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Covid, Covid, go away. Come again another day

Yeah, yeah, folks, I know what you thought when you saw the title. ‘Oh no, another company that tries to ride a hype these days.’

But in this text I’ll try to boost your optimism, showing why the current epidemic is a much more controllable thing due to the new techs, and why it’s so crucial to develop and use these tools not only in the corona-panic-mode way.

First, let’s follow the wise advice «Remember, it could always be worse» and have a look into some of the darkest years of human history. It was the years 1347 to 1351 when the Black Death, or plague, started its victory march in East China. (Yes, in China, and please, no conspiracy theories here). It spread around the whole continent taking around 90 millions of lives worldwide.

Why this example? Firstly, plague is transmitted by bacteria and not viruses, but the main transmission channel of pneumonic plague in the Middle Ages was the same - airborne droplets that are spread by coughing or sneezing. So the primary solutions of controlling the spreading were very similar – to isolate the patient, disinfect the area (this sometimes ended up with burning it out), and close the whole cities. Secondly, there were no effective cure methods. Plague vaccine was created in the late 19 century. (Hopefully, we won’t have to wait this long for the covid cure).

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So all I am saying is that we are already pretty lucky as the death rate due to the coronavirus is much lower than it used to be when caused by plague, medicine level is as high as ever, and most people have access to information. But at the same time, the world population in the1300s was about 0,5 billion, now it’s about 7,7 billion. In the Middle Ages, it took months for some viruses and bacterias to travel from one city to another, not to mention the continents. Now it takes a virus a day to make a world tour without any specific rider. What does it mean?

Isolation and control remain best public health’s friends.

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Health’s friends but not the economy’s friends. Those who aren’t coronaphobic are terrified by the economic disasters the pandemic will lead to. Tourism and entertainment, office and production, small trade and retail. Every niche is affected. However, it could be worse. In contrast to the Middle Ages, all affected industries have a chance to use modern technologies to mild the economic damage.

Business

Programmers and accountants, designers and marketers, consultants and lawyers, even HRs. Count how many people in your company need only their chair and their laptop to work? All of them can work remotely from home without the company losing a cent. Besides, some research shows that the home office can increase productivity by 13%. All the meetings and conferences can be moved to Skype. Electronic document flow helps not to lose control during the quarantine, etc. Here is an instruction on how to organize a productive home office work.

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P.S. You even can save some money on cookies and bills for light and water.

Education

Webinars, online lectures, group chats with lectors…Sounds like a normal 21st-century university? It’s just an effective educational model many schools and colleges offer since the corona has spread. And if all e-homework is done, you can start with some useful resources for free distant learning here.

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Retail

Hurrah, toilet paper and noodles can be bought online!

Say no to offline panic buying.

Offline stores are closing but, to be honest, that’s not the first time. The term ‘retail apocalypses’ first appeared in 2017 and had nothing to do with the pandemic hit. So yeah, those who were smart enough and used these two years to develop online stores, drone and contactless delivery, etc. now experience an ultimate growth.

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Entertainment

Do you know what are the 3 main entertainment trends of 2019? VR, E-sport, and Netflix-like services. For such businesses, quarantine sounds like ‘a day X’ when you can finally force Game of Thrones even on those who’ve resisted it for years.

The virtual car show in Geneva is an excellent example of how an event businesses can react to a pandemic.

Sure, for parks like Disneyland each day of quarantine is like a little death…but maybe it will encourage the theme-park owners to promote public health and hygiene practices (like publishing the hand sanitizer maps) not just during a pandemic.

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Restaurants and bars

Many restaurants close their seating areas and leave only pick-up windows available. Others take all possible advantages of UberEats and food delivery. Some bet on contactless automated food and beverage technologies such as a robot coffee maker or robotic burger maker.

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Tourism

The impact on tourism is still impossible to calculate. For the first time in their lives, the Venetians can see their city without the crowds buying masks, magnets, and postcards, and don’t have to be upset about loud impudent tourists. Yet we know that tourists support like 99% of the city’s businesses…

International tourism will suffer this year, but, at the same time, national and local tourism can benefit. After the quarantine ends, most tourists are still likely to be afraid to visit South Europe and Asia, and it’s a chance for domestic tour operators to offer some options in place.

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Summing Up

Let’s look at the situation in general. The modern society already has many options to find its work&life balance even in quarantine mode. The example of hikimories in Japan illustrates how people can live (not survive, but live normally) without leaving their flats for years. With the further development of automated production, stores, contactless and autonomous delivery, the flexibility of our society will increase.

Maybe this year is a kind of a check for all of us. Are we ready for a world where every three-five-ten years a new pandemic can arrive? Are we ready for the year 2050 when 10 billion people will live and work? Can we create a world where a reaction to public health danger will follow not in a few weeks but in days? Maybe this check results will be a good reason for all of us to make a plan B (or to collect a bug out bag).

Nevertheless, stay optimistic.
It’s still not a plague.

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