remain with our society for years to come. One can only hope that this does not lead to all types psychological and sociological issues. On one of my regular runs, I noticed the look of fear on some people when another remotely moves too close to them. Everybody handles fear in different ways and for some, mundane things like just taking a short walk round the block is too scary and the would rather sit down on the sofa watching tv all day long.
Trust might become an issue because of fear of catching a disease from just talking or interacting with another human being. Social distancing might lead to inability of having a relationship or even maintaining a relationship. Love might become harder to find let alone keep leading to sexless relationships.
Unfortunately all these consequences primarily borne out of fear may end up with a variety of illnesses that will end up stretching our beloved NHS.
The responsibility of preventing mass panic and fear lies on the media because the constant death numbers which should be reported should not be a minute by minute event as this style of reporting could go either way – shut the listener down totally from listening to any type of news or drive the listener to having a mental breakdown which will be biggest problem that will possibly emerge from this lockdown consequently leading to a strain on the NHS.
2. Economic downturn Increasing Poverty
Before the Coronavirus lockdown there were already reports of a rise in poverty and rise in the use of food banks all around the country. There are just over 2000 food banks in the UK with more than 1.5 million people turning up regularly to ask for food. The statistics for this lockdown period is not available yet but one can only imagine what the half year figures would look like.
There are reports already of thousands of small and large businesses all around the country collapsing and some particular sectors like travel, hospitality, retail are going bust with thousands losing their jobs left right and centre. The chancellor, Rishi Sunak has already said the UK economy will shrink and the OECD also gave a reduced global growth projection after Coronavirus pandemic.
It is the same story country after country but in different magnitude. Millions more registering as unemployed and it will only get worse if the various governments don’t nip this in the bud.
3. The Rise of Robots
#StayHomeSaveLives is working and indeed with majority of essential workers working from home. According the Institute for Fiscal Studies Labour survey data for 2019, there are an estimated 22% key workers in the UK. As exciting as it may be for the first few weeks of skiving and doing less work because no one is there get you to work faster.
Fast forward a few months when you find bulges developing in various parts of your body due to non stop snacking, isolation bringing you bouts of loneliness, spending too much time on your computer screen causing eye problems the mother of all problems could be domestic abuse. Sorry I am sounding very gloomy now, but for your information, domestic abuse is on the rise and even counties like France domestic abuse has led to murder during this coronavirus lockdown.
Children with short attention span must be struggling at the moment because mummy or daddy just lost his or her job, and they’re already going through a bout of depression unknowingly. These periods are difficult times for such parents and to get difficult children to study let alone do their homework could prove very challenging.
Majority of the population are buying online, and of course many factories and companies are already using robots to support the human workforce. Unfortunately this reality might happen to 50% of the entire workforce when companies realise that they are now becoming more profitable having over half of their workers work from home.
With money getting tighter and business rates going off the roof, there will need to be super incentives to get the small business people back out there. 0% interests loans are not going to going to be sufficient especially during slow times. Hence cutting back on the people cost could lead to exploring what technology world has to offer. There are several companies replacing reception desks with welcome robots and these are available on hire now.
Whatever you may think, we are now in some type of a new world and only time will tell.