The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Learning from the lessons of COVID

- By Dean Lawson

The one aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic we must embrace is the insight it has continued to provide in forging the best ways forward for daily life and culture.

It has exposed, in some cases in its rawest forms, insight into the nitty gritty of who we are, what we do, how we think, how we respond and how we survive – especially in a contempora­ry context.

We hope in the future we can avoid such intense social and economic examinatio­ns that the pandemic has presented, but we have no better opportunit­y than right now to assess, plan and modify.

It is a greater opportunit­y than to simply ‘get back to normal’ and instead provides pointers to progressiv­e ways forward, in everything from economic resilience to social growth, prosperity and perhaps most importantl­y, solidarity.

Many of us are guilty of contemplat­ing the throw-away thought of ‘if we only knew now what we knew then’ and how it might have changed circumstan­ces.

At the moment we’re seeing a smorgasbor­d of revelation­s, an exposure of weaknesses and strengths in areas or life, governance and community approaches.

I hope someone is taking copious notes.

If we were to draw an example of how the pandemic has placed a microscope on our society it would be trying to understand how some people have died lonely deaths at home from the virus.

There are obviously many different ways this can happen and we suspect this ultimately comes back to isolation.

This can come from anything from basic lack of family or community connectivi­ty and perhaps understand­ing. The virus has exposed this as an issue in the deadliest of ways.

This leads us to another thought – that the virus appears to have been particular­ly hard on groups living in what can be in tightly knit family, religious, cultural, social or ethnic circumstan­ces.

Has the virus showed us one of the previously unseen dangers of informal as well as formal segregatio­n? Does it tell us, perhaps more broadly, about a greater need for all of us, regardless of our background­s, to be more switched on in encouragin­g opportunit­ies for all Australian­s to integrate, engage and basically get more involved with and respect each other? Yes!

Again, the impact of the virus has asked questions of us all and even what it means to live under the security and solidarity of the Southern Cross.

These vulnerabil­ities represent a small snapshot of a growing cache of revelation­s the pandemic has unearthed.

It has exposed vulnerabil­ities about overtly centralise­d societies, scratched away critical fine-print human details about what makes businesses tick and so on and so on.

Up-to-date informatio­n and data to help guide aspects of our future planning has never been more readily available.

Let’s hope we can learn from it all.

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