Home Op-Ed Covid 19 Paradigm Shift, Bar None… – By Peter Ogudo

Covid 19 Paradigm Shift, Bar None… – By Peter Ogudo

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A Nigerian army health official performs a temperature check on a visitor to the entrance of the Nigerian Army Hospital in the Yaba area of Lagos, Nigeria, on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. Nigerian health authorities said they’re tracing everyone who’s been in contact with an Italian man who tested positive for the coronavirus, the first such case in sub-Saharan Africa. Photographer: George Osodi/Bloomberg

 

A Nigerian army health official performs a temperature check on a visitor to the entrance of the Nigerian Army Hospital in the Yaba area of Lagos, Nigeria, on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. Photographer: George Osodi/Bloomberg

According to CDC’s website, in Covid 19 “Co” stands for Corona, “Vi” stands for Virus, & “D” stands for disease, formerly referred to as “2019 novel Coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”. This strain of virus has not been previously identified, & is different from the Coronavirus that commonly circulate among humans causing mild illness like common cold. The spread of Corona Virus is mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can be inhaled into lungs when people are in close proximity within 6 ft. of one another. However, prevention of possible spread can be through isolation or quarantine of person who has been exposed, but not yet contracted the illness (symptoms), from others who have not been exposed.

Quarantine is usually 14 days from last day of exposure because incubation period is 2 to 14 days. Covid 19 survival is shorter at higher temperatures & higher humidity than in cooler or dryer environments. But, right now there is no data to support right temperature cut off for inactivation at this time. For protection purposes, CDC recommends people wear cloth face covering to cover nose & mouth in community settings. Other recommended protection includes social distancing & frequent hand washing. Due to ongoing hysteria, anxiety &uncertainties from lack of anti-Covid 19 vaccines, people are advised to stay alert, stay up to date with latest information about signs & symptoms, protect & take care of self, follow CDC guidelines & stay ready.

Per Wikipedia, Social distancing or physical distancing, being a necessary corollary to minimizing spread of Covid 19 virus is a set of non-pharmaceutical interventions or measures taken to prevent the spread of the disease by maintaining a physical distance between people & reducing number of times people come into close contact with each other. It involves keeping a distance of six feet or two meters from others & avoiding gathering in large groups. By reducing the probability that a given uninfected person will come into physical contact with an infected person, the disease transmission can be suppressed, resulting in fewer deaths.

However, drawbacks to social distancing can include loneliness, reduced productivity & loss of other benefits associated with human interactions &economic endeavor. The totality of negative effects resulting from social distancing draws interesting & intellectual analogy to Alfred Wegener’s Continental drift theory, where continents shift position on Earth’s surface. His theory also explained why look-alike animal & plant fossil, & similar rock formations, are found on different continents. Even if there is no direct evidence to support the movement of continents (no GPS at the time!), the eye opening lessons from his theory holds true today where evidence abound about the concept & principles embedded in paradigm shift.

According to Investopedia, a paradigm shift is a major change in concepts & practices of how something works or is accomplished. Paradigm shift can happen within a wide variety of contexts, for example new technology is introduced that radically alters production process of a good or service, or the assembly line that created a substantial paradigm shift, not only in the auto industry but in all other areas of manufacturing as well. Thomas Kahn Kuhn states that paradigm shifts characterize a revolution to a prevailing scientific framework, facilitating the adoption of a revised or completely new theory or paradigm.

This is totally different from being a market disruptor. According to Businessleader.co.uk, “to be a disruptor is to create a product, service,or way of doing things which displaces the existing market leaders & eventually replaces them at the helm of the sector. Disruptors are generally entrepreneurs, outsiders, & idealists rather than industry insiders or market specialists. Disruptors are often linked to the fast moving technology industry but can be found in almost any area of business”.

According to The Economist, the idea of disruptive innovation is the most influential business idea of the 21st century. Coined in 1995 by American academic & business consultant Clayton M. Christensen, the idea of disruptive innovation has been applied to a diverse set of industry both in modern society & historically. Some examples of successful disruptors are Wikipedia, Word Processing Software, Google Maps, E-Mail, Amazon, Netflix, etc.

