For decades, globalisation has been narrowing the scope of national sovereignty.
CoViD-19 threatens to become one of the most difficult tests faced by humanity in modern history. Perhaps there shall be not so many deaths as at the time of the Spanish flu, but this time the economic impact is going to be much greater and has made people more agitated. As the pandemic has spread it has taken lives, stirred anxiety and political drama, overwhelmed health systems, and triggered potentially lasting geopolitical change.
The International Monetary Fund says the global economy now faces its worst downturn since the Great Depression, and Oxfam International has warned that half a billion people could be pushed into poverty as a result of the unfolding crisis. The world’s most vulnerable places are at stake. The most vulnerable, poorest and greatest-at-risk populations are the ones the richer countries should take care of and support, making sure that those places shall not become politically destabilised even more than they are often already.
Water, sanitation and hygiene are vital for any attempts to manage the rate of inevitable infections and have been areas of the core work of many health organisations for decades.
Today the tally of CoViD-19 deaths has surpassed 100,000 in Brazil ― the second country in the world to do so after the United States of America ― with many of these deaths avoidable but for the Brazilian government’s inefficient and disoriented response to the pandemic. The same as in the United States the current government has failed in following World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations to contain the spread of the coronavirus, including good hygiene practices and social distancing. The government has not delivered the necessary complementary measures of ensuring that its most vulnerable citizens also had access to water, food and other essential resources for self-care.
There has been no Minister of Health since May and no nationwide coordination to support marginalized people, indigenous people, and other traditional communities such as the Afro-Brazilian Quilombo. This results in the tragic numbers of 100,000 deaths and almost 3 million contaminated that Brazil reached today.
“We cannot accept the government’s failure to respond to the pandemic. Many government actions could have been taken to avoid the numbers we are reaching today. The Public Prosecutor’s Office must carry out the necessary investigation,”
said Teresa Liporace, Executive Director of IDEC.
In a war-torn Syria, it is even worse for people who become infected, because most of the hospitals do not exist anymore. Even before coronavirus hit, four out of five Syrians lived below the poverty line. For millions, the almost decade-long war has been a time of fear, confusion and huge loss; of livelihoods and belongings, homes and family members and, for too many, the loss of dreams. Now, the coronavirus has brought a double humanitarian crisis to their country, bringing even greater challenges to people’s lives and pushing them into extreme survival measures. The coronavirus crisis itself is no more dangerous than any other challenge the people here have had to endure, but its economic repercussions could prove disastrous.
After half a year of the corona crisis, most people are convinced this CoViD-19 pandemic will have a permanent impact on the way we approach work and how we shall consume in the future. With continued physical distancing to prevent the spread of the disease, businesses are adapting quickly to ensure continuity of operations. One advantage might be that more companies shall come to try to have the work done at home of their employees, which shall save them logistic costs, but bring the costs for heating and water for the employees to their bill except when a solution is found to compensate that. For the traffic congestion, air and carbon pollution, it will a much better solution to have fewer people having to go on the road to go to work.
It is vital to build a foundation for business continuity and to make sure the employed people feel valued but also protected enough.
In adapting their operations through remote connections, companies shall have to focus more on the human connection, taking into account the personal lives of all the individuals who comprise their multigenerational workforce. Regardless of age and life stage, most people are willing to go back to work and to have as soon as possible, life as normal. All want to continue to make a meaningful contribution and technology is helping light the way. The last few months we have seen the increase of electronic tools and better communication tools for work via the internet.
Business leaders, in this period of great uncertainty, must consider new ways to ensure business continuity and organisational resilience. A multigenerational workforce, with four or five generations working alongside each other — if not physically, then virtually — helps to meet these challenges.
Adapting policies and practices to meet employees’ needs across a spectrum of age and life-stages builds the workforce of the future. Age-diverse teams contribute to greater innovation. They can help address vital questions in dramatically new environments: how teams work together, how a supply chain is managed and how other essential operations are prioritised.
The stereotype of older workers as technophobes is wrong and counterproductive. Workers across the age span have proven to be adept at teleworking. This realisation will have lasting consequences and is something we should look forward to be something which shall not only stay but shall find imitation by many companies. At the same time, younger workers are more likely to be mentors in tech solutions, just as many older workers can share their institutional knowledge and experience.
Problem with the current situation is that in no particular country there is enough experience with this disease. There is no playbook on how to respond to CoViD-19 as the future of work changes before our eyes. The pandemic has, for example, hastened the adoption of remote working and other initiatives to engage and sustain the workforce. Because there is no such thorough knowledge of a solution, everybody should look for a co-operation over the boarders. More than ever, collaboration internally and externally will be vital to recovery.
In Europe, we shall have to take care nobody shall go for falling in the Trump trap. Several populists may follow his direction. Sensible people can only hope that thanks to Trump’s mishandling of the CoViD-19 pandemic and the economic crisis it unleashed, Republican and Trump-leaning independent voters would come to their senses. Though we should be very careful, not to hope beyond the stars that Trump has no chances to become re-elected, which would make the situation for the States and world-safety, even worse than it is already. Defiance of the establishment gave Trump credibility among Republican voters, who believed that mainstream politicians ignored their interests and many do not appreciate it that they become restricted in keeping their business open so that they can earn enough money (no matter more people shall become infected). Trump also uses the weapon of fear, making people afraid of the chaos which could erupt if his state troops do not bring order in the towns and silence the coloured people. As with illegal immigration, Trump has tried to tie peoples’ fear for their safety with broader anxiety about cultural change. For Trump illegal immigrants are for more dangerous than the “Chinese disease”. For him, all those immigrants wanting to come to the States are criminals and threats to traditional American values. Trump also portrays mayors and governors, who want to declare a lockdown or bring corona measures in their districts, as saboteurs of the country. Idem ditto are the protesters as rioters considered a threat to their Great Nation, the American culture and history. They are not just lobbing Molotov cocktails; they are tearing down America’s heroes. At the same time, Trump keeps telling lies one after the other, and doing as if he is taking care that ‘his America’ shall create soon the best vaccine ever. A lot of Americans seem not interested in Biden’s promises to improve health care, address racial injustices, build infrastructure, or repair America’s relationships with allies. They are worried about soaring crime rates, never-ending protests, and what they see as attacks from the left on traditional values and institutions. They trust Trump to tackle crime and believe his warning that “Sleepy Joe” will disregard their fears. We do know that far more people in the US have died as a result of Trump’s bungled CoViD-19 response than there have died from homicide in a typical year, but that is not what most Americans shall come to see or believe.
Financially Mexico is not better off than its neighbour. Mexicans had suffered the greatest financial impact, with 58% reporting that their finances had declined in the past month. Next in line were the Philippines and India, where 50% and more reported a drop.
Vietnam, which took drastic safety measures, showed itself as optimistic, their household finances having actually improved from the previous month.
Around the world, desperate efforts are underway to find a solution to soften the corona restrictions and to allow life to come back to normal, though most governments say the normal shall be another normal than before corona.
New ideas and bold solutions can surface from this disaster. Let’s continue to share promising practices that will work well in the current environment and beyond.