Given the scale and speed at which the Coronavirus is spreading across the planet, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that this is a global disaster second to none, and no country on earth will be spared its severe impact. After President Ramaphosa’s address on Sunday evening, in which he announced countrywide school closures, international travel bans and restrictions on social gatherings of more than 100 people, most of us have had to alter the way we live and work dramatically. This past week has been a crazy, confusing and critical time – and one we will certainly remember for the rest of our lives.
How can we flatten the curve?
We can’t stop the virus – it’s already here – but we can slow it down. As President Ramaphosa said: “If we act together, if we act now, and if we act decisively, we will overcome it.” Here are some suggestions (adapted from an article by Dr Christos Anagnostopoulos, an honorary senior lecturer at Imperial College London).
- wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds – at least 10 times a day
- sneeze or cough into your elbow or a tissue
- cancel/reduce all non-essential travel and all non-essential social interaction
- work from home if you can
- if you go outdoors, keep at least three metres between your family and other people
- the elbow bump!
- avoid meetings in closed spaces if you can
- keep on working, if you can
- shake hands
- panic; it’s unhelpful
- empty supermarkets. Rather stockpile enough food in case you have to self-quarantine for two weeks
An opportunity to start afresh
Trend forecaster Li Edelkoort reckons we are “entering a quarantine of consumption” in which humanity will have an opportunity to reset our values. “We will [have to] learn to be happy with a simple dress,” she adds, “and rediscover old favourites we own, read forgotten books and cook up a storm to make life beautiful. We will travel less and accumulate fewer possessions.”
The silver lining of Coronavirus
If one of the consequences of the global shutdown is less consumption, that’s not a bad thing… I mean, do we really need another Fashion Week, and the subsequent manufacture of millions of garments? A drop in consumption would certainly serve the planet.
Already the economic disruption in China (as a result of the virus) has seen a significant decrease in deadly air pollution, potentially saving the lives of tens of thousands of people, a Stanford University researcher said.
In Venice, the paucity of tourists has led to the canals being the cleanest they’ve been in living memory.
In South Africa, economic disruption might have led to an easing up on loadshedding… We’ve also seen unparalleled displays of ubuntu: young people offering to go grocery shopping for their elderly neighbours; communal singalongs in blocks of flats; and so on.
For now, let’s try to remain calm and positive in our self-isolation bubbles, and practise responsible (social-distancing) outings into nature.
An elbow-bump from us to you,
The Inside Guide team
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