As the news of virus outbreak in a province of China spreads, businesses think that it is a local problem which does not really affect “us”.
World leaders are busy with their “Business As Usual” – deciding the Oil Prices and signing peace treaties, without a clue that the world is about to experience a change which she has not experienced since the World War II.
WHO is caught completely off guard. A system can perform only when it has access to right information at the right time. Especially when it’s dealing with scientific and statistical data.
In absence of a complete Travel Ban directive from WHO, the migratory workforce keep on spreading the contagion worldwide. As news of local contagion spreads across other countries, businesses decide to shield its workforce and asks them to work from home. Most businesses find that their Business Continuity Plan could survive a nuclear war but is underprepared when its employees cannot go out to buy their daily bread from the local store. Meanwhile the Governments across the world are paralysed at the economic cost of locking down the vectors of this contagion – transportation. As the death count rises, it also exposes the inadequacy of health infrastructure against a kink in demand for health care service.
In the next 3-6 months, the world will undoubtedly be under a recession. But this recession, is going to be different from recessions which we have experienced in the past. Often recessions are associated with a psychological trauma in the public mind. Like the breach of a trust – seen during the Subprime Mortgage Crisis of 2008, or, a war, famine caused by natural disaster. The current disaster is outcome of human mismanagement – to the best of my belief based on information available so far. While it can be argued that Subprime Crisis can be attributed to the same cause, but Covid-19 has not been designed on a flawed financial model over the years. Covid-19 erupted as a spark and took the shape of a wildfire while no one noticed it. By the time it will be contained, the macroeconomic fundamentals would remain same as it was before it hit us. Logistically the world would be at a backlog of 3 months, but it does not mean that world will reboot and start from zero. The day the factories restart production, the assembly line will start where it was stopped before lock-down. It wont take more than a couple of weeks to reach full production capacity. Transportation or logistics could take some time to reach the peak rate, but speed up when adequate safeguard mechanisms for scanning or sanitising goods and people are published.
A new World order is expected. This lockdown has shown to the world that life can be made more simple than anyone could have imagined before. This disaster has been a great leveller – unlike the previous crises it has not been selective of nations, societies, classes or masses. It has forced everyone to think about the basic needs – physiological, safety and love and belonging. This psychological scar is going to be there in the minds of at least two generations. The insecurity brought in the minds of business will lead to local manufacture, instead of depending on factories 5000 miles away. Consumers shall be more responsible and grow out of addiction from items which they could not think of prior to this crisis. Local Manufacturing shall be the new buzzword for businesses.
Digital Workforce, yes that’s the future. Especially in industries which are highly contact oriented. First one to undergo a change in the health care industry. Why put doctors and health workers at risk, when more than 50% of the procedures can be done in a contactless way? This crisis is teaching us a lesson how inefficient our healthcare system is. Make no mistake, this is not a criticism of the efficiency of our healthcare workforce. It is a criticism of how little our health care system has progressed since the proliferation of the internet in the last two decades. Now is the time for a paradigm shift – a contactless or contact minimised pre-diagnostic stage. One should be able to walk-in to an Automated Diagnosis Machine, just like a neighbourhood ATM and self submit samples or symptoms. If needed, it can be followed by a Video Consultation with the Medical Professional. Only when the medical practitioner identifies any abnormalities the individual would be required to visit for a physical consultation. This process shall reduce the burden on the health care infrastructure and keep the most precious resources – the medical staff safe and secure. Now coming to the other significant benefit – “Medical Data”. Medical data – duly anonymised should be openly available across boundaries of countries and organisations. Only with right data at the right time, the human race can survive against another pandemic like Covid-19. This can set the standards for lot of other industries – like Travel and Hospitality.
Namaste to a New World