Corona Diaries 6: A Rough New World Post-Pandemic

What can a person forced to stay at home possibly do? With going to office suddenly turning passé and stepping out becoming hazardous to health, those trying to break the coronavirus chain through social distancing could well revive the old tradition of writing on their diaries. In our special series, Corona Diaries, New Delhi-based senior journalist Akshaya Mishra captures the subtleties of life and the times we are in.

After the pandemic runs its course, leaving a trail of devastation unimaginable so far, the world won’t be talking about human resilience; it would be talking about good luck instead. It is sheer good luck that those who survived didn’t come across the wrong person, didn’t touch the wrong surface, didn’t visit the wrong gathering or didn’t make the wrong trip abroad at the time of the outbreak.

In the post-corona world, the power of the virus would remain etched in the collective consciousness deep, and all arrogance of our scientific conquests would stand miserably exposed. We may have achieved longer lifespans, better healthcare and sanitized living, but we still cannot comprehend what will kill us next. A mutating virus is always a step ahead of us, we don’t know how many of them are mutating at this precise point and readying themselves for an assault on us. When they go viral, good luck would be our only defence.

Beyond good luck, however, there would be real challenges of the real world. By the end of the pandemic, experts say, recession would be deeply entrenched and economies would collapse. This would unleash social upheaval, the nature of which is beyond prediction now. The global world won’t remain the way it was in the pre-pandemic decades. People would be less social as social animals with sanitizers and six-feet gap lurking perennially in their minds. Inadequacies of science exposed, people may rush to religion. Well, it would take the gift of clairvoyance for one to imagine how the world would shape up. We can do some crystal-ball gazing though.


Social media has connected the world but built great distances among people, went the accusation. It drove individuals into silos, replaced expressions with pictograms, spoken word into text and the wonderful nuances of the tongue into crude stab of the fingers. In the process, it diminished the informal charm of direct interactions. Unfortunately, this may become the inescapable reality of life for all of us. Socialising, so intrinsic to our bonding, is likely to stand discredited after the corona episode. People would be encouraged to stay in silos, minimise direct contact and let technology be the go-between for communication. The virtual universe would overshadow the real. Hope it remains just a possibility or a passing phase.


Gloomy signs of the world economy crumbling are all over. The virus, in its wake, would leave the weak ones shattered and relatively strong ones struggling. Even economic powerhouses would turn protectionist to get their houses in order. Jobs would vanish in droves and the priority of all governments to check the consequent social implosion would be to keep locals gainfully engaged. Add to this, the suspicion of all outsiders being carrier of diseases. This would constrict scope for outsiders. Good jobs, good earning and good life, which form essential part of the allure of foreign land for many, would stop being available. This would halt global movement of talent till at least things are sunnier. Dark prognosis? Well, we are headed into uncertain times. The world may seek isolation to heal.


Will the virus jolt governments into activity in hitherto less sexy areas of governance such as public health and sanitation? Will there be more attention to overcrowding of cities and cramped habitations? Will there be more effort to keep emergency reaction systems greased and running? Chances are after the chastening corona experience, governments would be wary of a repeat. They would expend significant funds and energy on staying prepared. Also, there might be a few who would whip up anti-outsider xenophobia and hypernationalist sentiments to grab power. They may not find it hard to sway sentiments of a crisis-hit population.

In summation, we are into testing times. We can expect some elements of our lives upended, some altered in small ways and some discarded entirely. It’s time the world braced for a rough ride.

(The views expressed by the writer are his own and do not necessarily represent that of the website)

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