More than three months after a mystery virus emerged in China's Wuhan, the world has come to a screeching halt. Just a month ago we never expected something like this ever happens here. Just a month ago our life was very predictable, with a simple daily routine college, work, office. Coronavirus is most likely to take the lives of the oldest. COVID-19 is changing us all. The radical shifts we are seeing from the current pandemic include more people working from home, exams being canceled and 24-hour supermarkets closing at 8 pm. There has been a lot of inconveniences and safety protocols all to protect ourselves and contain the spread of an invisible COVID-19 enemy. Social or personal distancing, washing of hands regularly, avoiding large gatherings, lockdown, wearing of hand gloves, and face masks have become the normal way of living. Armed security officers have been deployed to enforce lockdown. Ironically, churches, mosques, and temples are now filled with empty spaces. Hospitals and cemeteries have become the busiest places on earth. You are tired of staying in the house. You are even scared to step out of your house. With all our investments in cash, gold, and diamonds, we can only buy food to eat. With our expensive clothes and shoes, only house clothes and pajamas are the latest fashion. Not all of these will result in negative changes. Many businesses will find they function effectively (and more cheaply) through remote working. We should also thank the lockdown for bringing us close to nature with pollution-free atmosphere, clear waters, and clear sight of mountain ranges with beautiful chirping Birds around us. This has afforded us to spend quality time with our families, spend time at home playing Carrom, Ludo, Cards, Table tennis, and cracking jokes with the children. But it will have the biggest effect on the life chances of the young. For final year university students, the impact will also strongly felt for years to come. They will graduate (without ceremonies) into an unstable world of work. Job fairs have already been canceled and hiring freezes are likely to follow. If hiring does return to normal levels in the future, this year’s graduates will not only be competing with their peers but also with next year’s graduates for open positions. There may not be enough space for everyone. The coronavirus has the potential to create a generation of socially-awkward, insecure, unemployed young people.
By Fazal Abbas