We Should Adapt… Or Perish
The COVID-19 crisis is here. It’s evolving. There’s no escaping it. All we could do is to hope and pray (of course if you, like I do, believe in God) that this pandemic ends in the soonest possible time.
The world is being held hostage by the COVID-19. This deadly pathogen spares no one. Everybody in the world is affected, either directly or indirectly. Anybody could get infected – rich or poor, famous or unknown, young or old – at any given time.
Almost all social and economic activities are also paralyzed. Many countries in the world are in a lockdown. People are being asked (or are forced) to stay at home. Most of them could not go to work and socialize with friends.
Were we ready when this happened? The answer is obvious – NO. We have to admit that we were caught with our pants down. Governments are clueless as to how effectively they could deal with the pestilence. Even the progressive and powerful countries with the most advance technologies are seemingly helpless. Nobody has a plan in place to respond to this crisis. Not that nobody saw it coming. Bill Gates did. In a Ted talk in 2015 he warned that “the greatest risk of global catastrophe is not a nuclear war but an influenza epidemic.” Did the world leaders listen? You know the answer.
There were other warnings that were given about the possibility of another pandemic occurring. Vaclav Smil, a Canadian scientis, published in 2008 a book (“Global Catastrophes and Trends) to warn us about the likelikhood of another influenza pandemic in the next 50 years. about it.
There were other books written warning about flu pandemics – “Flu Hunter: Unlocking the Secrets of a Virus” (Robert G. Webster) and “Deadliest Enemy” Our War Against Killer Germs” (Michael Osterholm). Apparently, nobody paid attention.
But we should no longer be playing the “blame game.” Set aside also for the meantime those conspiracy theories as to where the virus really originated, whether it is manufactured in the lab or is it natural, and what have you. What we need are solutions to the many problems we are facing as a result of the pandemic. As we wait for our scientists and medical experts who are racing against time to find a cure and to develop a vaccine, we have to move on. The last time I checked, the world has not stop spinning. It’s now springtime (here in South Korea as I write this). Summer will follow, then fall, and I am sure winter comes next. We have to continue living.
Notwithstanding COVID-19, life goes on. And as Robert Frost said, “the way out is always through.” We have to embrace the new reality painted by the deadly virus. We need to contend with all the changes that emerged because of the pandemic. We have no choice but to ADAPT. If we won’t, we perish.
Yes, adaption is the name of the game. This brings us back to what Charles Darwin once said, “Species with useful adaptations to the environment are more likely to survive.”
Humans have always been the apex predator. Then came COVID-19. These microbes predate on us and suddenly we are made to play an unfamiliar role – that of the prey. Much to our chagrin – we have become the game of these microscopic parasites. We are being hunted. These little monsters are targeting our lungs. And it’s not like a lion coming out of the bush that at least we have a window of opportunity to either stand our ground and fight or run for our safety. It’s like a traitorous bullet from a sniper hidden somewhere and you’ll just know you got hit when you start bleeding and could be seconds away from death.
But our scientists and medical experts have been learning a lot about the novel coronavirus. Humans are making a stand. We ought to fight and not just fall one after the other like helpless dominoes. The tables will certainly be turned, we just don’t know when and how soon. For the meantime, we are given a very important tool that would enable us, not to fight, not just yet anyway, but to avoid or move around our invisible predators – information. It’s all we have at this point. As of yet, there is no cure, there is no vaccine. Information – knowledge about these deadly microscopic parasites – is all we’ve got
The information gathered so far about the COVID-19, are key in the battle against the virus. All the data gathered are currently being synthesized by experts to come out with a treatment and to develop the vaccine. Leaders of different countries responded to these accumulated knowledge by formulating and implementing guidelines and policies. These guidelines and policies, in turn, resulted to the necessary changes in the way we now conduct our social and economic activities. All we need to do, for our own sake, is to adapt to all these changes.
This is the writing on the wall that everybody ought to have paid attention to – “Adapt… or perish.”
There are three cardinal rules that we ought to be following as religiously as we could – wash your hands frequently, wear mask when venturing out of our homes, and strictly observe social distancing. These guidelines were created by authorities in the field of epidemiology – people who know what they are saying. These very basic rules are not just opinions, they are assertions backed by research and science.
Are these rules difficult to follow? Most of us would probably say no. But there are some people who value so much their freedom to do as they please. There are some countries whose COVID-19 problems have gone awry where the citizens, and to some degree their governments as well, have initially considered following these basic rules as useless. The question they need to grapple with now and in the future is how have their refusal to wear mask and observe social distancing in the early stages of the spread of the virus in their respective countries/places contributed to the spike of COVID-19 infections and deaths a week or so later? Is it a case of people not adapting and therefore they perished? Is it a case of the government failing to adapt and therefore their citizens perished?
We know that countries need to resume with their economic activities or risk recession. But it is not a choice between asking people to stay home and wreck the economy or allowing them to go out to save the economy but giving the virus an opportunity to kill more people. It is a matter of learning to adapt to a social and economic environment where the threat of COVID-19 is present.
This is where the intelligence and creativity of human beings could come to the fore. How can we continue doing what we are supposed to be doing on a daily basis despite COVID-19 hanging like Damocles sword over our heads.
There are ways to do it. Some companies, for example, are already implementing “work-at home” schemes. There are schools in some parts of the world that have reopened opting to teach their students online. Leaders of different religions carry out their worship services online also. Nowadays, people order their foods and basic necessities online too. These are all in keeping with the policy of “social distancing” for indeed, it is so risky to gather people together.
There are times when the pursuit of our liberties bring us to perdition. Sometimes people are just too proud to surrender their basic freedom even if doing so means preserving the most significant of all human rights – the right to live.
We have to learn to adapt to the way the COVID-19 reconfigured the established systems we got accustomed to. We need to embrace all the changes resulting from the onslaught of the pandemic. Both individuals and organizations need to find innovative ways to deal with transformations created by the virus.
When the COVID-19 smoke dissipates, the men and women who would remain standing are the fittest and those who learned to adapt.