Pandemics come and go but real change is possible

Will we embrace the changes made necessary by COVID-19?

Pandemics come and go but real change is possible

Sunday columnist Peter Leith is 90 and a committed participant in all facets of life. He has his say on what we are learning from COVID-19 – and whether we will retain that knowledge in the long term.


The world has experienced a number of life-changing pandemics. But not many have been so sudden, so widespread and so deadly as COVID-19. What are we learning from this deadly virus?

The coronavirus and the need for social isolation to contain its spread have given an enormous boost to electronic communication. To the hand-held miracle of the smartphone has been added the inter-group and international communication capacity of the computer and apps such as Zoom and Google Hangouts.

We have started to discover how far ‘working from home’, which now has its own acronym wfh, can be stretched. We have discovered how many hours it takes to fill office towers in CBDs, given self-distancing rules on public transport. Organisations of all kinds in all countries are discovering that some of their workforce can work from home while others can work in and from multiple other locations. 

What will we do with what we are learning?

Hopefully, we will learn that the specialised ‘office’ or ‘residential’ towers can, and should, become ‘multi-purpose towers’ incorporating entertainment and retail venues in their lower levels, offices in the middle floors and residential accommodation up to their solar-topped heliport-equipped roofs.

Will we learn these lessons?

Do you believe we will maintain the positive changes made necessary by COVID? Do you have a story or an observation for Peter? Send it to and put ‘Sunday’ in the subject line.

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    Old Silver Fox
    26th Jul 2020
    On a state level we have learned what a totally incompetent mob run the State of Victoria.
    26th Jul 2020
    Not sure I agree with you, Old Silver Fox. NSW has had its issues, too. And, I wonder, if Scott Morrison were a State Premier or Chief Minister, what kind of a fist he would have made of the task?
    26th Jul 2020
    Change takes place continually for all sorts of reasons. Covid-19 is unnatural and the changes forced upon us are unnatural. Some of the changes might stick out of fear, but there are no good ones, and most will disappear as soon the pandemic dies out.
    26th Jul 2020
    I am hoping that this pandemic will prompt a worldwide consensus leading to social welfare for all as the priority job for all governments, an end to austerity policies, and rapid action and high spending to slow the damage to the environment. I'm not holding my breath, but possibly the second wave of covid19 will drive even more public anger to achieve real change.

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