But, enter the new paradigm shift from Covid 19 unlike other paradigm shifts before it. In comparison to internet paradigm shift that changed the way business is conducted, or Email or scan paradigm shift that replaced fax machine & courier services, or stock brokerage paradigm shift that allows stock quotes through multiple sources using modern technology, these new paradigm shifts from Covid 19 came unannounced and caught the world unprepared for its calibrations. The signs are all around us that these shifts have affected our jobs, our married life, our relationships, our surroundings, our health & social life. Everything we have been used to the old dominant paradigm, has all been rendered incompatible with modern phenomena facilitating the adoption of a new theory or paradigm. Hence, the growth of new models, new patterns& new examples.

The economic & social paradigm shifts that we have experienced from Covid 19, inadvertently has awakened our consciousness to a lot of things, or changes happening in our society.

Welcome to the new normal, aka “social distancing”. This new normal really has come to stay and will affect all of our lives moving forward, when we each have to maintain some distance or space when we interact. We have all been collectively numbed into acceptance mode, call it “radical acceptance”. From Psychology Today’s “Three Blocks to Radical Acceptance”, Karyn Hall went further stating, “accepting reality means less emotional suffering in the long run”. Her article also went further, “radical acceptance means completely & totally accepting something from the depths of your soul, with your heart & your mind. You stop fighting reality. When you stop fighting reality, you suffer less. That means you don’t feel hot anger in your stomach whenever you see the person who got the promotion you deserved, & you don’t seethe with resentment when you see your best friend who is now dating your ex-boyfriend. You accept what is, learn, & go forward”.

However, we individually or collectively suffer from not giving up our anger & resentments towards what caused our socio-emotional or economic upheaval in the first place.  On the flip side, we “go forward with the knowledge we didn’t have before & stand up for ourselves”, we become more careful, we strengthen our support system, we use whatever knowledge we have gained to improve our quality of life, we begin to accept our new reality, we begin to find a different way to go forward, we begin to drop our selfishness or our tribalism or our favoritism or our cronyism, and for the common collective good, we embrace looking out for one another, doing things we may not have done from old habits like  stashing  away  all that cash meant for road construction, hospitals, power, and sundry infrastructure that we embezzled without  moral justification &disregard for its consequences to society. The most important skill we will learn from accepting radical acceptance is that we can help our common good by improving our quality of life & reducing people’s suffering. We, then begin to be kind to ourselves, be able to confront our fears, we stay positive, we become more creative, we develop ways to help our local industries, we begin to put ourselves in the sufferings of the poor masses, & we embrace the fact that together we all can become a prime time big player in the global economic affairs.

But, we have to be ready for a lot of changes in how we do things, like how we interface physically & socially.  How we shop in physical malls or open markets.  How we sit together in our public transportation. How we openly commiserate with friends & loved ones during funerals, or baby showers, or marriage events. How we hug & relish each other’s body odors or stinks. How we sit in office spaces, or interact in public buildings. How we consult with clients, or patients. How we engage or sit in droves at almighty “joints”, “bars”, or “secret saloons”.

However, “every cloud has a silver lining”. What once might seem gloomy on the surface, have some positive aspects to it. Back in 1634, when John Milton penned his famous quote, “was I deceived or did a sable cloud turn forth her silver lining on the night?”, we should never feel hopeless because these difficult times may lead to better days ahead.

On the economic front, tech app makers globally are going to make a killing with new ways users can interact, sync & interface with one another. New & improved collaborative apps are coming of age as we learn new ways to navigate our new normal. Such apps as Zoom, GoToMeeting, Cisco WebEx Meetings, Google Hangout Meet, Microsoft Teams, etc. are all enterprise solutions with feature-rich tools for video & audio conferencing, online meetings, screen share & webinars. Most plans allow up to 100 or more participants by default in every meeting. According to Forbes’ Covid 19 app economy update, other categories that are growing include the education apps, as parents have become home schooling teachers for kids whose schools are closed. Target’s Shipt app is surging. Ditto, Walmart, Costco & grocery deliveries. The app economy increasingly mirrors the actual economy as we know it. However, Lyft & Uber are at all-time low ranks in the app store. Ditto, airline or cruise operator apps, or hotel chain apps.

