COVID-19 is bad for our economy, but how bad really? Yes, the online business is doing better than other industries during this pandemic. But if we told you even these firms are getting worried, then what will you say? Are we ready for the longtime impact of COVID-19?
COVID-19 is not just a health emergency – it’s bringing along economic and also psychological depression.
Yes, it’s true that the economic havoc wreaked by coronavirus is the most obvious one, but it is still far from the complete truth and dangers that are awaiting us in the future times.
And here we will try to analyze why the longtime impact of COVID-19 is worrisome for everyone – even big tech firms – and briefly touch its effect on some other aspects of our lives too. The two main areas of concerns are health and economic depression that we will explore here.
What is the current situation?
Not to be vague, we will first examine our current situation to develop a better understanding of the longtime impact of COVID-19 for every one of us.
Let’s start with the statistics first. So far coronavirus has infected 36,65,392 people worldwide, causing 2,52,931 deaths. With the ever-increasing infection rate, people are bound to their homes and hence to the tech.
As of now, we are more tech-dependent than ever before. Big companies like Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook have become more powerful and influential.
People have been continuously pointing towards the greater revenues that these big tech firms are generating even as coronavirus tips us into a global recession.
One big example of how the online world is blooming is that of the video conferencing app Zoom. The video conference app has emerged during this period as a big hit among students and businessmen.
Amazon online shopping services likewise are blooming too. Platforms like Prime, Netflix, Hotstar, etc have more viewers than ever.
So far, so good. Nothing really seems that worrisome yet. After all, at least some industries aren’t totally going down, right? But for how long and at what cost?
So what’s the issue?
The issue is not about the current situation only, it is about the impact of the current situation now and later on.
First of all, many of these big tech firms won’t continue benefitting like they are now, which is not that great even now.
The sales of tech and gadgets are already falling down and Internet giants like Facebook and Google already declared that the advertising business will not be returning to a normal anytime soon.
To understand this in a simpler way, we have to focus on the manufacturing industry first. If the goods and products aren’t being manufactured as they would have been under normal circumstances, then it directly affects the advertising industry too.
The current online culture would be beneficial – overly beneficial- for these tech giants if we permanently depend on their products and services. And we will be permanently dependent on them if we start spending more and more time online.
And spending more time online isn’t only about having fun on OTT platforms. It means our social and professional life will be shifted to the online world too. That will surely benefit them. And we might be moving towards that same online culture inevitably.
No big change comes without bringing some form of permanent alteration in our lives.
But big tech firms are cautious
Despite this change, big tech firms are cautious and worried. Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg said, “I remain very concerned that this health emergency and therefore the economic fallout will last longer than people are anticipating.”
So is this worry genuine? You bet. No matter how much the online presence has increased, a global recession threatens everyone and the threat becomes serious if the problem lasts longer.
Yes, the online culture is becoming our new way of life, and this might benefit some big tech firms – in the future. Yes.
We can’t forget that even though online presence is increasing every day, companies like Facebook, Google and many others rely on advertisements as their main source of revenue.
And neither can we forget that if people aren’t earning much, then they aren’t going to be spending much. And people aren’t going to be spending much, then advertisements might not be all that fruitful for other tech companies.
How will Apple earn if it can’t make iPhones? And why are people going to be buying iPhones if they aren’t even making money? Enough jobs are already lost.
Perhaps that is the reason why even big companies are saving for unexpectedly difficult times and using the current situation to earn the trust of people.
Why you might ask? Because even they know where we are headed. If they can build trust with consumers now, it can last for a long time.
Building trust with consumers
This is their time, their moment.
Let us get this very straight – right now we are not merely consuming the tech services, but also heavily dependent on them in one form or another.
But this is the time when we just can’t keep our hands off the technology and hence this is the time when tech companies can prove themselves worthy of your trust. And this matters a lot in the long term.
When a great problem is already scathing the lives of people, these tech companies want to ensure ease of use for their consumers and play their roles in the fight against the pandemic.
Google and Apple started their own joint venture in the form of a new tech called “exposure notification” tool.
