Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging Pao ]
Covid-19 has caused a sudden upheaval among humanity in just eight months. Covid-19 has spread to all corners of the world, infecting 190 lakh persons, with 7.2 lakh fatalities.
Fear of spread of the disease led to lockdowns for days and months in many countries of the world. Flights were stopped, train services and passenger transportation were suspended. The lockdowns led to shutting down of industries, shops and hotels, and business/commercial activities were adversely affected. The pandemic led to closure of all schools, colleges and universities, affecting the education and grooming of billions of children. Millions of people lost their jobs, leading to massive migrant exodus. Literally, the world was shut down overnight.
The world experienced an economic recession like never before, and experts predict that it may take years for the economy to recover. As the pandemic affected hospitals also, many hospitals were also locked down and OPD services suspended. Many patients suffering from other diseases are suffering due lack of medical services in hospitals.
However, it is not so bad. The fatalities due Covid-19 are less compared to other diseases/causes. Daily deaths in India due asthma is 698, diabetes 510, heart disease 4220, TB 1045, and 670 people die from transport-related accidents every day. Many more deaths are caused due to natural and manmade disasters like flood, landslides, fire accidents, etc.
Compare this with the average daily death due Covid-19 in India of about 500. Though Covid-19 is highly contagious, the case fatality rate (CFR) is very less. The CFR for Arunachal is 0.2 percent only, and almost 90-95 percent Covid cases are asymptomatic. In Arunachal, more people have died from landslides and floods than from Covid-19. In Arunachal and Assam, lakhs of people have been displaced and affected by floods. Thousands of hectares of land have been eroded, roads/bridges washed away, and many villages threatened.
The media and mass hysteria about Covid-19 has created such panic and fear in the minds of most people that many people are suffering from stress and mental problems due to Covid-19. People have stopped singing, playing, enjoying and laughing.
Covid-19 will be with us for at least another few months/years. We have to start treating Covid-19 like other diseases like influenza, common cold, dengue etc. A vaccine may be available in the next few months. However, mass availability may take some time. Since we have to learn to live with Covid-19, we should open up the economy and start normal life once again. Methods like localized containment zones, home quarantines and weekend lockdowns should be adopted to contain the spread without resorting to total lockdowns. Total lockdowns lead to loss of livelihoods, loss of jobs/earnings/buying power, loss of revenue, etc. It is time to start living with Covid-19 by following laid down precautions, developing body immunity, and with a positive attitude. Historically also, viruses come and go, but human enterprise cannot be defeated. (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)