No one was prepared for the sudden outbreak of the covid 19 pandemic and the loss emanating from it. The loss that crippled us took many lives and brought the world's economy to a standstill. While every country suffered its dose of crisis overwhelms, cities became resilient. The real question, however, is, will cities come back stronger or die eventually? Will they ever recover?
Cities built off diversity and hubs of entertainment, exposure, and progress have spelled perils in the pandemic. The things that we most loved about the city life- parties, gatherings, travel have all taken a backseat until we figure out a way for normalcy. Streets, offices, and educational institutions are empty, and technology is the only weapon holding us together. The once loved city life seems gloomy, and most people have resorted to looking for places in the countryside to avoid crowded areas. So, what's making cities the hotspot for this virus, and how to find a solution amidst this chaos?
This is Not the End
History shows that the world goes on. The Spanish Flu of 1918 took the lives of about 50 million people worldwide, affecting cities greatly. The Bubonic Plague of 1855 that started in China and spread to the rest of the world claimed 15 million victims. The Seventh Cholera Pandemic of 1961 originated from Indonesia and went on to affect populations from other countries. It is one of the longest pandemics in history. Even with the after-effects of these epidemics, cities recovered; in fact, cities flourished.
Top analysts reveal that pandemics like the Covid 19 reshape the cities. It builds them from scratch. The governments take better precautions to protect the future of the residents and the cities alike. Jobs get created to bring back the essence of urbanization when people flock away to their natives. Of course, the shocks of death and economic loss follow for a long time and only keep the lot's strongest in the cities.
Boon and Bane
The recent pandemic Covid 19 is a form of SARS that affects the respiratory system directly. The rollout of vaccinations in the wake of 2021 has provided relief to the masses; however, the powerful virus variants still confuse us. City density is found to be one of the reasons for the spreading of the virus. As such, some cities are starting to resume operating with 50% occupancy from offices, schools, and entertainment centers, while some are still holding back. The question is, for how long can we keep working from home? Can small and medium enterprises recover from such breaks of business?
While we ponder upon this uncertainty, let's look at the boons and banes of the pandemic.
Work Mode On
We are blessed to be in times where technology is at its best. Internet and its versions of 3G, 4G, 5G, AI are driving us to contribute to our economy from the comforts of our homes. This pandemic has given us the vision to make technology faster and accessible to everyone so that we can fight back vociferously.
We may be socially distancing ourselves, but we can easily communicate with our colleague's thanks to video conferences, calls, and chat rooms. We can work with teams, manage meetings, discuss important policy implementation, and so much more.
The lockdown gave us time to reflect on our actions. Urban dwellers got the time to practice self-care. They realized it isn't a necessity to go out in fancy cars often. They paused and breathed in the natural air and resorted to eating well and working out. It also reminds us that the health of the residents derives from the health of the city.
Smart cities have recovered from the pollution of automobiles and industries with the shutdown of operations and crowds. Governments started to focus on sustainable means and employed policies of reducing, recycling, and reusing.
Government is more inclined to refine cities to prepare them better for any future epidemics. We did not appreciate the health infrastructure in its time is now getting the greatest attention and investment. Cities inventing the vaccination in such a short span only speak of their ability to work through bigger challenges.
A Strain on Resources
Have you ever wondered when you wash your hands so many times throughout the day, it leads to how much water wastage? Not just that, the outnumbered patients and shortage of hospital beds for covid patients were the toughest to witness and were the reason for the many lives lost.
With a bar on trade and commerce to contain the virus, there was a severe economic depression. Markets crashed, and industrial and agro growth eventually slowed down.
No Physical Contact
Maintaining social distance and barring people from getting together was the toughest precautions as humans crave social contact.
Hope and History
As already mentioned, history brings statistics with how cities, especially, suburban cities have always come back stronger after pandemics. In the Spanish Flu, the masses lost their lives in their prime years when the infection started in 1918, but by 1920, through herd immunity, the impact of the virus lessened, and things returned to normalcy. The Bubonic Plague sure spread to many provinces and transformed the look of the world for decades. However, cities learned to develop modern medicine, invest in the study of germs and microbiology, enhance quarantine practices to prevent the recurrence of pandemics. The cholera outbreak too minimized its fatal effects by the 1990s.
Witnessing the world crumble is a tough sight, but troubles only polish us from the inside. Cities that have lost their shine in this pandemic are already on their paths to become better versions. Vaccinations are gearing up the industries gloomed in the after-effects. Governments carefully implement strategies to control and prevent future pandemics through infrastructure development, sustainable techniques for managing resources, and reviewing past mistakes. What is crucial now is a lot of belief and hope for things to change since, Hope forever tells us that tomorrow will be better – Richard Daly.
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