Modifying behaviours in wake of COVID -19

First published in The Border Mail as “Modifying behaviours in wake of COVID-19” on 23-03-20

Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic on 11th March 2020 by the World Health Organization. It was an epidemic called Coronavirus that emerged from Wuhan, China and then spread all over the world. It was only 31st December 2019, when it was first reported to World Health Organization. Within a matter of weeks, it was termed an epidemic and soon after, a pandemic. Some of us learnt the difference between an epidemic and pandemic for the first time in the wake of this tragedy.

The spread of the disease escalated exponentially over a short time. The term ‘global village’ coined in the 1960s with the advent of media technologies that propagated interconnectedness, has been given a new meaning in the last few months by COVID-19. We are now connected by means of a global threat, rather a global calamity. Whether we are in Australia, USA, UK, China, Middle East or Pakistan, we are all discussing the medical emergency. Our media is in a frenzy, reporting the number of cases with every passing minute. There are lock downs and curfews in place. The health system in every country is fighting for sustainability.

While some of us may be better equipped than others to deal with the situation, human behaviours around the world have been at an ultimate low. There are friends reporting hoarding from every part of the globe. It all started with people sharing their pictures with a pack of toilet rolls from Canada, Australia and Germany on facebook newsfeed to tell their success story, to now when it’s even hard to find bread and eggs on the aisles in grocery stores.

Panic is prevailing over common sense in dealing with the situation at hand. All of a sudden, from struggling to finding the right job and getting into the right university, we have turned our attention to hoarding grocery items and flu medication. Have we once stopped to think, what if someone needs what we are stockpiling more than us? It dawned on me two days ago that we didn’t have paracetamol in the house, when my 5-year-old came down with fever. As I moved from chemist to chemist in search, I realised that there was none available.

Then came the day when we went to get bread for breakfast as usual and couldn’t find any. And now most aisles, even those of biscuits and chips have been cleared. All this is not just causing chaos but also an imbalance in the supply and demand ratio, affecting the world’s economy. Australia was already struggling with the bushfires and now we are working our way towards the abyss.

We have already been recovering from a recession globally and now the economy is in shambles. People are losing jobs, especially the casual workers. There is no semblance in most parts of the world where schools have been shut down and children are on house arrest. In times like these, we need to be at our best to cope with the crisis. Instead, we are filling our trolleys unnecessarily as if there is no tomorrow. Haven’t we learnt enough lessons through history – world wars, civil wars, war on terror, tsunami, bushfires. Panicking and acting out of fear of missing out will not solve the problem. We need compassion now more than ever. Be kind, empathise and share. Be the better man. 

We can help curb the outbreak by adopting basic hygiene. All we need to do is stay clean, wash our hands frequently and avoid touching our face when outdoors and otherwise. Also, sneeze and cough in your elbow. Let’s use COVID -19 as an opportunity to develop good habits. I remember being taught the aforementioned rules of hygiene and etiquettes as a part of proper upbringing and not because of any epidemic.

Calm your nerves and don’t panic. Take precaution and have faith. Use reliable sources of information rather than resorting to quick unreliable ones on social media. Stay at home if you are sick. Go for an early detection and early response. We need to modify our behaviours in order to deal with this unfortunate scenario as best as we can.

About the writer... 

Ayesha is a Career Development Consultant who has two gifted children. She is a professional member of the Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA). She has a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering, Graduate Certificate in Careers Education and Development (RMIT) and Certificate of Gifted Education (UNSW). She also holds a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and Certificate of Fashion Illustration. 

She worked for a multinational engineering manufacturing industry before switching to career counselling, writing, teaching and case management.  She has worked in the British and American schooling systems and is now working with the Victorian Selected Entry and Regional Schools. Her diverse experience of working around the globe in the education and corporate sector and strong academic background enables her to see the bigger picture.