Presently, the world is revolving around the sun, and COVID-19. Nothing interests anyone now except the current status of the disease. Every news and information today centres on it. No matter how hard one tries to ignore it, it finds its way into one’s reality. COVID-19, the traveller without a visa, has turned the whole world into one small sick village.
In Nigeria, the concentration of people’s attention on coronavirus is so great that about 40 soldiers perished in the hands of Boko Haram insurgents within the week and people didn’t bother to find out more about it. It was as if the operations of the bandits, insurgents and herdsmen no longer exist nor matter. Today, every Nigerian has one enemy and they have united to fight off this enemy. They no longer remember their political allegiances, religious bigotry and tribal prejudice. Nigeria is now one unified country, where the citizens focused on keeping everyone within it alive. This is because they know that if one part of the country gets affected by this traveller without a visa, the whole country will be in danger.
But the essence of this article is a look into how COVID-19 is restructuring the world socially. This ailment affects everyone – rich and poor, old and young, religious and atheists, black and white, male and female, and so on. It knows no boundary; it cares not about status; cultural and religious beliefs do not stop it; in fact, the sickness has thrown all the scientists in the world into confusion because, for once, they have seen what surpasses them.
Prior to this COVID-19 era, Nigerians have deep respect and exceeding admiration for anyone that returns from abroad; where the person returned from doesn’t matter so long as it is from outside the country. But now, people are weary of them. Nigerians now treat every returnee as a suspected case of COVID-19. It has gotten to the level that Nigerians are shouting on people to stop travelling outside the country; that they should learn to “sit down in one place”. What an irony considering that a few weeks ago, these same people were praying for a visa to run out of the country. But here they are, all of a sudden loving Nigeria and trying to protect it.
This restructuring is not only happening in Nigeria. The other day I was so proud to read an article in Forbes that is titled, “What the US could Learn from Nigeria’s Response to the COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak”. I felt so proud of the country because, for once, the world is recognising us for something good; unlike how they brand us negatively with poverty and fraud. I was equally elated because it is now acknowledged that Nigerian medical sector is not filled with unqualified and ill-trained doctors as the developed nations assumed. The post shows that despite how unequipped our hospitals are, Nigeria could contain what the developed nations couldn’t.
As the virus is eating deep into nations that boast of high longevity, such as Italy, they realised that they should seek help from the rest of the world because what had entered the cricket’s hole is greater than the cricket – they were overwhelmed by the magnitude of the damages the virus is causing them. Even the United States has opened her border to medical practitioners to come and “help them”. This act must have taught these nations that they are not the greatest after all and that they can’t do without their neighbours.
As one looks at what is happening in the world today, one can’t help but wonder what the world will be like when COVID-19 has been contained. Economically, people can predict harsh conditions. But socially, one can hardly say because deeper changes will emerge only if this disease lasts longer than we hoped. But from what is going on right now, the following are can be predicted in Post-Covid19 Era:
- Humility and Respect for all Socio-Economic Classes.
This ‘war’ affected everyone. It seemed to affect the rich more than the poor. From what I gathered on Twitter posts of COVID-19 victims, who are battling for their lives, these people have been humbled by their near death experience. They no longer care about whom they are or what they have. All they wanted was to pull out of the illness in one piece. For this, it will be hard for people that have passed through this to look down on people of the lower class. This epidemic may also reduce the problem of racism (to some extent) because sick racists will be grateful if the people they hold in disdain come to their rescue in the time of need.
- Increase in Saving Culture
People were not prepared for the invasion of this sickness. This is to say that many people (both the high and the low income earners) did not have enough money to stock their house with provisions before the lockdown. Trust me, a lot of people will learn to start putting away greater percentages of their incomes by the time this is over.
- Increase in Humanitarian Outreach
A lot of people that wouldn’t have given anything to battle this disease are doing so because it will affect them one way or the other. This is a sign that in time of crisis, after this disease has passed away, a lot of people may be willing to donate towards quelling the effects of the crisis before it escalates.
- Humility of the Global North
If countries like Nigeria could contain COVID-19, at least to the extent they are doing so, I think those in the Global North that have all facilities should have done better. But from the look of things, they are not. This, I believe (and hope) should teach these nations that look down on some countries not to do so, because you never can tell. So it is believed that countries like the United States and Britain will be humbled after this epidemic.
- Lesser Hold of Religious Leaders
I can’t say about other countries but I am sure that Nigerians have already started questioning the authenticity and motives of some religious leaders. This came as some of the religious leaders disobeyed the lockdown order in Lagos and Abuja. Some of them went as far as encouraging their members to ignore government warnings about the virus, claiming that they have anointing oil and other sacred materials that will protect them (the members). Those that prophesied about when the sickness will stop or that they knew about it were also called out. The way things are, these religious leaders will have to do a lot to win back their parishioners by the time this is over.
I would have said that Nigerians will be cautious about leaving the country, but I doubt if that will ever happen. You can never predict what Nigerians will do when it comes to seeking for greener pastures.
As stated earlier, no one can actually predict how this sickness will change the world. But one thing is certain – nothing will remain the same again.