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Evolving into a Covid-resilient society

Asia Analytica
Asia Analytica8/12/2021 6:10 PM GMT+08  • 15 min read
Evolving into a Covid-resilient society
And yes, there will be times the government may need to reverse certain decisions.
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What the world has gone through in the last 18 months is unprecedented in our lifetime. We were totally unprepared for a pandemic of such a global scale and most of us would never have imagined that wholesale lockdowns of entire countries, especially in the Western world, could ever be implemented. But we had to make the tough choice between lives and livelihoods. Humanity endured and learnt to live with the coronavirus — by working remotely, quickly onboarding all forms of transactions, limiting socialising, masking up and maintaining physical distance and so on. Now, it is time we take everything learnt so far and evolve one step further, into a Covid-resilient society. Why?

There is much that we still do not understand of the Covid-19 virus, which is actively mutating into variants as we speak — some with similar characteristics to the original strain and others with larger and larger differences. History tells us that eradication of any virus is very, very rare. Indeed, epidemiologists now believe that Covid-19 will become an endemic disease, where it will persist globally but at “expected or normal levels”.

What this means is that all future intervention measures, to slow the spread of new outbreaks (which will very likely happen) and manage the effects, must be sustainable. For instance, large-scale lockdowns, or even partial ones, are not sustainable. There is no life without livelihood for most people. And yes, there will be times the government may need to reverse certain decisions. Most people have criticised past flip-flops as a fault, and perhaps many are. But we cannot be fixated with this mindset. We must allow for flexibility in policies-mandates because the reality is that no one knows how the virus will mutate in the future. It is constantly evolving; additional data (as and when it becomes available) will provide new information; and strategies need to be flexible in response. To be able to quickly adapt to constant change is a strength. It is the basis of evolutionary theory and survival of the species.

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