A Digital Solution for the time being?
COVID-19 versus Global Mobility
Is our global mobility in permanent danger? And what should our collective response be to a pandemic turning from a sci-fi apocalypse movie theme into an all to real fight - against a very real global enemy? I would argue that the most important things to keep in mind are, that we need to avoid panic, in all its forms; and that we cannot let this global crisis divide us – in fact, we can use it to unite us, to increase our bonds with our fellow human beings, to cooperate even more than our global community already does, to help one another whenever possible, to show each other that together is the way we will overcome this threat to our freedom of movement, to our very way of lives. But, of course, when I say together I’m referring to the spiritual, not the physical – we, all of us, must follow the guidelines set down by the World Health Organization and our governments.
Keep Calm, Keep informed, and Carry on safely
Due to the rapid development of circumstances surrounding the disease and its rapacious, international expansion, it’s becoming an increasingly difficult subject to keep relevant on, what with the daily News having been almost entirely taken over by what is popularly known as coronavirus. This can be a good thing - obviously, where News is concerned there are important benefits, such as keeping informed of the latest developments and getting up-to -the-minute bulletins - the correct advice on how to keep you and those around you healthy - to slow down and hinder the enemy’s advance. However, there’s an absolutely astonishing amount of News out there right now, so we need to be careful. In this ever-increasing environment of information, sadly, there is also dis-information to be found, as in any war.
The fight against wrongly held ‘popular beliefs’ and just plain ignorance could save many lives. Some examples of this seem harmless, such as the difference between the disease and the virus, although The World Health Organisation did feel that it had to officially announce the names for the virus (previously known as “2019 novel coronavirus”) and the disease it causes. Just in case, here they are - Disease, coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and the Virus which causes it - severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Mind you, even the WHO, (no not the rock group) have taken to saying the COVID-19 virus! So, I guess it’s not too difficult to get confused. But, to ease you on the road to unconfusion (sic), here is a handy little Myth Busters guide, complete with info-graphics that’ll help you to sort out the fatuous fiction from the firm facts.
Sublimely ridiculous – Panic on the streets of ...
At times, people probably puzzle you as much as they do me, but occasionally, some are more confusing than a confederacy of dunces. All of a sudden there’s a passionate, frenzied fashion for toilet paper! Why? There’s a certain, surreal humour watching swarms of the sheep-like self-interested grasping and grabbing at toilet rolls in their local supermarkets. But this is panic causing panic. This is not funny at all. This kind of lemming-like behaviour can cause real harm to our society. At ground level, normal people will go to their shops to find certain sections empty. Now, they may desperately be in need of the milk, flour or eggs that have been stripped bare from the shelves by human locusts; they may be the elderly or infirm, making increasingly risky tripsf to the shops for essentials. They may have to go without, suffer, or even have their health put at risk - simply because some people panic. Some people see other people panicking, and panic. However, sadly, this kind of behaviour is, (pardon the pun), pandemic, not just endemic to happy shoppers. Supposedly well-educated, informed individuals are just as susceptible, and with far greater damage to be done. We have seen panic in stock markets all over the world, and this could have far reaching, unpredictable ramifications for some time to come. The economic effects of this pandemic will send shockwaves through every strata of society. And the only way to lessen these effects will be to refuse to play the game of panic. It’s quite simple, if we don’t panic, we won’t panic. If you operate in the stock market, perform your professional duty, or in other words, as suggested by MarketWatch, ‘Don’t panic, do develop a plan’ – If you do, jobs and lives will be saved!
Do your homework, for now…
Remote working from the comfort of your own home can have many benefits. Ever wondered what the life of a Digital Nomad is like? Well, you may get the chance to try it, at least the digital part, anyway! Many of us are now new captains of the home-comforts keyboard, with working from where you lay your hat now considered to be an effective measure against the spread of COVID-19. This digital solution to work, could work out quite well and prove one or two interesting things; namely that it really is possible to do many of the jobs we do, from home.