Online buying is going to boost electronics commerce to an all-time high as we go. There will emerge a shift in digital shopping using web browsers. Online shopping apps, such as Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Google Shopping, etc. are all gearing up for the new global economic normal. Ditto, online store fronts, &other business models such as B2B, B2C, etc. According to Rakuten Intelligence, online orders post Covid 19 will rise more than 50%, and even more.

Sitting arrangements will affect the bottom line of most business organizations or franchises, especially in industries such as airlines & cruise travels, sports leagues, entertainment, hospitality, religious affairs, public parks & public buildings, etc. Most sitting arrangements will skewer in favor of more leg-room comfy-seats, but charges & rates will apply. A recent Associated Press article, details how major US sports leagues are closing locker rooms amid Covid 19 concerns. Ditto, The Wall Street Journal article, about English Premier League Suspension of season after Covid 19, or ESPN article about Serie A league suspension due to Covid 19. Similar global closures or suspensions follow same pattern of concerns & fears about Covid 19.

China will lose its place as a world class outsourcing destination. According to a 2019 article from Telusinternational.com, outsourcing in China carries a number of benefits that US companies, and by extension the world increasingly finds attractive. China has continued to retain one of the original benefits of outsourcing: lower costs and even more competitive in cost than India. And that begs the question, what will businesses look like post Covid 19? According to an article from PYMTS.com with same title as the preceding rhetorical question, the world will find better ways & ideas for running the global supply chain. This could mark the beginning of a new era of globalization. Outsourcing may lose its luster & many nations will relax local rules to accommodate production of goods & services locally. Most nations will find ways to develop local industries and also support local innovations. Most nations will surely look inside to find ways to develop basic infrastructure, such as roads, electricity, water, medical services, & more.

But what’s not new normal is old habits of political leaders from mostly developing countries who regularly seek medical treatment outside of their shores. What’s not new normal is when corrupt leaders unabashedly & brazenly embezzlepublic funds, & subsequently deposit those funds in foreign bank accounts leaving their home country poorer & wretched. What’s not new normal is when corrupt politicians embezzle public funds, then turnaround & donate some of those stolen funds to the government during a national or global emergency in an attempt to get “street credibility” from their corrupt peers. What’s not new normal is when our leaders, who themselves are clueless, upon assuming office then turn around & appointanother nitwit, half-baked incompetent politician like themselves to occupy strategic office.What’s not new normal is when our leaders make appointments to strategic positions based on tribalism, clannishness & religiousor party affiliations. What’s not new normal is when voters allow deceitful & manipulative politicians to use religion, small handouts or promise of potential future appointments to get inside their head & deceive them, thus playing the voters for fools. At the risk of preaching to the choir, any politician’s promises are a fool’s gold & should be taken with a grain of salt. Otherwise, Buyers should be wary!

The new normal should embrace accountability, transparency, integrity, honesty & free press. The new normal should slash average salaries for our elected reps. Our reps are overpaid for doing nothing!!

The new normal should criminalize the tendencies of our politicians who travel overseas for medical treatment. The new normal should reflect on the following existential question, are we better off now than we were before independence? The new normal should find better ways to make our nation more than just a one hit wonder, where our 90% mono-economy is tethering towards collapse & attrition.  The new normal should make it mandatory that our local banksshould red flag suspicious activities or transactions by corrupt politicians. The new normal should ban the idea of paying mobilization fees for contractworks that have not been performed. The new normal should mandate that contractors perform up to 75% of work before getting part payments. The new normal should appoint competent people to public offices based on their track record. The new normal should make career civil servants go through rigorous processes, similar to checks &balances, before withdrawing large sums of money from commonwealth account.Welcome to the new normal where life is lit with exceptionalism, creative endeavors, innovation, level playing field & quality of life for all. It’s about time we all get it right & make it work before it’s too late!!

 

By Emeka P. Ogudo, Esq. educator & freelancer.

Los Angeles, California.

 

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