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The Big Change Will Be Adapting to Change

The world has already changed: the challenge the first virus 2.0 puts on the table

COVID-19 is not changing the world. Instead, it is a consequence of big changes that have already occurred, which are ever more evident with this pandemic and  to which we must adapt so as not to disappear.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines coronavirus as "a wide family of viruses that can cause various conditions, from a common cold to more serious diseases."
In 2002, the world faced another disease caused by a coronavirus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS, which hit some 25 countries.

In 2012 we fought yet another, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS, which also caused infections and deaths in more than 30 countries.

COVID-19 is nothing less than the third disease a coronavirus has released on the world in the past 18 years.

Why then is its relevance substantially different from that of SARS and MERS at their time?
The answer is this is the first virus 2.0.

Indeed, in 2002 there was no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and the idea of the iPhone had yet to even spring from Steve Jobs’ head.

In 2012, 2 billion fewer people than today had Internet access throughout the world.
The huge technological developments of the last 20 years have given rise to advances that were once unimaginable, generating a global state of hyperconnectivity whose most outstanding features are the empowerment of people, the rise of a sphere of relationships such as social networks in which we are all equal players, and the need to find issues or causes of collective interest to connect with others.

Communication as those of us born between the 1960s and 1990s -and even in the early years of this century- knew it, no longer exists.

This is what makes COVID-19 different from the illnesses presented by any other coronavirus that the world has had to deal with in the  past.

As the world is different and works differently, the answers we gave before to the challenges we had to face no longer work against similar challenges today.
We must change to adapt to the change that has already occurred, a transformation this pandemic has made brutally evident.

The intense conversation about both the sanitary and economic measures adopted by different governments, which bears no similarity to the way in which the fight against SARS or MERS had been debated, proves this change can no longer wait.
The interesting thing is the same happens in every field other than health: what we once used to fight a challenge is no longer functional today.

The computer hard drive on which we kept the solutions we put into practice with each past problem is long dead, and now we must start from scratch with each new case.
And in this scenario in which communication no longer exists as it once did, individual actors are already empowered and it is necessary to connect based on things that interest us all, the key is finding a shared purpose.

Therein lies the post-pandemic challenge.

Finding a shared purpose that will allow us to connect more effectively and begin more assuredly along the path of economic recovery that all of us will be forced to travel together.

Changing to adapt to a change that has already occurred.

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