PERSPECTIVES SHIFTS THE CORONAVIRUS HAS CAUSED 

The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has exposed so many flaws in our society, in our processes, in our systems and ourselves. The flaws are not new, yet we chose to deliberately ignore them. The problem of poverty is not something new, neither is the lack of infrastructure nor the fact that meagre salaries for essential personnel are paid to push profits to the limits, personnel that are now asked to give their lives to save as many people as possible.

Our society is already collapsing while we try to keep ourselves distracted with countless hours of entertainment. Our old folks are ill, our young are depressed, our government is corrupt, and we are just sitting here pondering it all.

The Kenyan Government and Politicians 

Kenyans expect a sense of security, transparency and direction from the government. Hospitals need help, the private sector is in lockdown not knowing how to support their employees without commercial activity and the population is confused, anxious and scared. Everyone is looking towards the leadership of the country for direction only to hit a dead end. It’s time for our politicians to earn their pay and they’re failing us.

This crisis will pass, but the impact the decisions of the government will make will be long term. Kenyans are finally seeing who they put in charge and we are all hoping come 2022 they’ll be just as silent as they are now. No political party has come forward to donate free masks or relief food for the less fortunate, we hope they keep the same energy during the campaign season. We won’t need your caps and T-shirts, thank you in advance!

Pastors and preachers, where are you now? 

It’s all fun and games when everything is working as it should and we are safe, then a calamity strikes. In times like these, the pretenders are quiet, while those who can truly solve this go to work. It’s easy to play the part of a mystical being when your powers work in mysterious ways, but today these healers have the opportunity to prove themselves, why are they all quiet? There is no positive thing coming out of churches, even worse, they’re one of the main hubs of spreading the infection. In times of crisis, we return to our core principles, to physics, to chemistry, to science that’s tested and true no matter what.

The Lack of Empathy

In that the younger segment of the population is displaying right now towards the most vulnerable segment is simply put, disgusting. The youth are still holding house parties, going to Tigoni tea plantation for drinking sprees while not observing social distancing rules and hiring ambulances to attend parties during the government-imposed curfew. The underlying issue here is the human disconnect which is in full swing in the middle of this pandemic. We have lost the notion of a community as everyone is thinking in terms of ‘me’ instead of ‘we’.

Ironically, it’s in times like these when everybody is overprotecting and trying to secure the little they have, that the rich come out to play. These are the times when the rich get richer by taking advantage of the drops in the marketplace and getting discounts on stocks that are going to make them fortunes in the future.

Not only do the rich have access to private testing, but their isolation needs against infection are also covered. Poor people are the most impacted by this epidemic and obviously, the gap between social classes will widen even further.

The lack of understanding of numbers.

You’ve probably heard someone saying things like “The flu kills 50,000 people every year, corona kills a couple of thousands” or “Car accidents kill more people, but you don’t see us banning cars.” If you lack a basic education these arguments may sound legitimate to you.

Here’s why you need to understand numbers. The number of people who die because of the flu is linear. The mortality rate for the flu is at 0.1% if you get the flu, 1 in every 1000 people will die. The coronavirus mortality rate of the infected population is around 3-5% right now. At 3% it’s 30 times deadlier than the flu. But the numbers don’t stop there. The coronavirus has an additional dimension to the number of its victims, how easily it spreads. Without social distancing, the virus spread is exponential. Left unchecked the entire world population could get this virus before the end of the year.

Shifts in Business and Consumer Behavior

The coronavirus is shaking up business and consumer behaviour on a massive scale. Both public and private sectors are scrambling to slow the spread of the illness and contain infections. While the full economic consequences are still unclear, we know that the effects that the virus and the drastic measures being taken to contain it are already precipitating change across industries. Digital marketing, video conferencing and digital payment platforms are offering alternatives to help limit fallout from social distancing regulations. We are seeing a rise in digital payments, online shopping, video conferencing in line with government directives.

Presta Capital, for instance, is encouraging the use of mobile lending by giving a three-month trial to SACCOs and MFIs. Hence adapting to the social distancing rules and adopting cashless payments and disbursements. All the major supermarkets have adopted online shopping portals to encourage Kenyans to stay home while schools have shifted to e-learning portals to keep up with coursework. It’s worth noting that changes in online shopping habits may be particularly prevalent among older customers the group most susceptible to the coronavirus and most likely to avoid stores because of it, but least likely to shop online.

A shift toward online shopping among this population could provide a short-term boost for sellers. However, payments companies are anticipating an overall downturn in business as consumer spending falls which is the likely reason why firms like PayPal, Mastercard and Visa have revised revenue estimates downward.

Introspection

The Coronavirus has put a mirror in front of all of us in a unique scenario when we’re alone. The thing about tragedies of any kind is that they force you to rethink your life. Although the pandemic says a lot about our society and our leaders, it says a great deal about ourselves too.

With the extra time you have on your hands, take the time to re-evaluate some things, to focus on yourself and ask yourself the difficult questions you’ve been postponing, face your reality and try to be better than you previously were. Are you happy? Who is there for you and who are you there for? When all of this is over what do you want your life to be? Who are you when no one is looking?

The thing about exposing the fragility of the world is that they shine a light on what you have to fix and some of it begins with you!

What has the Coronavirus pandemic taught you?