The year 2020 started with all the usual hopes and possibilities, but a catastrophic disaster known as COVID-19 suddenly appeared. Not since World War II has the whole world been this terrified. No one could have imagined the on-going social, political, and economic effects of this coronavirus.
Almost every country went on lockdown to prevent the spread of infection. With more than six million deaths and 487 million cases worldwide, COVID-19 has not been eradicated. No one can say when or if the world will be free of this virus. It has taken on different forms, resulting in stagnant economic activity, and closing geographical boundaries.
We must ensure universal and equal healthcare for everyone. The virus does not discriminate between rich or poor. As social beings, all classes of humans will interact with each other. Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen says, “Poverty is not the only problem for the poor. This is also a problem for rich people.”
His words are equally applicable to this COVID-19 crisis. Because we are all directly or indirectly related to each other as social beings, all humans connected to each other. As we have discovered, one country is dependent on another in many ways.
If we want to strengthen the healthcare system, we must increase the allocation of money and reduce corruption.
The media can also be used to help prevent infections and health awareness. Even during this pandemic, the media continues to publish and disseminate news around the world. We must raise public awareness against all misconceptions about this coronavirus.
Implementing social security and inclusive economic plans are crucial to coping with the COVID-19 crisis. Social security needs to be strong and universal. Countries need to think about guaranteeing universal income or providing financial assistance to low-income families. Schools need to be kept afloat and IT capabilities need to be enhanced to work from home.
The worst-case scenario is that famines – especially those in poorer countries, which have generally poor governance, corruption, poverty, and poor health care – are more likely to be affected. The United Nations has recently warned of famine. Adequate food supplies need to be addressed now while long-term measures are considered.
Sen’s study of the 1974 famine in Bangladesh found that food production did not decline during the famine. People simply lacked the ability to purchase food. For this reason, special measures must be taken to control the market and supply chain. Governments may seek the advice of food security experts to guide their policies and programs. Developed countries need to extend a helping hand because it is difficult for any country to handle famine alone.
There has been a tendency to view COVID-19 as a temporary crisis. In 2021, this idea has been proven wrong. Management deficits and lack of coordination have taken a definite shape. For these reasons, we have not been able to reach the desired goals for vaccination.
There is a continued lack of understanding and awareness about vaccination and wearing masks. We have not been able to highlight the importance of wearing a mask or getting vaccinated all along. The crisis of confidence remains, there is no stability. We must overcome these shortcomings.
We are in the midst of a short-term thinking about keeping the economy afloat. It is not possible to keep the economy afloat by keeping pandemic management as an adjunct agenda. Some things are happening incoherently, and some are simply failing.
We don’t know when we’ll see the end of this pandemic. One thing is clear, it is not possible to implement something successful in the face of uncertainty. The economy cannot be mobilized.
Pandemic management needs to be brought to the center of political importance. Economic recovery will not be successful if we neglect it as a politically minor responsibility. Global experience suggests those who were successful were also economically successful. Many countries have ensured rapid economic recovery by controlling the virus.
Last year, the pressure was mainly on the urban economy. The rural economy has acted as a kind of bulwark. Economic deficits are no longer confined to the city. A long-term crisis has been created in economies such as education and human resources. As a result, we may be stuck in a cheap labor production strategy for the next five years. Moving to skilled labor is the main tool for the transition of middle-income countries. If we do not pay attention to the impact on human resources during the pandemic, it will have a very negative impact on the economy. For pandemic management to be successful, it is necessary to consider these aspects and not just take a well thought out strategy but also bring it to the center of political attention. Then maybe the management will see the face of success.