Learning to live with Covid-19

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While the entire world is fighting a tiring war against the spread of deadly coronavirus and has been bit successful in putting some halt to its spread by announcing lockdowns and minimizing the social contact, the reality is that the virus may not go away and people will have to live with it. The other day World Health Organization’s emergencies chief said that it is possible the new coronavirus may be here to stay as it is impossible to predict when the pandemic might be controlled. He said that without a vaccine, it could take years for the population to build up sufficient levels of immunity to it and this virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities. He noted that other previously novel diseases such as HIV have never disappeared, but that effective treatments have been developed to allow people to live with the disease. He expressed hope that an effective vaccine will be developed, but cautioned that even then, it would require a huge amount of work to produce the shots and distribute them worldwide to people willing to be immunized.

In this backdrop, the people need to accept the virus as a reality and as part of their everyday being. At the moment, the infection can’t be treated so to defeat its spread is the only thing that can help save lives. However, stopping the virus even without medical interventions was possible and the trajectory of this outbreak is in the hands of the people. Once it is established that coronavirus is here to stay, the people will have to seriously change their life styles. Social distancing is to be made a permanent feature of human life. Wearing masks is to become a necessity and avoiding crowds is what everyone has to strive for. Covid-19 has created a new world with new norms and to save our lives and lives of others, we need to follow those norms strictly. This goes without saying that governments in the world cannot go ahead with unrelenting lockdowns as these have resulted into suffering of millions of people who have lost their jobs and striving to feed their families and themselves. So the lockdowns are to be ended and once it is done, the real challenge will look people right in the eye. Right now, good or bad, everything is attributed to the respective governments but once the lockdowns are over and economic activities are resumed, it would be exclusively every individual’s responsibility to fight and help hamper the march and spread of coronavirus. People have to gear up to live in this new world where one more virus has been added to already existing infections. This new virus is more demanding and therefore people will have to follow the WHO guidelines in letter and spirit.

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