The new normal

May 15 2020
Mauren esquivel

The strategy followed by our countries has consisted of "flatten the curve". That is, to reduce the speed of transmission of COVID-19 so as not to saturate the capacity of health systems, through measures of distancing and social isolation, including border closures, vehicle restrictions and control of citizens' freedom of movement. . This strategy It has proven to be effective in terms of its impact in reducing the number of infected, although affecting economic activity.

"Flattening the curve" controls the spread of the virus and prevents the collapse of the health system, but does not eliminate COVID-19, it is a temporary measure. There is still no treatment, and the vacuna is expected by the end of 2021. The new normal is living with the virus; Because of the economic and social costs of "flattening the curve" it is not a strategy that can be permanently maintained until the cure or the vaccine arrives. In that sense, the virus will be present in our activities, and a second or third wave of infections is a possibility.

To contain these waves of contagion, the strategy to follow consists of a monitoring system, in which with certain protocols, and depending on the evolution of the pandemic, social distancing mechanisms will be applied intermittently, whether they are focused or general.

The design of this strategy economic reactivation it must be done in stages and sequentially, considering health, geographic, social and economic impact criteria. The two basic axes for prioritizing economic sectors must be contagion risk and economic and social relevance.

The protocols to follow, in general, they are considering the following criteria:

Telecommuting when possible

Physical distancing in the workplace

Hygiene measures in physical spaces

Daily collection of health data (temperature)

Daily reporting systems

Verification and compliance mechanisms

Communication with health authorities

But the constant monitoring of the evolution of the pandemic will be the dominant factor in the opening strategy. Accelerated growth in infections would lead to a return to more restrictive social distancing measures. In that sense, lhe effectiveness with which the protocols can be implemented will be decisive to avoid stricter measures and more periods of social distancing during the economic reactivation stage.

Hopefully, in this new normal, there are sectors that can adapt more easily, while others will have to change the way they work in order to remain active. For example, while agricultural activities can work with a level of protocols basics focused on social distance and health measures; the manufactures They will have to follow these measures but also condition the workplace and modify production, exit and lunch shifts, implement COVID-19 testing mechanisms,

divide work teams, among other actions.

Companies must be clear about the risks of their activities and their workplaces, identify what actions to take to prevent and reduce contagion between employees and customers, maintain sanitary measures in all operations, and generate a dynamic of communication and trust with both employees. as with clients.

The customer relationship part will be key, as some analysts are considering at least two long-term effects on the behavior of consumers, first an increase in the E-commerce, this pandemic has made more people learn to buy basic goods from home, in United States Orders grew by 110%, in Canada 59%, in Mexico 74%, and in Colombia 147%. growth with respect to the previous year; and secondly, consumers will look for clean environments and places that guarantee a low probability of contagion, this will affect mainly to the tourism sector, restaurants and bars, there will be tourists who will not reach countries where the virus is not controlled.


Finally, these dynamics in the new normal will require changes in people's behavior, no longer greet with a handshake, until using face mask in the streets, or watch matches of football with the stadiums empty and closed. Adapting to this new normal will be essential to recover what was lost in this "Great Pause" or "Great Confinement" and to heal the economic and social part that has been affected. And although some aspects of the new normal are here to stay and offer new possibilities for business and well-being, it is clear that the economic performance and social progress of the countries will depend on the efficiency and discipline to contain the spread of the virus in its different waves of contagion. minimizing the deterioration in the productive capacity of their economies.