Mahadeep Singh Jamwal
Coronavirus is the global pandemic of our times. So much has been aired on television, on social media, and in print that it is next to impossible not to be aware of the pandemic raging across the globe in the form of a new coronavirus. The coronavirus has revealed a very important fact: There are 206 countries in the world, but there are only a few first-class countries that are very successful in protecting their citizens against the virus, that behaved early and swiftly. The daily measurement of hair-raising data from across the boundaries about the death toll and fresh addition of the corona infected people, disappearing in the blink of an eye, carry us to plausible consequence that only countermeasure to get some reassuring information bank on only upon us. The alone panacea to administer breaks to the transmission of this coronavirus, an uncontrollable mystery, welcomed all over the world, is to maintain the social distancing (also called physical distancing), whenever we have to move out under SOS conditions, otherwise to keep our self confined to four walls. The disease spread mainly through human contact by means of infected secretions from the nose and mouths. The current corona pandemic reinvigorate our consciousness of pernicious pandemic of 1918, when we refer to, ‘The Great Influenza’, a 2004 nonfiction book by John M. Barry, the epic story of the deadliest plague in history. The book recounts what humanity witnessed and experienced during 1918 influenza pandemic. India also lost 17- 18 million people. As most cities during 1918 did impose social distancing but too late, the virus was already disseminated by the time the measures were imposed. Those countries succeed in flattening the curve that reacted to the preventive measures without wasting even a second and without second thought. If we look to the graphics on world map and slide over to the different countries graph on corona, we can say what we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history. George W. Bush, then President of America, in 2005 has said in reference to the book that ‘If we wait for a pandemic to appear, it will be too late to prepare’. The American President recognized that an outbreak was a different kind of disaster and said that ‘a pandemic is a lot like a forest fire, and if caught early it might be extinguished with limited damage. If allowed to smolder, undetected, it can grow to an inferno that can spread quickly beyond our ability to control it’. Thus was born the America’s most comprehensive pandemic plan — a playbook that included diagrams for a global early warning system, funding to develop new, rapid vaccine technology, and a robust national stockpile of critical supplies, such as face masks and ventilators. Large swaths of the ambitious plan were either not fully realized or entirely shelved as other priorities took hold and we find America is worst sufferer in this corona impasse. But, like a century ago, civilians will have to play a key role in limiting the virus’ spread.
Our struggle to fight the corona has experienced us that we are unequipped to deal with the disaster like corona. When we have to respond to a pandemic like present one, we need medical personnel and adequate supplies of equipment from syringes to hospital beds, respirators, masks and protective equipment. Some lessons we require to learn from the present impasse is that we need to have annual budget commitment for such invisible and mysterious happenings, so that government need not look for voluntarily contributions or extra burden on government employees by compulsory deduction from their salaries. We need to have institutions that can survive any one administration and we need to have leadership experience. Leaders during times such as these have to strike a balance between acknowledging ugly facts and projecting hope, admitting struggles and failures, and confidently leading the public out of the darkness. The 1918 influenza virus was more lethal than Covid-19 but when we speak of Covid-19 in India; it is likely to infect more people, so even with a lower case fatality rate we could see a huge death toll, unless we act. On the other hand educated and more fortunately placed members of the community, have come forward in large numbers to help their poorer brethren in time of
distress.
We are sensitized by daily announcements in the form of television broadcasts and mass texting from the authorities imploring residents of the country to take all necessary precautions and avoid crowds. One way to slow the spread of viruses, such as coronavirus, is to maintain social distance. The more space between we and others, the harder it is for the virus to spread. Prevention by severing the chain is the immediate solution. The combination of standard precautions, isolation barrier procedures represents an effective strategy in the fight against transmission of corona agents designed to reduce the risk of transmission from both recognized and unrecognized sources of infection. These precautions are based on the principle that all blood, body fluids, secretions, excretions except sweat, non-intact skin, and mucous membranes may contain transmissible infectious agents. My hope is physical distancing; natural immunity along with drugs and vaccines (likely to be developed) will significantly diminish the threat of Covid-19. Be positive and stop negative thinking and the key to stop negative thoughts in this hour of crisis of COVID-19, is to spread your love and positive energy in every direction for the well-being of the whole humanity. First time in history we can save the human race by lying in front of the TV and doing nothing. Let us not screw this up.