Coronavirus like other viruses has not learned its lesson. You might think I am overly ambitious in thinking that we will beat this virus eventually. But I have reasons to believe so. Firstly, no virus has ever defeated mankind yet, because if it did we wouldn’t be alive by now. Although we are very bad in preparedness and our healthcare isn’t particularly designed to battle a pandemic, but we were able to identify the virus within days, almost know the source, and mapped its DNA within 2 months of the first reported infection. The early detection and preventive measured helped in containing the virus initially in a few areas after it was established that a virus outbreak has taken place in Wuhan, China, and can be a potential killer.
The world seems a different place
Empty streets, vacant metro stations, canceled flights, and crowd fewer markets are some of the common scenes today in almost all the major cities. The fear of getting an infection is so real that people are choosing to stay home. Although in some parts of the world a strict lockdown had to be enforced as people were more concerned about buying groceries and toilet papers, eventually governments took control and enforced the lockdown anyway.
After three months in lockdown, slowly and steadily, markets, shops, transport, and commercial activities are opening up but there is an air of anxiety among people. People who were social and liked to enjoy the weekends with friends and family are happy to cook food at home and be with their family. Suddenly, as if it is no more important to go out and find happiness.
Even if we decide to go out there are so many procedures to follow it seems as if we are going into a battle zone. It’s just mad. Wear a mask, wear gloves, keep the sanitizer handy, pay digitally, and whatnot. The carefree days are gone. It seems as if the new world order is already in place.
Although everything is not as bad as it seems. For example, our environment is thriving as we humans are under lockdown. The air seems cleaner, wild animals are roaming free, things that were not visible can be clearly seen and most importantly the earth has become much more quitter because all the mining, industries, hustle-bustle from the cities has stopped. It is as if mother earth is taking a break. On the other hand, it is also a time that humans should contemplate and make the most of this opportunity to control the pollution levels. Historically after such an inactivity environment has suffered greatly.
Almost all countries are actively involved in creating a vaccine. After the DNA sequence was decoded for the SARS COV2, there were 77 candidates for a probable vaccine against it. But, the vaccine may take at least a year to be developed and tested successfully. During which time we will have to continue the economic activities to sustain. There is a real possibility that many more people will get infected and spread the infection further. So, how will this Pandemic end?
By far the most outstretched piece of the imagination but can happen if a synchronized effort is undertaken by all the countries to wipe out the virus once in for all. Like some southeast Asian countries where they have reported no new infections for a week now. Although this possibility seems very bleak, let’s not count this out.
We open up our economies, carry out our day to day activities like we used to do, and let the virus rampage our population. Billions will get infected and millions might die, but eventually, humans will develop what is called a “Herd Immunity” like we have done in the past for other viruses. Countries that have a younger population and a robust healthcare system can contemplate this scenario but it can be a risky option. The British government was canvassing for the herd immunity but backtracked from it as they saw the virus was difficult to contain and was putting a lot of pressure on the existing healthcare system. Many other European countries have considered this model and the U.S is too.
We play an imitation game. Wherever an outbreak is registered we try to contain it and in the process learn more about the virus and how it is mutating so that we can develop an appropriate vaccine. But there is a catch to it. What if we are unable to develop that vaccine? Let’s say we ultimately do develop a vaccine and the virus mutates further and new outbreaks are reported throughout the world?
The future seems scary and is not for the faint of heart.
Businesses are suffering, people have almost used up their savings, governments are asking for bailouts, the world economy is under recession and eventually, if we do not get back up on our feet, we will perish. Is there any hope?
Humans have survived a lot worse, it is because of the information technology that we are more aware of what all is going around in this world. Especially, social media has played a big role in the relay of information through various mediums. The situation is not that bad as it seems. Governments, civic bodies, healthcare professionals, and other institutions are helping people around the world to beat this virus. The only thing we need to do is try and keep ourselves out of harm’s way and stay at home if possible. If you can afford to work from home, you should consider it for longer periods. If it is necessary to go out then, make sure you take all the precautions.
The world after the Pandemic
In a year or so when the Pandemic is over completely the world will be a different place altogether. Our lives will be much altered. There will be two broad groups of people that will live. Many would want to live life to the fullest because there is no guarantee of the future. They might dine out, go to pubs, meet friends, go to the office, and carry out their business as usual. The other kind would be more conservative. They know how life is fragile and worth preserving. They might make alterations in their daily lives to minimize the risk of getting the infection. Their priority may be self-preservation and that of their loved ones.
These are the two patterns that have emerged in countries that have contained the virus. Maybe this the reality with which we will have to live for some time. The pandemic will end but it has changed the world as we know it forever.