😓Covid-19 The LIFE after lockdown 😓

What will life be like when India and the rest of the world lift the lockdown completely? Will life as we knew it before Covid-19 return? Well, with the extension of the nation-wide lockdown for another two weeks, albeit with significant relaxations, we will have to wait for some more time to find out.

We have had a lockdown for nearly six weeks now. The Karnataka government has partially lifted the lockdown since last week, allowing IT and IT-enabled services, among others, to operate with minimum staff, while the rest would still work from home. “To mitigate hardship to the public, select additional activities have been allowed, which will come into effect from 00:00 hours of April 23,” said Karnataka government’s Chief Secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar.

This does not mean life goes back to normal – the companies have to make all the preparatory arrangements to maintain social distancing in the offices. However, the insane traffic jams in Bengaluru city, since last Friday, tell us that people probably think that the danger of Covid-19 is already past.

We have no reliable data to tell us when the pandemic will end. The new normal of social distancing, masks, gloves and washing of our hands is here to stay. Even if all restrictions are lifted, until a vaccine is found, we have to remember that the virus is still among us.

If photographs from China showing huge crowds at all tourist places, as soon as the country lifted the lockdown, are any indication, it’s not going to be any different in India. There are news reports of a second wave of the coronavirus in China and lockdown measures have been put in place in many regions.

So, unless we continue to follow social distancing norms, we are going to see a spurt in cases in India. Do expect identification of hotspots to continue and cluster shutdowns. There will probably also be temperature sensors at public places and quarantine measures will be put in place if an infection is detected in a workplace. Middle seats won’t be sold in flights; every other seat will be empty in theatres – perhaps forcing the managements to hike ticket prices.

One good thing that may come out of lifting the lockdown partially is that migrant labour and house maids may be able to go back to work, but whether factory workers in the non-essential sectors would be able to go back soon is still an open question.

Lockdown lessons

When humans went into a lockdown, the earth quietly went about reclaiming itself. On the 50th anniversary of the World Earth Day on April 22 this year, the World Health Organisation Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “Covid-19 is reminding us of a simple but vital truth: we are one species, sharing one planet.”

The lockdown may have made us insular, but it also brought the world closer. We adapted to our forced new life in lockdown fairly quickly. We went digital and took to technology, reaching out to the community outside our insular lives. Young working couples adapted to ‘Work From Home’ (WFH), home-schooled their children, and used video-conferencing for work calls and family socials. Online streaming platforms were our saviours when it came to entertainment – offering us a range of options.

And while we stayed locked inside our homes, the birds came back to our gardens, the air became cleaner and the sky clearer. The smog in most of our cities lifted, with no vehicles to spew toxic gases. For instance, the Air Quality Index (AQI) for Bengaluru City Railway Station on April 23 was in the green zone, 47 (good) in the index, according to the AQICN.org website. But with the partial opening up and rising traffic, it took only two days for the AQI reading to spike up to the yellow zone, 60 (moderate) on the index on April 25.

Reuters posted ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures of major cities — from the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy to high rise buildings in Jakarta to the India Gate war memorial in New Delhi — to show how the lockdown had reduced air pollution drastically.

We also learnt to live simple lives and concentrate on what mattered. In India, with no maids to help us run our homes, we learned to keep our homes clean and cook healthy meals for our families. With no way to visit a supermarket, we learned to manage with the essential products available in the local kirana shop.

The lockdown showed us that less is more.

In an interview with Stephen Colbert on the Late Show, on Earth Day, award winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore said, “Look, nature’s given us this warning…It’s putting us right now in our time-out room. And we should be using this time to think, when we come out of this, how we’re going to treat this planet, how we’re going to treat nature.”

And post-lockdown, mindful of the fact that the virus is still among us, we should work on crafting a simpler, yet fulfilling way of life that promises a fair and equitable future for all. We are all in this together, for the virus cares nothing about race, caste, class or borders.

Never has it become more necessary to do this — to give time for humanity and the earth to heal.A look at how life would be post-lockdown.India must, as the lockdown is gradually lifted, quickly establish export-oriented manufacturing capabilities. A once-in-a-century pandemic can create a rare opWhichever scenario the pandemic follows (assuming at least some level of ongoing mitigation measures), we must be prepared for at least another 18 to 24 months of significant COVID-19 activity, with hot spots popping up periodically in diverse geographic areas,” the researchers said. “As the pandemic wanes, it is likely that SARS-CoV-2 will continue to circulate in the human population and will synchronize to a seasonal pattern with diminished severity over time.”Support our journalism by subscribingportunity. It is India’s to seize