The COVID-19 situation is the elephant in the room. We are all speaking about the Corona virus disease the impact it is going to have on the world as we know it. Social media is constantly abuzz with topics like, if it is a bio-war / bio-terrorism by China or if it is another clever ruse by the corporate world to change the tide to its favour. Some believe, it is a God-sent plague to bring the non-believers to “HIS” side. Others claim it is a religious war, a crusade or Jihad by one of the numerous religions of the world. There are also claims about Karma, non-vegetarianism, veganism, “Revenge of Gaia” to bring in an era of sustainability, and what not.
The chatter on the social media is too loud. Facebook posts, WhatsApp forwards, YouTube videos, and the list goes on. Much of them are filled with anger, hate, fear and paranoia about people, communities, religions, countries, Gods, etc. We’re all speaking about it.
However, are we addressing it? Are you?
For one, I haven’t even started yet. I believe most of you aren’t either but I sincerely, hope that you’re.
For the fortunate ones in India, we’ve had a late start. Further, the domestic spreading of COVID19 started pretty late. Almost at a time when the epicentre of COVID-19 shifted from China to Italy. Before one can get a grasp of things, it is the U.S. of A, which has become the most affected one in the world. The number of affected people all over the country more than doubled in the 3 days that this post was in the draft, which brings me to the next point.
COVID19 – The Pandemic
COVID or Corona Virus Disease is caused by a novel (read it as a new, unseen before, unique) virus that belongs to the type corona virus, i.e. crown shaped virus. However, this is not the first corona virus. We’ve seen our fair share of corona virus. People who were old enough and aware enough will know of the infamous SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) outbreaks. Both were caused by a similar corona virus. Even the symptoms of COVID19 are similar to the previous SARS & MERS and the official name for COVID19 virus is SARS CoV-2.
Corona Virus Disease has infected more than 1 million people and it has pervaded to all parts of the world. It has taught us the real meaning of a global pandemic. It has caused huge loss of life and livelihoods but the impacts of the disease are not yet visible. Well, at least for the majority.
Even in the developed nations, the undue stress on the medical infrastructure is breaking their backs. In a country like India, where the modern interventions like safe quarantine facilities, ventilators, or even basic safety measures like hand sanitisers, gloves, masks, personal protective equipment are in need of, will face a monumental crisis.
Last year when I had contracted some form of pneumonia, I had the experience of tasting it. I’d fever of 104.8+ degree Celsius for days and I needed hospitalisation for 10 days.
I was just one case in the hospital but I was asked to vacate by the 10th day. I still had symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, etc., but the hospital didn’t think it was prudent to keep me there and deny essential healthcare for people, who’re at worse conditions.
Now, imagine even 10s of people coming into the hospital and requiring constant medical care not just for 10 days but for 20 days or so. They can’t be asked to go back as it might increase the number of new infections.
Imagine 10 different people coming in for 10 days. The pressure on the infrastructure need alone will break the health care system. There are also the possibility of new infections in the hospitals, health care workers, doctors, etc. Imagine the impact of that uncertainty and fear on the minds of a billion plus people.
The precarious nature of our global health care system and our careless attitude of putting profits over welfare has been amplified and projected for the whole world to see. The impact of COVID19 and the extensive stress on which the world is going to move is for everyone to see. However, the problems extends deeper, which brings me to the natural progression of the issue, COVID19 – The Pandora’s Box.
COVID19 – The Pandora’s Box
Just like the mythical Pandora’s Box, COVID19 has set loose a number of troubles to be tackled by humanity. The virus has infected more than a million people but in real terms that is almost 1/7800th of the population of the world. Even at this ratio, the world is turning into a hostile place.
The already clouded atmosphere of social media has turned into a vile one. Facts are being twisted and turned to fit into the narrative of each one. In the short span of 10+ days of the lockdown, COVID has gone from Christian virus to Karmic virus to Chinese communist virus to Islamic virus. If the real virus mutated so quickly, it would be impossible for a 100 years to find a vaccine for it.
