The meaning of the coronavirus pandemic
My memorable keywords of March are coronavirus or coronavirus-related topics. The virus is rapidly changing our life patterns. The way we meet, the way we work, the way we entertain, the way we love.
“Why does it happen?” Actually, epidemics have been happening all the time throughout history. That’s not the right question. The question should be “Epidemics has been happening all the time. Then, what have I prepared for it?”
Even when I was young, I heard many stories about epidemics sweeping the whole country throughout our history. When it happened, they burned the contaminated villages and quarantined the patients. The strong people survived and rearranged the community after the epidemic passed. It just happens every century.
While humanity evolves, viruses and germs also evolve. If we become lazy or spoiled much, then diseases break out and test us how well we’re managing our physical, mental and spiritual environment.
Humanity is the primary tenant of the earth. So, taking care of ourselves and the environment is our privilege and duty at the same time. We need to create a beautiful culture on earth. If we ignore our duty, then we will be tested.
This coronavirus pandemic is our test. How are we living on earth?
Our new culture after the pandemic
Whenever I saw the black and white photos taken in the 19th century, I was fascinated. ‘Wow, people lived like that back then.’
Well, a lot of scenes from today will be viewed in the same way by our future descendants. They will watch our YouTube videos and social media posting, and think “wow, people lived like that one hundred years ago!” Which scenes will look weird to the future people?
I’m sure that any cultures that cannot survive during this pandemic will disappear and they will look weird to our descendants.
I don’t want to mention details in this blog. It will sound very controversial. Every business, religion, and culture should change the way they’re doing in order to survive.
We will not do things just because we feel lonely. We won’t do things just because my pastor said so. People will seek real value. We will do only because we add more value to our life. Any obsolete ways will fade away from our life and remain only in history.
The United States is the final destination of the coronavirus.
‘Is the coronavirus targeting the US?’
I asked myself this question. When I saw how the government handled the situation, I had a feeling that COVID-19’s main target is the US.
The President took the perfect role. Even though the United States had 2 or 3 months to prepare ahead, the President only focused on downplaying the impact of COVID-19. He said, “One day it will disappear miraculously”.
He blocked the border from China and later from Europe. Yet, the virus wasn’t transmitted by Chinese or European people. It’s spread by US citizens coming from China and Europe. In Korea’s case, very few cases were transmitted by Chinese people. Most cases were spread by Korean people coming from China.
The most critical moment of spreading COVID-19
The most critical moment was when he announced to ban all travels from Europe. His confusing announcement shocked the US citizens who visited or traveled to Europe. They thought they would be locked in Europe, so some people had to purchase the return ticket at $20,000 to return the next day.
The problem was that the US didn’t prepare to accommodate people returning from Europe. When they came back, they didn’t just come by themselves. They brought the virus with them. Even though just a few people carried the virus, while they’re waiting in the long lines at the airport for 6 – 8 hours, they spread the virus to other travelers and airport workers. I don’t know how the airports screened them without testing kits.
The period of the two weeks after banning travels from Europe was when the virus spread freely without any resistance.
Soon after they came back, people -especially in NY- started to experience symptoms but they couldn’t take a proper test for a week due to the lack of testing kits. Even though they took the test, they had to wait several days to get the results. They already returned to their everyday life and started to spread the virus as meeting people. The period of the two weeks after banning travels from Europe was when the virus spread freely without any resistance.
Instead of urging travelers to return quickly, the government should have prepared the testing kits and equipment as slowing down the returning from Europe. All travelers should have been quarantined for 14 days and anybody who experience flu-like symptoms should have taken a test right away. While they waited for the result, they should have quarantined themselves. If the result is positive, they should continue to quarantine, if negative, they could return their life.
However, at the time, the President kept downplaying COVID-19 and avoiding his responsibility. Rather than taking care of the real issues, he focused on getting a better scorecard from the financial markets. After two weeks, we are experiencing the consequences.
What we are experiencing is what we have created collectively.
I think he just did his part of this COVID-19 pandemic. He let the virus enter the United States without any resistance and opened the two-week window for the virus to spread freely. The virus started in China three months ago. And, it crossed the Middle East, Europe, and the Atlantic ocean. Now it arrived at its final destination, the United State.
In the beginning, the infection ways were like brooks or creeks. Yet, when they cross the Atlantic ocean, they grew like a huge river. While the US was flooded by the river of the virus, the leaders couldn’t protect their people as failing to assess the situation. What we are experiencing is what we have created collectively.
What can we do during the coronavirus pandemic?
This pandemic will last for at least three months. It will vary depending on how well we follow the CDC guidance.
We should change any lifestyle that doesn’t follow the CDC guideline. Even if we can’t find the alternate way right now, we should seek the answer for the next three months.
South Korea will start the 2020 school year with online classes. They have only a couple of weeks to prepare the nation-wide online class system. It’s a huge task and challenge but the situation forced them to make the decision. Most Korean people agreed with the new direction. That’s one of the examples of changing our old lifestyle.
On an individual level, company level, community-level or nation-level, we have to change anything that doesn’t comply with the guideline. Actually, it’s not CDC that made the guideline. It’s the virus that made the guideline as urging us to change our lifestyle.
We still can feel warmth in our heart while chatting with the loved ones through Facetime or Skype. We still can work at home without fighting traffic twice a day or without polluting the air. Meeting with colleagues and the boss for a few hours per week will be enough for many businesses. We still can empower our spiritual connections through online services.
If we could deliver any value through the internet, we should increase the interactions through the internet. Yet, if we have to heavily rely on physical contacts in order to deliver value, then that lifestyle will have very little chance to survive in the future.
We should shift more than half of our current offline interactions to online interactions. Now the coronavirus is pushing us to do so.
When the pandemic ends, we will build a new habit or a new culture. During the period, we will get accustomed to the new cultures and even will enjoy them at the end. Some of us will start to create more value on top of our new lifestyle.
Of course, during this transitioning time, many businesses will suffer. The government should support those businesses until the pandemic ends. When it ends, naturally certain businesses will be reduced and certain businesses will expand.
I still strongly believe that there are important reasons why COVID-19 broke out. We will find out what changes we will bring in our life after this pandemic.