COVID-19 has changed the world forever

How will we respond to the world, and each other, after Covid-19? Form1 CEO, Steve Shirlaw, shares his insights on life now, and after, a pandemic. 

COVID19 (Coronavirus) has brought about interesting times. Who would have thought we would be a part of something in history that would turn the world upside down in a moment?

It’s an interesting time to be alive and it will be an interesting time when we look back and reflect, not only on the experience, but on what we have learnt and what we have endured. 

Everyone is coping with the pandemic differently and every Country has their own plans in place. Some, it seems, are struggling more than others, yet Australia and New Zealand appear to be getting it right, as best they can, in these uncertain times.

COVID-19 has changed the world forever. Some say, ‘We needed this to happen, so the world could breathe again’. Others are counting down the days until it is over. And yet, I feel there may be some good to come out of this, especially for the environment.

When you go out each day and look around, there seems to be stolen moments of peace. Moments when everything looks calm – the water in the harbour is clear; trees and plants have never look greener; and the rain has returned, after our worst bushfire season ever. And as I sit here and write I can hear birds tweeting in the background.

Harsh reality and unsung heroes

And with all of this comes harsh realities – endless deaths and illness of those struck down by a virus that we have no idea how to defeat. Financially the world is in ruin and Governments are trying desperately to help those in need and keep the economy intact. After months of COVID-19 we are, it seems, no closer to a vaccine and the death toll rises daily, at a rate of 21% to the recovered.

Then there are the individual struggles of so many. Some people are grief stricken, after losing a loved one, others are on edge watching someone they know fight for their life, and some live in fear as they battle the virus firsthand. 

What about those who have been financially stricken? Many of us know somebody affected, due to the loss of their job, or their partners. The financial stress of mortgage repayments, rent and food is overwhelming. And many have no control, or knowledge, of when they will get back to work.

Then there are the additional stresses – having kids at home, full time, as schools remain closed. Trying to juggle home schooling with daily life and for those who have jobs, managing kids and work so they can maintain an income. 

Every day we hear of businesses that have been torn apart and had to shut their doors due to social distancing and self-isolation. All their hard work gone for now and for many gone forever. For some, years of self-sacrifice will amount to nothing and for others, they will try and re-invent their business just to survive. 

On the flip side we have endless heroes. From doctors, nurses and the military, to the emergency services, risking their lives every day. And it doesn’t stop there. Think of the unsung heroes who never get the recognition they deserve – cleaners and maintenance teams at hospitals, staff in supermarkets, stacking shelves and serving us, to the chemists and people delivering goods. The list goes on. Everyday people supporting our community so we can arrive on the other side, together and in the best shape we can. I feel so passionate about this. About the people who risk their lives and I know it’s my duty to support them in the best way I can. 

It’s time to step up

Like many of us I am one of the fortunate ones – I am healthy and grateful that I can play a small part in keeping others safe. We have been told to #stayhome – in our own homes with food, a bed and the usual items we love. Some people struggle with this. Is it their greed or thoughts of themselves, not others, that get the better of them? Some people will put other’s lives at risk for their own self-interest, and some are not grateful that they have a job, money, or a home to stay safe in. Others would love to switch places. Some people are still wanting more, which raises the question, what have we, or will we, learn from this whole experience?

On the other side of COVID19 we will face more, and very different, challenges. If we stop for a moment to think of those around us, we will all know someone struggling through this crisis. Mental health, suicide and domestic violence are on the rise and increasing as fast as alcohol sales.

In the weeks and months to come we will need to provide more support to those who are suffering. To help those who need to recover mentally, physically and financially. What if we could take a moment now? To step up to the challenge and not wait til the end? What if we could make a conscious choice to reach out to those who need help? To be vigilant and look out for the signs? 

One little gesture, one 5-minute phone call, an unexpected question or one simple thank you, might be all it takes to support someone that you know in need. If each of us can change one person’s life, today, we may have an incredible outcome on the other side of this. 

We are seeing right now how quickly things can travel across the world. So how quickly could we spread love and hope? Sometimes you will never know that you have changed a person’s day or saved their life, but if you did what an incredible feeling it would be.

Today, while we may have to practice social distancing and stay at home, I invite you to innovate and find a way to make a real difference to somebody’s day. 


This month – reach out and connect

Last year I went through a special time where I chose to call one person every week to ask them how they are and say thank you. Today, I encourage you to do the same.

Choose a new person each week, for the next six weeks, and reach out to them.

Ask them how they are, or let them know how grateful you are for them. One short call or text message can have a huge impact on someone’s life, as well as your own. Let’s start now and support each other to come out of COVID-19 as strong as we can.