Today’s Essay is about the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic where we go through the origin of the virus, its effect on mankind and our progress in its eradication.
The last the human race faced a pandemic was between 1918-1920 – almost a century ago. It was the Spanish flu that took a heavy toll of human lives, besides playing havoc with the socio-economic fabric of mankind. The present pandemic has hit us with no less ferocity, affecting nearly every aspect of life.
Covid-19, the commonly used name for the pandemic seemingly originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, and then spread all round the world in lightening speed. It has now emerged that the Chinese authorities either knowingly or unknowingly failed to take drastic preemptive steps to stop the spread of the virus. Allegedly, they held back important information about the virus from the international scientific community. This lapse exacerbated the situation. No doubt, the Chinese government have refuted this charge, the world community has refused to absolve the Chinese of willful negligence.
This virus can only be contained by draconian measures like closure of public places that include factories, banks, rail networks etc. The key lies in enforcing ‘social distancing’ where individuals maintain a distance of at least six feet between one another. This restriction has proved to be virtually insane. Adhering to the restriction means bringing the economy to a grinding and painful halt. Many governments ha to make a choice between clamping a shut-down, and allowing bare essential public activities to continue. Most governments found themselves in a quandary. In the earliest stage government had to make a choice between life and economy. The World Health Organisation (WHO) vehemently asked member countries to maintain social distancing at any cost.
In India, Prime Minister Modi declared a complete lock-down for 21 days imploring people to obey it at any cost. Happily, Indians heeded his call, although sudden closure of shops, offices and factories caused severe disruption. It left nearly three crore migrant workers utterly helpless, forcing them to undertake hundreds of kilometers homeward journey by foot. Their tragedy shook the conscience of the nation.
Since the virus had no known cure, and no vaccine to fight it back, the problem became extremely daunting for all governments. Scientists stepped up efforts to find a cure and a vaccine, but such efforts are long, arduous, and can take years to succeed. WHO did all it can to bring succor to the suffering nations, but its real benefit was limited. Since the beginning of the pandemic, scores have died as medical facilities even in developed countries couldn’t cope with the huge rush of patients.
Fortunately, in India, the pandemic has been comparably muted causing much less fatalities. The lockdown has been lifted in a calibrated way to re-start the economy. More importantly, India has emerged as the manufacturer of two different vaccines whose efficacy have been tested through large trials. With its vast vaccine manufacturing capacity, India is poised to export vaccines to countries all over the world.
Indians, like those in other countries have learned to work from home whenever possible. Students are studying online.
The number of Covid-19 cases has been dropping progressively, and India should see happy Covid-free days again. We must acknowledge the contribution of Mr. Modi in keeping the pandemic at harms length.
Written by Arpita Priyadarshini Dash Student Class X
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