BRACING FOR A ‘NEW NORMAL’
Like in the past, we expect that eventually, we will emerge from the current crisis wrought across nations by the coronavirus disease-2019. The process, however, will be long, challenging, and arduous one, even for the most technologically-advanced countries and especially for struggling countries like the Philippines. Unless and until a proven cure turns up, which is the only way to fully contain the Covid-19, communities must continue living under a state of precautions and adjusted conditions, a ‘new normal’ that may have to stay, post-pandemic and beyond.
In the country, health authorities have noted signs of flattening of the curve, or the slowing down of doubling of positive Covid-19 cases, and so the most alarming thing that could happen at this point is for us to slacken the defenses that we have established over the past two months against the disease. The virus is still raging and on the prowl; any opportunity for it to spread further by letting our guards down will annihilate all our efforts and lead us back to square one with our hands doubly full.
Besides, the slowing down of the infection rate and our aim of achieving zero case must all the more be reasons for us to start working on fixing what are lacking in our previous health practices and establishing long-term health care systems as defense lines against the Covid-19 and other infectious diseases.
As local government units placed under the enhanced community quarantine prepare to regain a semblance of normalcy in sectors allowed by the national government, decision-makers should bear in mind that the shift back to the ‘new normal’ should be done gradually. We suggest taking into consideration working with the concerned public and private sectors in coming up with adjustments with which the public could adapt for the long run. Plans of action to recover the losses caused by disrupted operations should be well-thought of and coordinated, not just mere band-aid solutions that would lead to recurrence of old problems as we tackle the current crisis.
It would be difficult, and the process would at times seem like a hopeless battle if we think about new arrangements in government transactions, work, transportation, market days, livelihoods, businesses, classes, banking, among others and non-essentials that we used to do for quality life.
The process also will never be without the pasaways and there would be concerns like irregularities on assistance efforts or doubts on our leaders’ claims of “being on top of the situation.” But it can be done, if we put our minds into it.
Embracing the ‘new normal’ is an opportunity for us to make innovations on both minute details and major necessities of survival and in the maintenance of systematic societies. In many aspects, we have never had a lack of bright ideas and excellent workers and professionals. If we are to prevail over Covid-19, now more than ever is the time to flex our might by working together and setting aside selfish interests.
The war on Covid-19 – which we should claim as one that we will be winning over – is giving Filipinos the chance to write in the pages of history how we are managing this rare crisis through our world-renowned resilience, our spirit of bayanihan, and modern-day heroes from among our legions of back and frontliners – from the health workers, police and allied forces, and to those who simply become a hero by staying at home and following the lockdown rules.
With the ‘new normal’ having forced upon us by the pandemic, let us get motivated by what we have and what we can do, which we have taken for granted before because it was easier to be complacent. The Covid-19 may have reshaped the world and the way we live, but we must keep up. No virus should ever topple a human race, it should make us better.