IT IS not quite Doomsday, but the world as we know it has probably come to an end.
The way we live has changed quite like it has never before. Handshakes or hugs will cease to be the way we greet each other.
We will have to tune our ears to hear muffled voices. Sign language may even become more widely used as social distancing and masks make it more difficult for us to perceive what others say.
Trains and buses packed like sardines will be a thing of the past as capacity is halved. Everyone will get a seat, with room to spare.
The Covid-19 is an infection the world has never seen. Even the Spanish flu, the last major infection just over a century ago, although equally or even more deadly, did not spread across the entire globe the way Covid-19 has.
It has been estimated that the Spanish flu decimated up to a third of the world’s population but it was seen mostly in the Americas and parts of Europe. Japan, the only Asian country that was affected, had only one case.
Subsequent research indicates that the Spanish flu was not unlike other influenza strains, but the death toll had been exacerbated by overcrowded health facilities and poor hygiene at a time when Europe was engulfed in World War I.
No one can be faulted to assume that with the great strides that have been made in medicine in the last 100 years, we would be well prepared for any flu.
But how wrong we were. One of the most advanced countries in the world in the field of medicine also happens to have the highest casualty rate.
Latest figures show that the number of cases has already exceeded 20 million.
In the end, it may just boil down to adopting new habits - social distancing, personal hygiene and donning masks. This change in lifestyle will likely upend a lot of what we see as our values.
We disapprove of our young ones spending too much time swiping icons and chatting on the tablet or smartphone, not realising that this could very well be one small step in our evolution. Meetings are now conducted over Zoom instead of the conference table.
Communication will largely be conducted electronically given that face-to-face exchanges can possibly lead to an infection.
If we are lucky, a vaccine will be found soon, or the coronavirus could live out its potency. Or we could even develop herd immunity against this enemy that we can’t even see.
But that does not necessarily mean that we can go back to our old way of life. This is a lesson to humanity.
We have a choice - we can continue to dance with the devil come what may, or we accept that there is a brave new world at our doorstep, and embrace it.
Read this story in theSun’s iPaper:
The world has changed, and so must we