On COVID-19 and What Is It Teaching Us
I don’t find it necessary anymore to describe how devastating and horrifying the COVID-19 is. All known media platforms broadcast almost every minute nothing but the horrors the Corona virus has brought upon humanity in every corner of the world. Almost everybody knows almost everything about this deadly pestilence. Ask anybody any question about it and very likely that you’ll get a satisfactory response. But there is one question, the one that matters most, that nobody could answer – When will this pandemic end?
Nobody knows when will the contagion stop. Only God knows (that is if, like me, you believe in His existence). Scientists are racing against time the to find a definitive cure. Reportedly, there exists old drugs intended to cure other diseases that could help those infected. There were even some unconfirmed reports that actually, China has already found the cure but they are keeping it from the world. People are desperate in their search for protection against the virus.
Home remedies and false cures circulated in different countries – inhaling the steam of sea salt and orange peelings, lemon in hot water, cocaine and bleach-like solution, colloidal silver, chlorine disinfectant, etc. Some attempts to try all these unproven methods to fight the virus resulted to both injuries and deaths. The Iranian media reported that nearly 300 people have been killed and more than a thousand got sick because of methanol which they wrongly believed could cure the disease.
For those who managed to steer clear from the destructive and murderous path of COVID-19, they had better keep that distance or walk further away. Stay away from that path as far as possible. We ought to take all the necessary precautions because the vaccine will take long to develop – 12 to 18 months. That’s according to credible and reliable sources. Don’t pin your hopes on the claims of armchair experts (quoted by undiscerning social media users who excitedly post just about anything on their social media accounts without cross-checking and verifying) that a vaccine is coming out very soon or has already been developed.
Taking all the necessary precautions is different from becoming paranoid. We cannot afford to be too anxious and worried. We may be saving ourselves from the contagion but we might die of other illnesses resulting from emotional and mental distress. We can still live a normal life while observing the established protocols set to prevent the spread of the virus.
We really have reasons to be alarmed, but we ought to be rational.
And this is really a cause for alarm – only 20 years into the 21st century and we have already been stricken by 5 severely infectious and deadly diseases – Swine Flu, Ebola, MERS, SARS, and COVID-19. When I googled it (and hopefully all the information I got are accurate), I found out that that’s already the total number (5) of epidemics/pandemics for the entire 20th century. Google also told me that should you combine all these pestilences during the first two decades of the current century and the whole of the preceding century – and they are 10 all in all – that would already equal all of the fatal contagions that plagued the human species from 1800s down to time immemorial.
We can be consoled somehow by the fact that all known pandemics – from the distant past to the modern times – had their reign of terror ending at a certain juncture in history. Although a few, like the Bubonic plague (the deadliest in terms of number of fatalities), did comeback and continued its murderous rampage. Some of those pestilences would still afflict some people sporadically at certain periods in history, including the modern times. BBC reported in 2013 that a boy died of the Bubonic plague in Kyrgyzstan. But lest we forget that one of these viruses is still silently (and effectively) afflicting millions of people around the world – HIV. As reported by WHO in 2018, there are 37.9 million people around the world suffering from AIDS.
We are all hoping (and praying) that the COVID-19 crisis would end very soon. A few epidemiologists expressed fears though that even when the new corona virus contagion gets contained, it may, God forbid, come back to haunt us during the annual flu season. Thus, getting inoculated against the virus is a must. But, the vaccine could be available February next year at the earliest.
With a specific medicine that could nip the virus in the bud and not just alleviate the sufferings of severely infected patients yet to be discovered and the vaccine still in the process of development, our best bet for survival is heeding directives given by health authorities. They know better than the armchair experts and the skeptics around us.
And most people in COVID-19 stricken areas are heeding the advice of their duly-constituted authorities – to wear masks whenever they venture outside of their homes, to frequently wash their hands, and to strictly observe “social distancing.” Most people, nowadays, are learning to be obedient. If in the past they blatantly disregarded existing rules, now they toe the lines and do exactly what their leaders are saying. If in the past they would march to the streets whenever their civil liberties are violated, now they have willingly surrendered some of them. They allowed themselves, for their own sake anyway, to be incarcerated in their own homes to venture out only at designated times of the day to buy whatever they need or transact very urgent business matters. Most people in most countries are quarantined for a certain period of time. This, of course, are done only in countries where total lockdowns were declared.
