The Machiavellian virus

Photo by Hailey Kean on Unsplash

The worst effect of Covid-19 is not that it has no cure.  The pandemic may even end sooner than we think because the vaccine will come faster. All the scientists in the world are after it and the technical and legal deadlines that are normally used – 18 months – will not be respected because the advantage of finding a vaccine is more important than any patent registration. 

The worst effect of the pandemic is not the deaths, always tragic individually, but which will soon be seen only as statistics. They will be counted as humanity has done before with all the wars, plagues and calamities the planet has ever experienced. It is only history if it is written.

The worst of the pandemic is not the effect on the economy either because, as in every crisis, it will purge the economic environment, wiping out old and inefficient companies and creating others. The pandemic will probably be even the biggest catalyst for business innovation ever. New businesses will appear and others will reinvent themselves. New practices of sustainability, equity and responsibility will be a new standard to follow. 

The worst effect of the pandemic is also not having everyone in the home office.  Remote working practices are causing a real revolution in working practices. Productivity increases because each worker saves on average three hours a day in transit and pollution. And more cyber security is guessed.

The worst in the Pandemic is not social withdrawal either. This isolation is not separating people; it is creating new forms of relationaal validation.  The new modes of interpersonal communication – video calls and video conferences, bringing groups and teams together at a distance – being used generically and without any questioning, are causing profound and perennial changes in the mechanisms of building interpersonal and coporative trust.

The worst effect of the pandemic is collateral, silent and we do not yet know how we will deal with it. It is called post-traumatic stress and is the greatest challenge facing humanity. 

When people go out on the streets shouting freedom, celebrating humanity’s victory over the virus, there will be a new problem to solve. Because this time it will not only be the soldiers coming from the battlefield having nightmares. This time we will all be looking at each other without knowing how to react to the presence of the other, whether or not it is safe to give a kiss or hold the hand. 

The biggest victim of the pandemic will be love. 

Originally published at IstoÉ Magazine; May the 1st, 2020