The COVID-19 pandemic is a major life-changer and brought about realisations to many of us.  Anything can happen. Who would have imagined that the whole world will experience this thing that we only see in movie plots? Nobody is immune to death. Even wealthy and powerful people are vulnerable to infection.

When the healthcare system collapses, hospitals become understaffed and hospital bed capacities become full, no amount of money can get you an ICU bed. Anybody can become an unfortunate casualty of the current circumstances. And of course, the old adage that everyone has heard of; health is wealth. The pandemic definitely showed all of us that being healthy is the greatest blessing because it gives us a better chance of surviving and staying alive.

Many can also relate to being unemployed or working remotely during the height of the pandemic. Businesses closed operations for safety reasons and some companies had to downsize their workforce by retaining some for temporary work from home set-up and by dismissing some whose functions were redundant or no longer relevant to the company.

The immediate negative effect of these events was lesser or lost income. But after some time, many people found new jobs or new home projects that kept them productive and happy. In fact, some of us may have realized that being at home made us appreciate the simplicity of life.

Without the busy schedule and numerous things that kept us away from home for the most part of our live pre-pandemic, we now have the time and intention to explore and organize our homes. More importantly, many of us found time to bond with our family which makes staying at home some kind of a staycation-like reality. Come to think of it, the only time we truly bonded with our families pre-pandemic was during vacations.

And COVID forced us to take a long vacation at home, maybe with less money but with more free time to do what we want with the people we want to spend time with. We were able to experience a different work/life perspective because of the community quarantines.

Those of us who survived retrenchment was temporarily assigned to work remotely. At first, the sudden change led to difficulties due to a changing work environment. Distractions were plenty in the form of noisy kids and pets, the temptation to take longer breaks as we work on our own, and the lack of boundary between the designated work area and the home area. But as the pandemic lasted for almost two years, companies and employees established ways to stay on top of their tasks.

Some missed their workplace while others wished to stay working remotely even after the pandemic. People got used to not having to commute, eating home-cooked meals, and working on their loungewear. Thanks to modern technology, most businesses found that they can function even without an actual office, with the exception of those working in healthcare, the food industry, and other essential services that cannot be done while working from home. More than ever, the corporate world has become adaptable and flexible because of the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Aside from the strength, we developed by adjusting our lives to the new way of life during the pandemic, the virus also gave us valuable lessons from millions of infections and deaths. It is that we should be cautious and vigilant as our way of life is now slowly returning to a pre-pandemic state.

We now have more evidence-based health protocols, stronger antiviral and anti-inflammatory drug treatment regimen specifically developed against COVID-19, and more convenient yet still accurate ways of detecting the virus in the body. Unlike at the start of the pandemic when everything was unfamiliar and chaotic, we are now returning to a new normal that is more prepared and organized.

As businesses and schools re-open, pioneering companies like Vaccin8 Plus in Australia are conducting rapid antigen testing using saliva as the specimen through a mobile medical service provider. Although the most accurate test to detect the virus in the body is still the RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction), the rapid antigen test is also highly accurate.

Especially when done by trained personnel like those in Vaccin8 Plus and if the test is done 5 to 7 weeks after the last exposure to a positive individual, the accuracy of a negative result is 99% correct according to existing data. A positive result may be confirmed through the gold standard RT-PCR test. A strengthened strategy for prevention and case detection is one of the most effective ways to combat another surge of infection in the future.

To sum it up, the current pandemic is both a curse and a blessing to humanity. Many lives were lost and altered because of this novel viral infection. Millions of people are still recovering from the physical damages of COVID 19 to their bodies and billions more are trying to get on with life despite the continuing threat of infection in our midst. But for all of us who stayed uninfected or who got infected but are still alive, we now know that we can survive and outlive the virus as long as we keep our body, mind, and faith indestructible as individuals and as a community.