By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2020-04-30 21:03:36
There might be a new normal after the pandemic subsides. But right now there is only fear, anxiety, uncertainty and economic gloom. And there is, of course, hope.
Fear that the virus has not been eradicated and, especially in India, not enough testing has been done to know its exact spread. Fear because it can strike despite all precautions. Fear because no medicine or vaccine has yet been found to counter it. Anxiety is because of the helplessness of governments across the world. Anxiety is also because of the hundreds of theories about the virus from reputed people from the medical fraternity, including a Nobel winner. Uncertainty is because no cure has appeared on the horizon even after more than 5 months have passed since the first case was probably reported in China. Uncertainty is also because the restrictions are not going to end anytime soon. Economic gloom is all-pervasive. Manufacturing facilities (barring those of essential and medical items) have shut down across the world as most countries have imposed lockdowns. People are facing job-losses, salary cuts and deferment, or cancelation, of yearly bonuses. Companies are staring at blank order books yet they have to pay fixed expenses like salaries and rents, to name just two. It is a very bleak scenario.
Yet, there is hope. Scientists across the world are burning the night lamps to discover a vaccine or medicine to kill the virus. Although everything is now being done on a trial and error basis (as it has to be done whenever a new disease surfaces), yet billions of dollars are being spent and scientists from many countries are collaborating in several projects, some piloted by the WHO. Some have come up with vaccines while others have come up with medicines. All of them are currently undergoing human trials and should be ready by September. Remdesivir is also being tested and if found effective, it will be a boon as it has been previously used for the Ebola and Marburg viruses and met with some success in controlling them. Some companies have already started manufacturing the vaccine in the hope that it will pass through the clinical and human trials. Hence, if all goes well, the world might have a cure by September. That is the only silver lining.
Meanwhile, we can only live with hope and endure the hardships the virus has brought upon the world. But in doing so, it is also our duty to do something about people who are less advantaged than us. The world is passing through dark times. The least we can do is to alleviate the pain of our fellow human beings in any manner we are capable of.