Edward Lorenz postulated that a butterfly flapping its wings over Brazil might cause a tornado in Texas. It seems impossible that how could a butterfly can cause this much change. But we look at things around us and changes which are the result of collective small actions in the past. A small change can make much bigger changes happen. More scientifically, the Butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions. We are part of complex system where to predict some changes for longer period of time is difficult. There are changes that are not linear and explained under chaos theory. Chaos theory deals with things that are impossible to predict and control. Chaos is the inherent unpredictability in the behavior of natural complex systems. Interestingly, chaotic systems have beautifully ordered structures inside.
Globalized diseases and epidemics are similar examples of a butterfly effect. COVID-19 outbreak in china resulted in the lockdown around the globe affecting education, business, travel, and the whole lifestyle. Interconnected ecosystems, economy, and social sustainability equally affect the spread and control of such diseases. This pandemic targets already fragile assets. Countries like Pakistan with inefficient facilities for screening and control are on the verge of more loss than the developed nations.
Resilience towards such epidemics which seem to be unpredictable and devastating is something which is orderly structured and predictable. China managed to control and isolate people with symptoms but in Pakistan it would be difficult to even identify symptoms with the shortage of hand sanitizers and masks from the market. There are climatic conditions which affect the spread of these types of epidemics. If Coronavirus was spread by eating pattern in China, it may be supported by temperature variations in other countries thus affecting the globe and staying for longer period. Countries with strong economy respond differently than a struggling one.
Reactions towards such conditions and media create more havoc. To be proactive is an intelligent approach but to create anxiety just to create hype is immoral. We hear news of quarantine and ban on travelling on daily basis and then someone shares an experience. Recent tweet by Jibran Nasir tells a different story.
There are people who take this very seriously and take all the preventive measures. Then there is misinformation like mortality rate and treatment. Most of the people think this as more political issue than a health emergency. Some have already declared this as biological war. We should be more concerned about quarantine while travelling.
Need of the time is a collaborative effort among countries without any political benefit. We need to be more human than a leader or superpower. Countries like Pakistan should focus on more research and control in future as well. We should be more resilient because as butterfly’s wings flap epidemics and such emergencies will continue to occur.
by: Ayesha Mushtaq