Friday, 20 March 2020
How to beat Covid-19 by acting as a united community and being an example to the world #StrongerTogether.
In this time of uncertainty, the concept of looking after one’s own perceived needs at the expense of others is acutely highlighted. The world is in suspense with regulations relating to curbing the spread of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) resulting in widespread panic shopping and vendors taking advantage of their ability to provide perceived essentials at exorbitantly escalated prices.
I draw the comparison of lanes merging on a highway with congested traffic. Most drivers adhere to the rules by merging at the designated point and remaining in the demarcated lane. A few individuals use the emergency lane to pass those waiting and force their way into the traffic flow as close as possible to the point of congestion. Where the lanes merge, most drivers allow space for the other traffic to merge, while a few drivers close the gap to ensure that no-one fits in between them and the car ahead.
What the drivers who attempt to bypass the traffic or stop others from merging in do not realize, is that their very actions are making the situation as a whole worse. By by-passing the stoppage and fitting in close to the front, it forces other vehicles to have to stop and wait longer to get through the congestion point, thus worsening the congestion, and by not allowing an orderly merge, the traffic attempting to merge must stop and be held up to wait for another gap later on.
I use this example to highlight a situation that is common in most spheres of life. If we act purely in our own interests, at the expense of others, society as a whole suffers and we end up worse off. If we act together in a common interest, and focus our efforts on uplifting others, society as a whole benefits and we all end up better off.
The Coronavirus Pandemic provides and acute example of this principle. As an over simplified example:
The entire economy is under strain, yet greedy vendors appeal to the sense of panic and escalate hand sanitizer prices to make a quick buck. Those that can’t afford the high prices don’t sanitize and are more susceptible to the virus. The rate of infection increases unnecessarily further increasing the strain on the economy and more businesses close, more people can’t afford to sanitize and the cycle continues. Eventually the vendor contracts the virus because too many people who have been exposed visited his store. The store has to close, the staff lose their jobs and family members with compromised immune systems succumb to the disease. Everybody loses.
Equally, if prices are controlled and consumers panic buy all available stock, it still leaves other people without the resources to prevent the spread of the virus, again increasing the rate of infection so that in the end, everybody loses.
We need to work very carefully together to fight this pandemic. We must take personal responsibility for ensuring that we avoid contracting and spreading the virus and assist others in ensuring that they are able to do the same.
When provisioning for potential isolation, buy enough for yourself and your family, avoid overstocking or clearing out the shelves. If you buy more than you need, you are creating the problem you are attempting to prepare for.
As with all situations in life, opportunities present themselves. The challenge is to respond to the opportunity in a way that benefits the most people, rather than in a way that benefits a few people at the expense of others.
As a country, if we can limit the negative effect of this pandemic by minimizing potential exposure and opportunities for transmission, we can provide guidance and assistance to other countries on how to best manage and mitigate the risks. In order to do this, we must make optimum use of our resources and be as proactive as possible. We could still show the world that we are leaders if we as individuals work together towards the common goal of overcoming this Pandemic. As we showed in the Rugby World Cup we are #StrongerTogether