Will there be an end to corona threat?

Will there be an end to corona threat?

Human lives will be in danger till an effective vaccine is developed for the deadly COVID-19

A close friend of mine called me from the US last week. He's a US green card holder living in New Jersey with roots in Hyderabad, and has recently developed symptoms of coronavirus. "I have fever, cough and minor breathing problems.

Going by the symptoms, I know I contracted the deadly virus. I called up health officials here in New Jersey and requested them to take me to hospital. The doctor at the other end told me that symptoms were close to that of COVID-19, but refused to take me to hospital as there is a severe shortage of testing kits and ventilators.

I was told that only patients with severe breathing problems were being admitted into hospitals here. Sadly, they are not able to conduct tests on me to confirm whether I have virus or not despite repeated requests for the same for over a week," he poured out his woes.

The doctor suggested him to take certain medicines. As he lives with his family, he has self-quarantined himself in the house. "As we do back home in India, I am putting wet cloth dipped in water boiled with Amrutanjan balm on my forehead for the past few days.

My body temperature has come down a bit and I am feeling better now. However, it's getting scarier with every day here. The Indian government is doing far better than what the US government is doing here," he told me.

That means the world's superpower known for its advanced healthcare system is not in a position to offer hospital beds for its people infected by coronavirus which has been wreaking havoc around the world for the past three months. That's a pity.

Further, there are other examples which indicate the scale of healthcare crisis the world is facing now. A single South Korean woman is said to have infected over 5,000 people with the deadly virus in her country while Italy, also a developed country, is literally on the deathbed now with coronavirus-infected deaths crossing 9,000.

When the so-called developed countries have miserably failed to handle the corona crisis, we can understand the plight of India which lacks proper healthcare system, is saddled with a mammoth population of over 1.3 billion and multiple millions of poor people.

That way, India has formidable task ahead. Our country will remain in safe zone as long as COVID-19 doesn't spread to the poor, lower economic sections of the society and the downtrodden. If that happens, India will face a much bigger health crisis than what the world is now seeing in Europe and the US.

However, the fact of the matter is that India's middle class is the most selfish group of the country's population. They know how to protect themselves. And they will go to any extent to protect themselves. The trait of shunning newspapers stems from this streak.

It is a known fact that the chance of newspapers carrying coronavirus on their surfaces is minimal. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also said so. But they fell prey to wild rumours doing the rounds on the social media.

So, it's no surprise that some resident welfare associations in apartment complexes and colonies in Hyderabad refused to entertain newspaper delivery boys. But by doing so, the so-called middle class and its retired generals are putting themselves at a greater risk.

In this age, in which fake news are flying faster than the coronavirus, people need a credible information source to rely on. They need a source that dexterously separates fake news from the real news.

Newspapers have expertise and experience to do that. It's time our famed middle class realises this fact fast and stops creating hurdles for the distribution of newspapers.

However, the middle class has brighter side as well. The middle class don't mind staying indoors for a longer period of time to keep themselves in safe territory as they have the wherewithal to survive.

But the main problem here is that they don't help others until their needs are met. The central government has done them a great favour by announcing a three-month moratorium on term loans including housing loans. So, what the governments should do now is to let the middle class fend for itself.

Further, the country's rich can take care of themselves. They are not an issue when it comes to the ongoing war against corona. Therefore, the Indian government's primary focus should be the poor if it wants to win the war against coronavirus.

To achieve that, it has to adopt a three-pronged strategy - preventing the spread of virus, protection of the poor and saving the economy from collapsing. Failure in any of the three areas will land the country in a deeper mess and India will face a humanitarian crisis of monumental proportion.

Frankly speaking, the Modi government did a commendable job by announcing a 21-day lockdown on March 24. It also came out with Rs 1.7 lakh crore package for financially supporting the poor and needy for the next three months.

Further, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) too announced a slew of measures to support the industry and spur economic growth during the crisis.

But, are these measures enough? The lockdown is obviously meant to control the spread of the deadly virus. That way, the government is trying to prevent its spread to the poor. But the 21-day lockdown may not be enough.

Moreover, it is too early to predict how long it will take for India to completely eliminate coronavirus. It may take six months or even one year. In that case, the government will have to extend the financial support measures till the war on corona is over.

Further, it is not going to be easy to keep people their homes for such longer time. Besides, the economic cost of longer lockdown will be huge and beyond imagination. Therefore, the Modi government has its task cut out. This also applies to other countries and the world at large.

That means the world is looking at an uncertain future. And, one thing is certain. Coronavirus will continue to haunt the world until an effective vaccine for it is developed. Further, effective medicines should also be developed. Until then, the crisis will cripple the world and its economy.

So, there is a long war ahead. And the war on corona will be a bigger one than the World War-II which claimed over 72 million (7.2 crore) lives during 1939-1949.

Nonetheless, coronavirus reminds us that we are not living in an advanced society we have been boasting about in recent years. Humanity is as vulnerable today as it was several thousand years ago when humans lived like animals, constantly fearing death from visible and invisible enemies.

Every individual on the Earth now fears a threat from an invisible enemy called coronavirus. Further, the deadly virus is also reminds us that nature is nature and it has its own whims and fancies. That's why people should be extra careful while playing with it.

If not, the world will pay heavy price a la COVID-19, the coronavirus disease 2019 declared as a pandemic by WHO. Human beings are now in such a pathetic situation that they can't even go to their favourite place of worship and pray to their favourite god for succor in these times of uncertainty and hardships.

It is said that Potuluri Veerabramhendra Swami, who lived in the present day Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh in India a few centuries ago, prophesied in his 'Kalagnanam,' a book of predictions, that a poisonous gas from the East would put the humanity in danger.

Was he talking about coronavirus? You never know. People are in such a shock these days that they don't leave any strand of hope to see what is in store for them. Empty roads in Hyderabad, in India and several parts of the world are testimony to bad phase the world is going through.

But humans are perennial optimists. That's reason why humans have been surviving on this Earth for the past several millennia despite pandemics, perils and 'poisonous gases.' They will survive this crisis too.

So, coronavirus is unlikely to obliterate humanity from the Earth and there is no doomsday scenario whatsoever. That's for sure. Isn't it, folks? It's time to stay at home and have some fun without fear.

Show Full Article
Print Article
Interested in blogging for thehansindia.com? We will be happy to have you on board as a blogger.
Next Story
More Stories