Akeel Rashid

Why is there divisiveness over Covid-19?

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Since its emergence around the world, Covid-19 has not just claimed lakhs of lives but the pandemic has also engendered a divisive attitude among the people. This divisiveness arises from the fact that many people who contract the virus recover easily without showing any signs of illness, whereas some get seriously ill with the virus and even die. On one hand, those who witness the recovery of a Covid-19 patient without him/her being hospitalized or put on medication; they cannot grasp the severity of the disease. On the other hand, the patients who succumb to Covid-19 leave the people around them scared for life. This divisive attitude is proving to be more dangerous than the disease itself. It has given rise to contradictory and inconsistent discourses as a result the people are coming up with varied responses to the pandemic. Some people are following the Covid-19 guidelines – wearing facemasks, washings hands regularly, practicing physical distancing – religiously, while as some are dismissing the guidelines as inconsequential; they reflect a mindset that sees Covid-19 guidelines as a burden and not as an obligation to be fulfilled for everybody’s safety. Needless to say, the frontline workers – scientists, doctors, nurses, administrators, policemen, et al. – who have locked horns with the pandemic, are trying their best to keep the divisiveness at bay by raising awareness, and instilling discipline in people.

A lot more needs to be done for bringing everyone on the same page

The Covid-19 continues to have the upper hand for now as the details emerging thus far are worrying and not relieving. Unless there is scientific and medical potential breakthrough in the fight against the pandemic there cannot be community agreement on the issue. Speaking of potential breakthrough, the scientists have not made any real headway in developing a vaccine against the virus. That being said, a vaccine – according to biologists – is unlikely to offer complete protection, and worst of all, many scientists are fearful of the prospect of never getting a vaccine for the virus. The WHO’s chief scientist recently said that “herd immunity” — which is when enough people become resistant to a disease to stop its spread — is still a long way ahead for Covid-19. The epidemiologists have not been able to put together a unified “case definition” (Before counting cases, the epidemiologist must decide what to count, that is, what to call a case. For that, the epidemiologist uses a case definition) for COVID-19. The medical experts and scientists are yet to come up with a ground-breaking research on Covid-19. Many theories related to virus have not been proven yet. Efforts to understand the behaviour of the virus are in their early stages. It remains mysterious and unexplainable as to why the virus acts differently in different people; why a few die of complications from COVID-19 and why the illness is relatively mild for many. There are no apparent explanations for knowing who is most at risk for coronavirus complications; except for the virus is proving to be deadly for people with chronic health problems. Many people are testing negative for Covid-19, though they have been exposed to infected persons. The symptoms of the deadly disease remain undecided. Notwithstanding the historical fact that masks are best invention for stopping a pandemic, scientists are yet to reach a consensus over which type of masks are effective in stopping the spread of virus.

The bottom line

It is imperative for the people to comprehend the fact that doctors and scientists are not in a position to provide a clear picture of Covid-19 yet. Speaking of which, the divisiveness is not helping anyone and it needs to be nipped in the bud. The important answers to Covid-19 can be obtained in labs only and the people who are making presumptions about the virus should know that they are engaging in a self-destructive behaviour. The surge in Covid-19 cases has made it clear that we are far from containing the virus and learning to live with the virus is the only constant right now. The rate at which the infection is spreading throughout the world requires us to come to terms with the reality – that is to say, we are all Covid-19 positive until proven Covid-19 negative.

The author can be reached at akeelsofi@gmail.com

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