Although this tool raised some privacy issues, Google and Apple tried their best to maintain trust. They promised to dismantle the app once the pandemic is over.
Facebook too has been trying to help by fighting the spread of misinformation regarding the pandemic.
The company which is scarred by scandals like Cambridge Analytica and political misinformation is actually pretty well in controlling the misinformation regarding the pandemic.
Amazon too is trying to ensure improved safety measures for its workers and better prices for consumers.
Again, all these efforts are important for them. We are heading towards an online culture that will most probably stay much longer than the pandemic. Companies know this very well and that’s why they are preparing for the future.
But what does this mean for us, the people?
The online culture
We have emphasised on the longtime impact of COVID-19 on the tech firms this far, but what does this mean for us?
The very first thing that comes to our minds, when you think of the longterm impact, is the loss of jobs. But the issue runs far deeper than this.
It is also about our dependence on technology which is getting more and more solidified as the days pass. This is neither right nor wrong, but definitely worth pondering.
Technology and Internet addiction have been plaguing a large number of people already. COVID-19 might just fuel that addiction. With the Internet and online presence increasing round the clock, are we going to be successful in digital-detox?
This is what COVID-19 brings in for us which impacts us on an individual level. We are exposing ourselves to long hours on the Internet, social media and OTT platforms. And we are getting used to it.
Tech addiction is going to be one of the most difficult challenges to overcome post the pandemic – and this is going to be a very individual and personal challenge for each one of us.
If tech addiction becomes severe, it may disrupt your new life. It may not matter at all that the lockdown has been lifted, for some of us.
That being said, this also brings in a lot of opportunities and a chance to understand the “work-from-home” culture and various possibilities it presents.
In short, we have to be aware of ourselves to make the most of the technology – let it be one way of life, but not the only way.
Discussion on the longtime impact of COVID-19 is incomplete without referring to the healthcare challenges that it poses.
As we struggle with the lack of vaccine, doctors are trying their best to save as many patients as they can. But even when the pandemic leaves, we have another greater challenge in healthcare. This challenge comes in the form of antibiotic resistance.
The world has actually been dealing with this issue for a long time already. But the problem becomes even more severe after the outbreak of COVID-19, and might actually be more dangerous than this.
Before we delve deeper into this topic, it is important for us to understand what antibiotic resistance actually means. Antibiotic resistance is a phenomenon when bacteria develop immunity against antibiotics.
Antibiotic resistance is not a new problem, but COVID-19 pandemic will just aggravate the situation even more.
Doctors mainly use antibiotics to treat the symptoms of pneumonia in COVID-19 patients. And doctors are administering patients with more than normal doses of antibiotics.
This becomes a problem because it may result in the rise of resistant bacteria which will eventually lead to more deaths from secondary infections than from COVID-19 itself.
Antibiotic resistance in the long run
Antibiotic resistance is not only a matter of concern for current times. It is leading us towards a darker future where we are left without a cure for even the smallest disease.
Now how will this happen?
You already know what antibiotic resistance will do in our current times. In a long time, this will result in lack of enough effective drugs and medicines that can deal with microbial infections.
And this is directly linked to the way these antibiotics are being used in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Since doctors are recklessly using high doses of antibiotics, it increases the risk of those bacteria that are resistant to these high dose antibiotics.
And the second thing to worry about is the fact that these medicines are not infinite resources. We have them in a limited amount. Not many pharmaceutical companies are working on new drugs these days because it’s not lucrative.
So where does that leave us?
That leaves us with our only stock of medicine which is fast used by doctors in COVID-19 treatment. We are on verge of calling upon ourselves a man-made pandemic if we don’t find a solution to antibiotic resistance soon.
And where are we headed?
The longtime impact of COVID-19 is not something that can be summed up in one single article. What we mentioned here are some of the most important facets of the time ahead of us, but there’s still a lot left.
It is important for us to know that a wave of a pandemic as great as this will not simply come and go without altering our lives and the way we live them.
We are going through difficult times and probably headed towards even darker times. Post COVID-19 era will bring its own challenges and some inevitable longtime changes too. Hopefully, we are going to be prepared for them.
Until next time!