Most of us are used to socializing here and there after work, regular gym sessions, or a casual outing during the weekends. But for almost two months and a half, we have all been stuck, nay safe, at homes. Once lively shopping districts, crowded bars, and busy roads are empty these days. Days have changed and the occasional grocery run has become our source for a serotonin rush. This is life in times of Coronavirus.
Time has no meaning during life in quarantine. It seems like time has frozen, yet April has come and gone and we did not even realize. You wake up at 2 in the afternoon, go to sleep at 5 in the morning, and days have started blending into one another. Every day we make a promise to ourselves that we would be productive, get a new hobby, or even organize that dresser. But instead, we are glued to the coronavirus update, get anxious about the new cases and deaths, and the uncertainty of what the future holds for us. To stop yourself from spiralling, you end up doing a Netflix binge at night.
It may seem like a hassle, but staying at home is essential. You are annoyed at having to stay at home every day, but you also know that staying at home can prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, and protect those who are at a higher risk. Life as you knew it, is not the same anymore.L
We have often studied about how pandemics have swept off thousands from the face of the Earth. Who would have thought that this world, running on innovations and technologies, would be pushed back into their houses causing complete lockdowns in countries across the globe.
Yes, coronavirus has tied everyone, from the most developed to the developing countries in its clutches.
It’s ironic how a virus has combined the first, second and third world countries into ONE WORLD, fighting and helping each other in these times.
Having originated from Wuhan in China, coronavirus has caused devastation in European countries like Italy, Spain, Germany, UK & has had worse impacts in the USA.
Whereas countries like Taiwan, South Korea have been able to flatten their curves, other countries in Asia are taking proactive measures to curb the spread of the virus.
India, the second most populous country in the world is putting in all efforts & resources to deal with COVID19. After a complete lockdown of over a month, some states in India have been able to contain the spread of the virus and even eliminate it completely by taking proactive measures.
Goa became the first COVID19 free state in India, followed by Manipur, Sikkim and other north easter states and a few other Union Territories like Daman & Diu, Adaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep. As coronavirus cases started spreading across India, few states were quick enough to impose safety measures and lockdowns much before the centre announced a nationwide lockdown.
The first case in India arrived in Kerala.
And that was it! Kerala started thermal screening of all incoming passengers. The state’s response system and agility in fighting covid derives it’s previous experience of managing the Nipah outbreak and devastating floods. A fastrack surveillance system of all passengers who had arrived from abroad was put in place. The root maps of where they went, who they interacted with was made available to the public to help in identification. The vulnerable & high risk populations are being tested thoroughly.
As Odisha is highly vulnerable to cyclones, the state has built over the last several years a very STRONG EMERGENCY RESPONSE SYSTEM. The state machinery is trained well in handling emergencies. Empowerment of citizens by advancing payments for social security schemes, timely sanction of financial aid for setting up infrastructure such as hospitals etc. has been the top priority of the state.
Apart from that, sealing of borders between states has been significant in containing community spread of the infection.
The government’s ‘Make In India’ is being seen as a new normal model for the country. Vitally important supplies to combat Covid-19 were made available as a testament to the potential of Make in India. Out of the required 75,000 ventilators, 60,000 are being manufactured in India only. Out of a total requirement of over 20 million PPEs, 35 domestic manufacturers have stepped up to fulfil the demand, supplying 13 million PPEs.
The government is providing aid to financially weaker sections of the society through its existing schemes. Special modes of transport have been arranged for migrant labourers to safely reach home from other states where they had been working before the outbreak of Coronavirus.
The government along with the private sector is transferring essentials, food items, medical equipment, PPE, etc through ‘Lifeline UDAN’, an initiative under the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Tones of material are transferred to and from various states everyday via aeroplanes.
Railway coaches, vacant government built houses and other spaces have been converted into quarantine centres to cover up any shortages for the future.
All Smart Cities have converted their Command and Control Centres into ‘COVID19 War Rooms’ for strict surveillance, public announcements. Cities have also developed their own apps to track movement of people under mandatory quarantine. Innovative ways of fumigating vast areas across cities are being deployed.
The civil society, NGOs, SHGs have all come together to help the poor & vulnerable groups in all states. Special guidelines have been drawn up for businesses and offices that are compulsorily working even during the lockdown.
India is not only taking several measures to combat the spread of coronavirus in the country, it is also helping the global world by supplying hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug to several countries. After 40 days of lockdown, the country has been divided into Green, Orange and Red zones (green being the safest) for activities to gradually open up for people to start earning their daily bread while observing safety and social distancing measures.
The recovery rate in India is increasing every day.
With restrictions and penalties in order, & volunteers, civil society members and local administration on one platform, India is emerging as a model in combating the virus in its own way.
“In these uncertain times, we would like you to know that we stand by you.”
Possibly the only constant in ‘these uncertain times’ has been brands hopping on to the bandwagon of declaring their eternal love and support towards their customers. As they leave the customers utterly baffled as to how these brands stand by them, the question that businesses truly need to ask themselves is whether their well-intended message is truly necessary.
There’s no doubt about the fact that the world has undergone massive changes in the past few months during the coronavirus pandemic. We have seen governments, businesses and individuals responding to the disaster in different ways, in an attempt to adjust to the new world. With all the ‘rebranding’ going around, it is no surprise that advertising agencies are on overdrive.
The pandemic coronavirus saw agencies treating it as a brief, instead of a life threatening disease. In came brands spacing out their logos to show social distancing, sending vague messages of support and comfort, and rebranding the message of washing hands in a million different ways. While they were entertaining to begin with, and annoying after a few days, quite a few businesses made themselves truly useful.
Along with the essential services, businesses stepped up by manufacturing and distributing medical products and equipment, providing free services of recruitment to those who lost their livelihood because of the N coronavirus, or simply donating money to the ones in need. This is where the role of advertising was amplified multiple times, to the brands as well as to the society.
The legendary copywriter, Claude Hopkins had insisted that while advertising exists for the sole purpose of selling a product, the most effective way of selling is by ‘humanising’ the brand. Essentially, he asked the businesses to be useful to the people, while making money. And who are we to disagree? During the time of the pandemic coronavirus, the businesses that are at work are the ones that need the limelight. Not only does it focus on the relevance and responsibility of the business, but it also builds on the trust of the consumers.
It is time for advertisers (and their clients) to realise that screaming “look at me” on social media is not appealing anymore. It never was. Customers like to take their business to the ones that have a soul, and are sensitive to the needs of the society. Unsurprisingly, focusing more on others advertises a brand more than trying to hog the spotlight does. As the world grapples with the N Coronavirus, it is important for some businesses to take a step back and say “this is not about me”, and for others to listen to Hopkins. Needless to say, he knew what he was talking about.