Anyway, the following days, months will be hard on everyone. You might have heard about the suicide of the Germany’s Hesse state finance minister, Thomas Schaefer. This is the tip of the iceberg. It is going to become increasingly hard for people to cope up with the realities of living a global pandemic. A refugee mindset will creep into masses. You’ll find it harder by the day to stay positive at the face of the chaos.
COVID19 Is Not Only A Health Hazard But Also A Social, Political & Economic Time-bomb.
COVID – A Social Problem
In the coming days, when the going gets tougher, the tougher it will become to separate the chaff from the grains, the hoax from the truth. Bigots, warmongers, fearmongers, hatemongers, etc., will work overtime to take advantage of the situation. Already, the social media are amplifying the efforts of these outliers. Soon, the fence sitters will jump on the bandwagon. This will create a global avalanche of acrimony. Social climate will get hotter where the people are split on many lines and will be fighting on many theatres.Social media amplifies everything; Good, Bad and the Ugly. Stay away from dubious claims and malicious information. Because, you're intelligent and not an ignorant fool. Click To Tweet
COVID – A Political Problem
Political system across the globe will undergo a period of degradation. This is without considering the global shift towards the right extreme. Opposition will be trivialised. People’s voice will be silenced. Anachronistic and anti-democratic laws will be passed. In simpler terms, world will move a step closer towards the dystopia. As a logical consequence of the underlying social troubles, various counter-productive improvements like hate politics, religious politics, etc., will get a shot in the arm. This will further divide the social integrity and the cycle will perpetuate itself.
We already have a legalised dictator in the world. Hungarian PM Viktor Orban was given the power to rule by decree to fight the COVID19. However, one of the first bills that had been tabled was to ban the legal gender recognition of transgenders.
If you think this is just a false alarm, wait for it. All viruses spread, eventually.
COVID – An Economic Problem
You might remember the 2008 subprime crisis and the ensuing global financial crisis, economic slowdown, depression. Although, I didn’t feel the brunt of it, I still remember the effects. IT Companies that hired people, couldn’t take them. People who took loans couldn’t pay. It was an economic nightmare.
If you’re either too young or too protected to remember that, you might still remember and/or reel under the impacts of demonetisation & hurried up GST. The ill-effects almost broke the parallel economy (not to be read as shadow or black) and closed many a shutter for the micro industries. The effects of COVID19 on the economy will last for years to come. I’m no economist but even a conservative guess puts the economy back by 2-3 years. Numbers might show a different image on the reality but the impact on the ground will be visible for 2 years at the minimum.
Well, all the realities point to a dark and desolate future. But is there a way out of it?
Definitely, May be. It brings me to the conclusion, COVID – Panacea.
COVID19 – The Panacea
I’m not one of those people who cry, that the COVID19 plague was God-sent or the environmental-extremists, who claim that it is the way of the nature to rain her fury on humanity. COVID19 has made everyone to realise that no matter how developed a country is (read as US of A, UK), no matter how rich and royal a person is(Prince Charles), the virus doesn’t discriminate. We’re just a couple of global pandemics and catastrophes away from extinction.
Faced with such a planet-wide crisis, our differences, on the basis of opinions, religions, castes, creeds, ideologies, sexes, and a plethora of other factors, all look trivial to me. Our unquenchable thirst for money, our undying hunger for power, our constant need for gratification with material things, our insistence on “Our Morals” all seem as humbug.
If you think for a minute or so, you too will feel that all these issues are non-issues. But for these non-issues to remain as non-issues, the leaders of our time, whether you like them or not, whether you voted for them or not, have to listen to their inner voice or at least to the message ofCOVID19.
Perhaps, the smallest of the microorganisms, has the largest of the message to us.Spread Love – Not War, Hate, Fear and most importantly, not the virus. Click To Tweet