Covid-19 into our lives — a Software Engineer’s Perspective and Thoughts
Hi guys, hope you are doing well with all this unprecedented situation we are living over the past months. In this post I want to discuss my thoughts and feelings that emerged through the coronavirus situation, the mandatory quarantine, and the change of our daily (and not only) lives.
How it started for me — way before the quarantine
It’s still 2019 and I’m hearing about a new virus that has emerged in China; a virus that belongs to the category of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). As a films and documentaries’ aficionado, I had recently watched an episode of a known TV network where the interviewed experts including Bill Gates discuss the history of pandemics, how they spread and what could be done to contain them. Journalist Maryn Mckenna who works on the subject mentioned something that resonated with me:
Mother nature is the ultimate bio-terrorist
which translates to the fact that a new pandemic is inevitable and actually that the chances of a new one were never higher during the period we are living in.
As I kept on watching the episode, the narration continued with the history of the past 20 years, pointing out at least 2 more, similar to today’s, pandemics that I personally didn’t remember of. To be more specific, and if you want to dig deeper into it, we are talking about:
- SARS Pandemic: How the Virus Spread Around the World in 2003
- 2012 Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus outbreak
Regarding the previous SARS pandemic it looks like the virus was introduced in China and traveled beyond its borders with a simple passenger flight but we were lucky enough not to face the worse because the virus after all weakened and disappeared on its own. I’m having a trouble even mentioning the word “lucky” as a person and as an engineer more specifically.
Now, regarding the MERS pandemic of 2012, it looks like the previous coronavirus didn’t exactly leave the area of Middle East and that’s why probably most people had no idea.
How the countries reacted
Well actually, we all know about that; the countries didn’t really do much up until it was very late. October, November, December, January and February went by and no steps were taken from most of the countries all around the world.
As an engineer, I tend to see problems and solutions. Of course sometimes it’s hard or takes time to troubleshoot deeper and identify the cause of the issue right of the bat but at least you make an assumption and you try a relatively easy fix and wait to see what happens. Also you tend to recognize when a small problem can evolve into a much bigger one if left without a solution and this is what baffles me the most about this situation. World leaders failed to do the recon part until February 2020 or even much later. And again this is what I don’t get.
Now from my perspective and with some recently acquired knowledge on the subject, the first time I heard about the new SARS-COV-2, I immediately considered the next reasonable step to be for the governments to take some precaution measures. Measures, that maybe could have prevented the complete lockdown of a country and the number of people who were to lose their lives from this new pathogen. Honestly, I was expecting some temporary flights stopping or at least health checks at the airports for the people returning from known areas where the virus had confirmed to appear.
To my surprise no active measures were implemented and on top of that, politicians around the world reassured us that there is no need for worry and that we will definitely not live something unprecedented like what we are living today. I’m really troubled at this point but I remember myself thinking:
these guys have teams of experts and advisors; so if they are not concerned, then I should not worry either and the situation cannot go out of hand
well you do know how that turned out…
What happened next…
It’s March 2020. Now the world leaders are suddenly very alarmed and are suggesting us not to travel; actually not even leave home. Businesses suddenly suspend their activity, i.e. the ones related to tourism and rumours about countries going into mandatory lockdown are spreading.
At this point I’m quite upset. I can’t even comprehend how we ended up here. Why did shops have to shut down as a mandatory measure and potentially close for ever. So many whys. Wouldn’t it be less catastrophic for the society and the economy if we had taken smaller steps earlier?
Now it’s May 2020. In many countries the lockdown has been raised. People are back outside with masks, gloves and new rules. And rumour is that there’ll be a second infection wave and another lockdown will ensue within the next few months. And I’m thinking that this was something that we didn’t have to worry about. Something that will go away if we don’t do anything — magically. I’ m confused on how we ended up here. I’m upset with the economic crisis that has become a reality and with the recession that will follow right after.
How do you feel about it?