Recent news reports published a quote by Sir John Bell, an Oxford University professor of immunology, who said that the coronavirus might be with us forever and was not going away any time soon.
Sir John also said that the coronavirus vaccine was unlikely to have a long-lasting effect, suggesting that we would need to constantly develop new vaccinations as the disease evolves. Now if this did not shock you, let me continue with the example he gave to demonstrate his point. His example was polio and how for more than 15 years an eradication program had been trying to eliminate the disease but that it was still here.
I must admit as time is passing with this pandemic, I am slowly accepting Sir John’s medical opinion that COVID-19 is here to stay. I have come to accept that the responsibility is on us to take precautions in our everyday life from now on. I have accepted that all these precautions and strict cleanness and disinfection is not temporarily; rather, it is our new way of living.
Restaurants have had to follow strict rules and guidelines to stay open. Schools have to disinfect daily to ensure that there is no spread of the virus as well as limit the number of students in each class to ensure social distancing.
The work environment has to change to accommodate only necessary workers in the office while everyone else can work from home. Employees can now live much farther from the office, which might save them money on rental. There will be less traffic on the streets as fewer people have to commute to work. This will help us in getting the pollution rate down and ensure better air quality. Perhaps we won’t need to think about exploring Mars as Earth will be able to sustain us as we are taking better care of it.
Technology will be heavily relied on and it will be our main focus for development. Tech startups will be in demand and highly sought after by investors as they will lead the future as we rely on technology even more than we thought we would.
Personally, I am waiting for startups to develop face-mask technology with gadgets and apps connected to it. This is highly needed, especially there is a need for see-through masks as it impossible for deaf people to lip-read with traditional face masks.
Having said all of that, I am beginning to like this cleanliness that we are adapting. I like cleaning our hands constantly to eliminate the spread of any virus. By the way, what ever happened to the common cold and flu virus that we used to suffer from yearly if not twice a year or more? Has our cleanliness protected us from other viruses? The common cold and flu have killed many elderly people and, in some cases, led to pneumonia that meant sufferers had to be hospitalized. A couple of years ago, my son, who was 4 years old at the time, developed pneumonia and had to stay in hospital for 10 days.
This virus has been confusing for people and organizations about what to do and what not to do. But, to be fair, this is a new situation and therefore we will have to experiment until we are able to better understand this virus that has taken us by surprise.
Dr. Taghreed Al-Saraj is a best-selling Saudi author, an international public speaker and an entrepreneurship mentor.