The 2020 will be a year that we will remember, that is guaranteed. The COVID-19 pandemic affected all of us; it was not a problem of a single class or a single country. It has changed our way to communicate, to work, to meet, to dress.
Despite all the victims, the economic and social crisis and all the collateral damages, 2020 has taught has 5 important lessons that might help us to shape the future world.
Lesson n.1 We are all living on the same planet.
At the begging of the year, the COVID-19 outbreak hit China, and in particular Wuhan region. At that point, the rest of the world was almost ignoring the disease, like it was a “Chinese problem”. At the end, it was not. Despite we want to accept it or not, all the problems are more and more affecting all of us. Climate change, the fight against hunger and civil right, and other similar problems are “world problems” and as such must be tackled. For example, it is not enough to make one single city or country to “zero emissions” while other continents are increasing their pollution significantly. We must act as a planet, not as a single cities or countries.
Lesson n.2 Some jobs are necessary, some other can be done “smartly”
When the time of “stay home” came, only few jobs continued functioning. Those crucial workers, like nurses, doctors, farmer/food producers, and so on, have maintained the society alive. We have learned that, despite they are not the most payed or respected, they are still the most important, since they provide us food and cures. On the other hand, we also learned that some other jobs can be perfectly done remotely, from home or wherever we please. Maybe we could have realized that even without a pandemic.
Lesson n.3 Internet cannot replace social interactions.
Nowadays, more than ever, it is easy to connect with anyone. We have video called several friends, followed the Instagram stories of celebrities, chatted and discussed with strangers. We have never been so connected, and yet we all felt lonely. Thus, the quarantines lead to a limited “real social life”, that caused an increment in depression and mental issues in our societies. We have learned the importance of real-life connections and interactions. Things like a coffee with colleague, a drink with some friends, a family dinner cannot be changed with video call or a WhatsApp chat.
Lesson n.4 Disasters affects as all, but differently.
I know, the first lesson was that we are all on one single planet, and we all got affected somehow by the pandemic. However, COVID-19 damaged people differently, depending on their social class, country, job and family situation. For example, workers with children had to find the time and resources to be able to both work from home and to look after their babies (that were not allowed to go to any kind of schools). Restaurants and pubs owner had basically to stop their activities, and their income. People living in difficult situation, like an extremely small house, or with someone they are not getting along anymore, had hard time for staying home. The point is that it is less hard to “just stay home”, when you got a luxurious villa, without any money related problem. We must learn that what it looks like an easy task to follow, for someone, can be extremely difficult for someone else.
Lesson n.5 Anything can be achieved with the right motivation.
After COVID-19 has started, we have immediately changed the way to work (smart/tele working). We have changed the way to teach, with video lessons and exams. We have adapted some production factories in order to produce face masks, COVID-19 tests. Most importantly, in less than a year we have developed a vaccine for a virus we didn’t know the existence until last few months ago. This shows the resilience of humans, their ability to adapt and to achieve the impossible, if they have the right motivations.
Of course, I am not saying this year left us good things. Not at all. This will not change.
What we can change, maybe, in this extremely sad year, is to learn something useful and use it to avoid similar tragedies in the future.