In this period of coronavirus, virtually everything appears to be centred on COVID-19, much so for commentators and columnists whose write-ups are based on trending news. As long as the invisible enemy virus continues to rage, so long shall it continue to take up a large chunk of radio, television, newspaper spaces. Indeed, some 90 percent of everything being aired/written in the mass media and online is related to COVID-19. It is being said that our world would never be the same again, even after the world goes back to its normal way of living after the forced lock-down, that a ‘new normal’, a new world order may emerge; that is, some of the things we do in normal times may change permanently.
One of them is that money may lose its value in the eyes of the world. I do not mean its physical value but its intrinsic value. Before the advent of this rampaging COVID-19 money was considered as the be all, the crowning glory of life here on earth and so we all struggled to amass as much of it as we possibly can (even beyond what we ordinarily require), by fair and foul means. Most of us considered making money the goal of our life, which is wrong; money was equated with enjoyment, the more of it you had the more you are able to enjoy the ‘good things of life’, it is postulated.
But coronavirus has put a lie to that and has even made us to begin to doubt the high value and respect we accord money. Consider that even the richest country in the world, America cannot buy enough masks and ventilators for its citizens. They have the cash, are apparently ready to pay any price for them, but they are not available. They have become scarce and hard to come by. An industrialized country, America could not even produce enough for its citizens in their hour of need and has to go and procure from a developing country like China and others.
Money could not save the rich from catching the coronavirus disease. The rich are now holed up in their houses like the rest of us poor folks, unable to indulge in their money-inspired expensive leisure outings like, cruising in a yacht, holidaying in exotic places around the world, participating in rich people’s games like polio, partying every weekend, etc. etc. All their expensive gadgets like jets, ships, cars and so on, are grounded currently, immovable; rendered more or less useless at least for the time being as they cannot flaunt them around. With no partying around this must be boring times for the rich and many others.
However, they (indeed all of us) can make good use of this corona-induced solitary confinement to reflect on the deeper meaning of life here on earth, beginning with reading the spiritual books familiar to us, the Bible, Koran. And if we all seek earnestly about the purpose of life in these quiet moments that coronavirus offers us, we may come to a better recognition of the whole essence of life.
Therewith the rich and others should come to the realization that money is only a means to an end; the end being to do the greatest good to the greatest number of persons. COVID-19 could activate the humanitarian streak of our monied men and women. And they will find that selfless giving brings them genuine happiness. Money can bring us contentment. But only selflessly serving the other in thought, word or deed can bring us true happiness which we all long for. Thus, we should use the period of this ‘confinement’ to seek knowledge through reading. Reading should be second nature to us. But of course, we should read only that which is uplifting. Even on the internet not all things should merit our attention.
In times like this, the United States seen as the ‘leader’ should be gifting other countries essential materials and experts to help fight COVID-!9, that is, leading the world to mitigate it on all fronts. As it is the US is silent in this matter, in fact lying prostrate. Instead, it is China and Cuba that are sending medical supplies and personnel to other countries worldwide to help them curtail the pandemic.
The US has been more or less concerned with itself only which does not advance its self-acclaimed leadership position; for, to lead really means to serve. Even in the area of finding a cure for coronavirus, some other countries are stepping up and apparently beating the ‘mighty’ US to it – China, Germany, Cuba. COVID-19 appears to be humbling America and showing many countries who their true friends are. A friend in need is a friend indeed. President Donald Trump may also be learning that everything is not about profit.
And COVID-19 has brought to the fore, the important role of scientists and researchers. They are silent workers who often discover medicines for many of the ailments plaguing and disturbing our bodies after years of toil. Their final products are often ‘bought over’ by the big pharmaceutical companies that put their names on it via a trademark. And the scientists/researchers plough back money given to them for further research.
These set of people should have a special place in our hearts and those of our leaders, especially. More people should be encouraged to go into this field, especially in third world countries like Nigeria and other African countries that should have a pool of their own researchers/scientists to develop indigenous drugs. Retired doctors and nurses are being recalled to give a helping line to their colleagues on the front line.
Virtual meeting through video conferencing is becoming popular. Both the G20 countries and African finance ministers, among others, employed it in their recent meetings. The Nigeria Union of Journalists(NUJ) has already urged journalists to jettison face to face interview for telephone chats.
The full effect of COVID-19 on religion as we know it is still evolving. Though Easter 2020 will be celebrated in our spirits the outward celebration of Easter as we have come to associate it, can never be the same this year because of the lock down; and that, is an unprecedented change. Could it be that things are evolving anew and may never be the same again? Ikeano, a journalist, writes from Lafia via [email protected] 08033077519