People & Money

It’s Not a Nuclear War but the COVID-19 Outbreak Feels Like It

By Lande Abudu (Ms. Football)

Despite what might seem to be doom and gloom, I retain a lot of hope that our natural resilience will see us through…

Many moons ago at prep school, I read a book called Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien. The book is about a teenage girl, the only survivor of a nuclear war. It resonated with me despite my being scared witless. The Cold War and the fear of nuclear Armageddon was very much a reality. Just as we started to get comfortable, came the Chernobyl disaster; it could happen anywhere! We panicked afresh and wanted to change the world. At the time, aligning with Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) became de rigueur.

Fast forward to 2020; having survived numerous threats of nuclear war, witnessed glasnost and perestroika that contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union and communism, manoeuvred past Y2K and other end-of-the-world predictions, the fragility of our existence is laid bare by the current global lockdown as a result of the coronavirus (COVID 19) outbreak. Fear and uncertainty dominate our lives. Unprecedented scenes around the world show us the increasing death toll amid struggling healthcare facilities. The socio-economic consequence will be huge. We are all living with heightened anxiety. What does the future hold and where will all this end? We have no answers.

To borrow from a young man’s comment after the fall of the Berlin Wall, ‘freedom is the most precious possession.’ Never has this been more apparent. The threat to our freedom, the dramatic change to our way of life has been a shock to the system. We are no longer entirely in control of our future.

Within this surreal atmosphere, there are some positives to take away – the lockdown presents us all with a chance to reassess our priorities and to appreciate how interconnected we all are. Despite numerous memes depicting spouses’ horror at sharing the same space for a prolonged time, it is a time for families to refresh their bonds. It is also a time that has shown us the dedication of frontline healthcare professionals all over the world, battling tirelessly under immense pressure, to keep the coronavirus at bay. Individual acts of kindness are being shared across all media and community resilience is highlighted every day. For every thoughtless prankster trying to scare us with social media misinformation, there are many more working to ensure that we have verified facts that will help us all cope in these uncertain times.

Without a doubt, it’s going to be a long road back to normalcy. Millions will have to make sacrifices and it is uncertain exactly how the recovery will pan out. Despite what might seem to be doom and gloom, I retain a lot of hope that our natural resilience will see us through as my thoughts remain with those who have been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. We must remain resolute in the fight.

Lande is Executive Secretary, Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria.

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