Although, having said that, I can also see an explosion of travel for both business and pleasure when we eventually get over this, and we will. People need people, real people – nothing will ever substitute a friendly face-to-face chat with a colleague or business contact. People love to travel and work in different cultures; entrepreneurs will continue to investigate and stimulate national and international markets by being where the action is. Doing business is sometimes in the details, and details can be missed at a distance. Also, people have more trust in a person they have actually met, being present can help your presentation. So, while remote working might provide us with a great digital solution to our immediate problems, and the limits on Travel within and from the EU, amongst other territories, the future of physical global mobility is assured, and in fact will possibly increase due to our collective necessity to see what’s out there once again.
Let’s end on a positive note. Here are some facts about COVID-19 to keep you in good spirits.
- We have identified what it is. The first cases of severe pneumonia were reported in China, on 31st December 2019, and by 7th January the virus had already been identified. The genome was available on day 10, so we already know that it is a new group 2B coronavirus, from the same family as SARS.
- We know how to detect it. From 13th January an RT-PCR assay to detect the virus became widely available, and in recent months these types of tests have been steadily improved and perfected.
- The situation in China is improving fast. The control and isolation measures adopted by China are paying off. For several weeks now, the number of diagnosed cases has been steadily decreasing every day.
- The vast majority of people get better. The data that is generally shown in the media, is the increase in the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths, but most infected people get cured.Thirteen times more patients recover than become fatalities, and that proportion is increasing.
- The virus can be easily inactivated. It can be effectively inactivated from surfaces with an ethanol solution (62-71% alcohol), hydrogen peroxide (0.5% hydrogen peroxide), or sodium hypochlorite (0.1% bleach), in just one minute. But don’t forget to wash your hands, as frequent hand washing with soap and water is the most effective way to avoid contagion.
- At the time of writing (16th March 2020), there are already well over 2,200 scientific articles about the virus and the disease it causes. These can now be consulted in PubMed about COVID19 or SARSCov2. These articles have been published by authors from around the entire globe.
- There are already prototypes of vaccines. Our ability to design new vaccines is spectacular. There are already more than eight projects working against the new coronavirus. Companies such as Moderna are working on a vaccine called mRNA-1273, Inovio Pharmaceuticals has announced a synthetic DNA vaccine for the new coronavirus, INO-4800, the University of Queensland, in Australia, has announced that it is already working on a prototype vaccine, using a technique called molecular clamp, allowing vaccines to be produced using the virus genome in record time. Novavax is another biotech company that has announced its work with the coronavirus. While, in Spain, the group of Luis Enjuanes and Isabel Sola of the CNB-CSIC have been working on coronavirus vaccines for years. And whilst not immediately, some of these prototypes will soon be available for human trials.
- There are hundreds of ongoing clinical trials of antivirals. And, importantly, there are possible treatments for people who are already sick. There are already more than 80 clinical trials to analyse coronavirus treatments. These are antivirals that have been used for other infections, that are already approved and that we know are safe.
- We have never been better prepared to deal with such a pandemic, with the cooperation between science, tech and medicine. Although, we could have just paid more attention to one of the cleverest men on the planet, Bill Gates in 2015.
- Enormous community spirit and support has been demonstrated by some of the countries worst hit by the disease. In Italy, whole neighbourhoods, confined to their flats, sing passionate renditions of their national anthem to each other. In Spain, each evening, whole streets hang outside their windows, or stand on their balconies to applaud the monumental efforts of the health service, and to demonstrate solidarity. In fact, globally, we can turn adversity into triumph – where there is humanity, there is hope!
Well, if only we had listened to Bill Gates...
Clive Welland, March 16th, 2020
The Globexs Experience
Globexs embraces Global Mobility, we are passionate about it. We believe that everyone should be an expat, remote worker, digital nomad, erasmus student.... at least for a brief period in their lives. We believe that global mobility brings people together. We believe that embracing global mobility is the best way to improve the world around us.
At Globexs we are especially sensitive to the current situation and the impact that the crisis caused by the COVID-19 is having on the daily life of our customers, affiliates and partners. In a serious commitment to protect our customers and partners and avoid potential contagion, we have installed a serie of protocols.