Only a handful of the countries where the COVID-19 is wrecking havoc did not implement lockdowns and it remains to be seen how such would affect their management of the contagion. But the epidemiologists are unequivocal in asserting that to effectively stem the further spread of the contagion “social distancing” is a must. With big cities and urban areas being densely populated, quarantining people in their own homes is seemingly the only way to effectively implement “social distancing.” There are already countries who did not impose lockdowns realizing this rather belatedly, and the results are regretful. The South Korean government ensured the even if they did not declare lockdowns, especially in areas most affected by the virus, their citizens would strictly observe “social distancing.” They did. The South Koreans obeyed resulting to incidents of viral infections gradually abating
The reason citizens in countries where lockdowns were implemented embraced their fate and agreed to the stringent measures being put up by their governments is that they understand that these are not ordinary times and that there is only one right that counts now – the right to live. People are beginning to trust their leaders.
Conversely, people in leadership positions are showing more resolve in enforcing the necessary measures to ensure the safety and well-being of their constituents. They seem to be more sincere in what they say and do. The novel corona virus have brought the governments and their people closer. Covid-19 have also broken the walls that divide the ruling party and the opposition. Politicking is being set aside. They both need to sing the same tune and dance coordinately to that tune.
In dire situations like this that governments need to assure their people that they are on top of the situation. And indeed leaders of the different countries affected by the current crisis should tighten their grip, not only to ensure that they could provide the assistance they are capable of giving to their citizens but also in making sure that the adventurists would not take advantage of the situation.
There are certain values also that most societies in different parts of the world have neglected that are slowly re-emerging. One of them is civic responsibility. Governments know that when they enforced lockdowns, economic activities ground to a halt. Consequently, businesses are closed and people could not work for they ought to be staying at home. So, the governments felt obliged, to extend all kinds of assistance for their citizens. But some countries have limited resources. They are incapable of helping their citizens sufficiently, especially if the COVID-19 crisis will last long. So, citizens who have the capability are offering help. From out of their own pockets they are donating either cash or in kind to organizations giving relief goods to the needy. We see some of the wealthy people becoming instant philanthropists.
These are the silver linings amid all the horrors we are witnessing.
Because of the COVID-19, people are learning to care for each other. They are willingly sharing whatever they could for their fellowmen, helping them in any way they could. We are rediscovering the meaning of community. We are seeing people expressing their support and appreciation for the efforts of the doctors, nurses, and volunteers who are unselfishly putting their own lives in the line to try to save the lives of or at least alleviate the sufferings of the those who were infected by the virus.
The COVID-19 crisis is also making us realize what really are the basic essentials of life, the very basic things we need – food, simple clothes and shelter. What’s the use now of all our extra possessions – nice cars, expensive jewelry, and designer’s clothing?
The COVID-19 is reminding us as well of our mortality. It’s forcing us to rethink how are we treating our bodies. Are we taking good care of it to the point that we are eliminating disease as the possible cause of our untimely demise? This deadly virus is telling us that whatever are our pursuits and endeavors in life, we cannot afford to disregard our health.
Lockdowns enforced by governments reunited families. Yes, forcing us to stay at home brought us back to our family. We have never been closer to our loved ones than nowadays. Perhaps most of us finally realized that at the end we only have each other to rely on. The COVID-19 scare made us embrace our loved ones tighter than never before.
And there is one more that the current pandemic rekindled – spirituality. The COVID-19 brought us back not only to our family but also to God. The faith community have never prayed so hard supplicating Him to end the crisis. We have never seen believers praying unselfishly, praying not only for themselves and their loved ones and friends but for the rest of humanity… praying that may God give the leaders of all nations the wisdom and resolve to lead and protect their citizens in these critical times… praying that may He help the scientists and medical experts find in the soonest possible time the cure and develop the vaccine against this pestilence… praying that may He protect and strengthen the health professionals in hospitals and care homes helping the victims of the virus… praying that may He help the COVID-19 patients recover… praying that may He grant eternal repose to the souls of those who died because of the virus.
It’s sad that it is only in times of tragedy that we remember Him.
We know that God’s love and mercy for humanity abound. He will listen to our prayers… in His own time.
The one thing that we should not forget – it’s not the end of the world. It has not stopped spinning.
We have a life to live, with or without COVID.