Now that the coronavirus is a pandemic that isn’t going to die out soon, and after a lockdown of more than six weeks, the number of infections are only surging, it’s an inevitable moment we’ve arrived at; inevitable not only from economic but also medical (care) perspective.  About Covid-19 patients and the hospitals with a long backlog of life saving surgeries and procedures, the country’s health system should now be alarmed of high demands of specialist surgeries, ICU beds, life-saving medicines, and shortage of healthcare workers to handle the potential mad dash situation expected to arise out of non-Covid patients soon after the lifting of restrictions! It’s probably time the patients of the pandemic should be managed like a chronic disease, not as the only disease affecting the masses. However challenging the treatment, isolation and healthcare-worker-protection protocols for Covid-19 are, it should now join the other illness curves of the country’s health-care system. We have to find ways to resume life and return back to a somewhat ‘newer version’ of the older times but this time with the virus living amongst us. We’re aware that we’re now entering a new world, a new era. We all have no other way but to live with this enemy (virus) and thrive for financial and social wellbeing. The argument to justify lockdown — the moral and ethical perspective — that it saves lives, is now getting shifted. Lockdowns in various states has shut down the vaccination programmes in infants and children in a country with a dense population and a plethora of infectious diseases — where 4.4 lakh people died of infectious diseases last year — will raise the incidence of childhood deaths and disfigurement from polio, tetanus, diphtheria or measles; repercussions of this altered vaccination programs in our country will be felt for many years into the future.  Many of us have already been suffering from the trajectory of coronavirus as it’s delaying our life saving cancer surgeries, cardiac procedures and other treatment protocols; it’s time we need to decide how far more can these be delayed?
Governments in states with low incidence of coronavirus — and there are many — should fill this decision void by allowing hospitals to proceed with surgeries and life-saving treatment maneuvers as soon as possible. Hospitals may need special Covid wards and other temporary facilities until there’re effective therapies and a vaccine available in the market at the fag end of this year or early next year.
We now have to try and return to a world reimagined for the age of coronavirus, where social distancing, appropriate hygiene standards and government-imposed restrictions for better public health management are infused into nearly every activity of ours — a way of life that is likely to persist until a vaccine or a treatment is found and ready for use in the market. We have to start living everyday life quarantine as being practiced in South Korea. The government authorities should release a well-researched guide containing advice on situations like going to the movies (“refrain from crowding the elevators or entry gate to the screens or shouting”) and attending social occasions (“fold your hands or wave at someone instead of shaking hands, hugging or even tapping on shoulders”).

The new social customs and mandates in Beijing, Hong Kong and Seoul, as well as Sydney, Australia and Taiwan — countries that have successfully controlled the pandemic offer a real-life preview of what might soon be common to people all over the globe.  In these countries, people are going out — but physical distancing, masks, gloves, alcohol sprays and a few public restrictions have become the new normal. In Hong Kong, tables at restaurants are mandated to be spaced at least five feet apart and customers are handed over bags to store their face masks during dining. In South Korea, baseball games are devoid of fans and players can’t spit on the field. The spectator galleries are filled with colourful banners and mannequins to make the players have a feel of a full stadium. Hair salons in Sydney, are back in business with abundant supplies of masks, gloves and hand sanitizer. At some, magazines are no longer handed out to customers or beverages are no longer offered. A few governments are imposing guidelines on how many people can gather. In Sydney, residents are allowed to host only two guests at a time in their homes, while Hong Kong has prohibited more than four gatherings in public places. In Taiwan, this number goes up to 500 people at a time for outdoor gatherings. Also advisories recommend avoiding air travel and instead go for a drive as one knows where all the surfaces inside his/her car have been but not know the same about the aircrafts, and you share the closed interior of the car with your family or a few close associates whose health status you are more likely to know.
Out of all the challenges of resuming life after a lockdown, reopening the schools and educational institutes is the biggest. Classrooms are hotbeds of germs and close contacts physical and social. In Sydney phase-wise reopening of schools are in place, holding classes one day a week for a quarter of the students from each grade, and slowly expanding the class size until the end of June.  In a Chinese city Hangzhou, an elementary school asked children to make their own hats with three-foot long cardboard wings to learn about social distancing. As they attended school with their hats, they answered questions from teachers about the incubation period, about coronavirus and its symptoms and precautions to be taken. In Taiwan, schools have cancelled the morning assemblies and mandated students to wear masks and wash their hands frequently, and to refrain from hugging, laughing close to one another or speaking while they eat and discouraged contact sports.
Technology is a big helping hand for governments and businesses that now has to adjust and adapt to the demands of social distancing. In Seoul, in some movie theatres   robots are set to offer customers information like details on movie schedules, and the location of restrooms or elevators. Snacks are distributed through a zero hand touch automated kiosks. Apps are being used to track the health and travel history of residents, and they are mandated to show their data through QR codes to gain entry into restaurants, office buildings and apartment complexes.
Old standards are suddenly not good enough anymore. Physical distancing is one thing that is definitely here to stay. Many people in the countries that have come out of lockdown of weeks and months, say they are left with no choice but to embrace the changes to live with the virus as economic suicide will help no one, and they all are trying to come to terms with the restricted ways and spontaneity of life.