Embracing COVID-19

In this article, the author comments on five challenges in different areas brought about by the coronavirus crisis around the world.

The COVID-19 Crisis affects us all. Health and Economic crisis. This COVID-19 exposed the failures of the many government systems – especially on the area of Health System. No respirators, incapacity of hospitals (both government and private). Focusing so much on military build-up and tourism, but the health and social needs of people are not prioritized. As Cardinal Chito Tagle said, “now we realize that we don’t have enough masks but there are more than enough bullets.” True.

“Between lives lost, and dollars gain… we need to save lives!” said Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York in one of his daily briefings.

PROTECTION & RECOVERY of LIFE is very important in this period of the COVID crisis, and our life after this. We still are uncertain on when this COVID-19 be effectively eliminated by a vaccine, and how long we can start a better life anew. Wherever you are, rich or poor, anyone.

I tried to map out a doodle of ideas on COVID-19, where we can prepare. These are suggestions, from the myriads of ideas of people. I am not an expert of anything, but just an ordinary observer of life. Later, tell me if I am wrong on this…

First, this is a challenge for any FAMILY. The lockdown or quarantine taught us many things, and on how to live better. But we should already be thinking of our primary concerns: Food, can we sustain in the coming months? Will help and support from our government remain? Work or job, will our company continue to give our salary, or ensure the continued existence of the company? Mentoring of Children, how will our child/children continue with their studies and be educationally productive during the lockdown? Better relationships, this crisis gives a lively family presence in the home; an opportunity itself to appreciate a better connectedness.

Second, this is a challenge to the SCHOOLS or the education sector (both private and public). Surely, more important than the economic impact, this crisis will have an educational impact on the formation of our young people – it is the moral imperative of the schools to facilitate learning even in time of crisis. this will have a disastrous economic impact especially on the private institutions.

Many (if not all) schools are caught unprepared, only to discover how important on-line learning is. For many years, many schools have resisted (or have doubts) on on-line learning, insisting the importance of the traditional model of teaching; and even some addministrators, professors or teachers are not so appreciative of on-line learning as effective tool of education. This COVID-19 challenges our institutions of learning to infuse effective on-line platform. A new way of thinking beyond the classroom. Guaranteeing the survival of schools in the period of lockdown… COVID-19 will surely have disastrous economic/financial impact especially on the private institutions. Start asking and projecting the question of lockdown for months, and how long this COVID-19 will end… 6 months, one year or more… Experts are not sure when. So, schools must already start on-line training for teachers; and begin investing in online tools, equipment or applications (apps, social media messaging) to be able to facilitate a better learning experience during the crisis (and even beyond). Due to the economic impact, we still cannot project the future enrolment figures, it is necessary to plan and navigate for a better projection of the crisis. Never forget too, the question of salary and financial sustainability of professors, teachers and personnel of the school. The in and out of the circular economic standing of the institution.

Thirdly, this crisis is impacting also church communities (Churches, Parishes, Dioceses, Congregations). But the Churches these days, are well-organized in providing support system (both spiritual and social aid) during this health crisis. They have maximized the social media (from a barrio parish to the Vatican) for liturgical (and inspiring) celebrations. There is a need too for church communities to sustainably plan for being a relevant church. Online evangelization must be continued and creatively improve; also making liturgical celebrations and spiritual accompaniment reachable across communities (and inclusively embracing other believers). Social assistance to communities is the mark of integral faith, proven by the dedication of faith leaders and organizations; faith believers must also support the sustenance and existence of faith communities.

Fourth, this has deathly impact to BUSINESS, the economic domino effect of the COVID-19 is indeed damaging. There is a need to re-structure, and create a better plan to sustain the business and ensure the necessary assistance to the employees or workers. Try to avail of any financial assistance from banks or government assistance.

Fifth, this too is challenging to Non-government Organizations (NGOs) and Peoples’ Organizations (PO’s). The sector, most aware of the agonizing impact of this crisis, is the NGO… And yet, they have to re-strategize actions and concentrate programs on Health and economic recovery especially of the poor communities during the duration and aftermath of the crisis.

In all these, we should never forget the poor.

Jaazeal Jakosalem OAR