An Excerpt of my Submission to the Covid-19 Short Story Competition held June/July 2020 organised by Writer Association of the Gambia (WAG) and National Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC)
For the first time in a long time, the entire world shut down for months. Approximately one hundred and sixty days, three thousand six hundred and fifty hours, twelve thousand nine hundred and sixty seconds, the world remain under lock down. Businesses halt, normal life interrupted, economic and social activities disrupted. This is the story of an invincible foe. This foe referred to here is a virus, a highly contagious and deadly virus. According to World Health Organisation – Regional Office for Africa, “Corona-viruses are a family of viruses that includes the common cold, SARS and MERS. The most recent outbreak involves a new strain that previously had not been identified in humans”. The emergence and spread of this virus is unprecedented and quite catastrophic. The first case was reported to WHO Country Office in China December 2019 as a pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan. Subsequently, in 11th February 2020, they announce a name for the new corona-virus disease: COVID-19, little did we know we are face with a mortal enemy of 21st century, until 11th March, 2020 when it was declared a global pandemic.
The social impacts of covid-19 goes beyond the social distancing intricacies; the restrictions has stop the economic activities of daily income earners in the informal sector. Social distancing has forced companies and job industries to embrace virtual working spaces; working remotely from home. Meanwhile, it close schools, football fields and markets.
Furthermore, it has triggered economic crisis and financial fall-outs across the globe. Since the onset of the pandemic, thousands of jobs are lost, unemployment escalates – especially in the informal sectors. While thousands are ask to work from home or shift duties at work in observance of social and physical distancing, informal workers are left in dilemma in a debacle. According to International Labour Organisation, “about 1.6 billion workers have suffered massive damage to their ability to earn a living”. In hindsight, just as covid-19 attack populations, so does it to the economy. Job industries such as tourism, airlines and hotels are the most affected, as they’re left are at a standstill for more than three months. Economists and analysts have argued that, the world could be witnessing the greatest financial depression since 2008.
More disturbingly, food insecurity has threatened third world countries if the lock down is not ease for economic activities. World Food Program (WFP) has warn global leaders, that 2020 would bring the “worst humanitarian crisis since world war two” as already, an estimated 135 million people face starvation globally. In Gambia, food scarcity is expected to ensue if the lock down continues without stimulus packages for consumers, especially those in the informal sectors. This invincible foe has affect lives and livelihoods unimaginably, thus, humanity and the world in general, may never be same again.