Most of us alive this year has possibly not been through a possible pandemic scenario in our lifetime. We have not been through the effects of a pandemic. But we are surely experiencing possibly our first pandemic. In these starting days of the pandemic, we are starting to feel the heat of this global chaotic passage through a trying time.
I am not an expert in epidemiology nor am I an expert in economics but I can certainly say that to live through trying times every one of us has to be some sort of economist and epidemiologist. The reason being this pandemic is going to test our economic and social skills.
After living through the initial few days of a lock-down scenario here (Bangladesh), I have a few observations that I would like to share with everyone. My first observation is that even if we do not get infected by this novel coronavirus (which causes COVID-19), we will definitely get hit by the economic effect caused by this virus. Bangladesh has been in a somewhat lock-down scenario for the past few weeks. Most of us Bangladeshi people have not been at home for so long in recent years. But this is just the beginning. I think that this slowdown will last a long time. If history has provided any evidence, it is that a pandemic does not eradicate itself in a short time. Getting to a stable situation will take a long time, even a few years.
Going through lock-down means an economy has no productivity during the lock-down period. But there is a far greater long time effect of a lock-down. After passing through days of nothingness, people’s productivity will take a hit. Being adjusted to previous routine life may take longer duration than we are expecting. Also, one important phenomenon is the larger economic effect. After a duration of economic slowdown, it will take a large effort to bounce the economy back to normal. So to mitigate these issues we have to think about many options that will help us to pass this.
One of the important tasks we can perform during this lock-down scenario is trying to do our normal routine works in a different way that satisfies the needs of lock-down, like conducting our meetings online and using e-learning as a tool. But is a hard truth that most of the economic activities cannot be performed online and those cases will be slowing down our economy.
One of the bright sides of a pandemic like this is that it will be giving us time to think about our future and re-evaluate our actions and behaviors. Also, this pandemic will hopefully improve medical research and in the long run, will enhance our lives for the future.