New trends in the pandemic | Pakistan Today

New trends in the pandemic

  • As time passes, the pandemic turns into a test of staying-power

Time is the second name of change but after the advent of the coronaVirus, this change is not usual. However, with this changing time, human behaviour has not changed proportionately. Although the pandemic has restricted human movement greatly, but the lessons might not have been learnt yet. Though such stillness as during the lockdown has not been seen earlier, many lives have been lost and the undesired numbers still continue to mount. These casualties include common people, security personnel, people from administration and the foremost defenders, the medical front line personnel as well.

At present, the most important thing is to avoid covid-19 and this can be accomplished only by the highest degree of seriousness by people towards the pandemic. It also needs whole nation to stand united against the spread of the pandemic but initially, unity and power of decision making lacked here. Different lessons can be learnt from the calamity, for example; the human who was moving at a very fast speed is now bound by an unknown attacker sidelining all conspiracy theories. The population explosion, and lack of education, discipline and rule of law are also the main issues in Pakistan. The sole panacea is good-governance and citizens’ welfare. Nevertheless, markets and bazaars are teemed after softening the lockdown.

The fact is that the new world order has been established with the post-Coronavirus world and now it is important to revamp and set up new social norms to get rid of the unnecessary and nonsensical practices in our society such as the morning shows, lavish Ramadan transmissions, post Iftar gameshows, unnecessary political-cum-current affair talk shows which only rotate about individual fights and fetch no pragmatic results for the nation, large Iftar parties and gigantic shopping Malls, marriage halls and shopping in the nights of Ramadan and especially on Chand-Raat (Night of moon). All black sheep and cronies are needed to be held accountable across board. Meanwhile, the SUPREME Court has turned the tables by completely annulling the state of lockdown. Moreover, the court thinks that covid-19 is not a pandemic in Pakistan whereas an epidemic of disease that spreads across a large region or worldwide, affecting a substantial number of people, is pandemic and so is covid-19 as the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) and rest of the world narrates daily through their data.

The sessions of parliament only proved to be bouts of mudslinging between the government and opposition. It’s also test of leadership. Let the people not suffer due to political point-scoring during this pandemic. But, the question of no lockdown policy is if pandemic aggravate, the burden of onus will shift to whom?

Scientifically, it is true that the peak is yet to take place in the country. However, it is also true that the deaths due to major ailments like heart and kidney diseases or tuberculosis are more than covid-19, but their treatments are not completely unknown contrary to the coronavirus. Albeit, Aitzaz Ahsan, a renowned senior lawyer and Ex-President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, is of the view that the apex court gave the verdict in hurry. Some people are also talking about the concept of herd immunity against the disease but this will not work out quickly because the results of herd immunity are generated when the number of daily infected patients is not unusual and secondly, the fruitful results of herd immunity are generated after about a year. So, the situation for the future is too risky.

There is no treatment of the pandemic yet. According to WHO, a vaccine will also take time to be available in markets for use. Some secondary medicines like Remdesivir is yet the only approved drug to treat covid-19 patients after promising early trial results allowed emergency use authorization, but it is not the actual treatment, although, the drug was in development in 2009 to treat Ebola. Precautionary measures are the only solution yet. Social distancing is also useful.

Lockdown has benefitted the world but it is not the ultimate solution as well. Lives are being affected in the worst way. Holistically, ending the lockdown is not the best option to follow for the time being. In this region of South Asia only Kerala, an Indian state, has been successful in coping with the disease but they also did not dare to diminish their lockdown completely.

On the other hand, economic crises are unprecedented. The Bank of England has said that such an economic and banking crisis as that due to covid-19 pandemic, was seen 300 years ago. Pakistan is not going to be affected financially by the pandemic as badly as the West has been, because Pakistan is an agricultural country and only 1-2 percent agricultural activities have been contracted due to the pandemic, except the services sector. The Western economies mostly consist of the services sector. For example; only in the USA, more than 80 percent of people are connected with the services sector. Moreover, only only 1.4 percent work in agriculture, as opposed to over 70 percent in Pakistan. So, the economic effect on Pakistan will be less than on the West. Additionally, more than 30 million people in America have registered for unemployment benefits.

According to the UN, the world economy will shrink by 3.2 percent due to the pandemic. It is considered the worst recession after the Great Depression of 1929.

Demographics also matter from place to place and region to region. Additionally, Pakistan has only 0.5 percent elderly people above 80 years, and the USA has 5 percent people above 80. Therefore, the lockdown situation throughout the world varies and all the animals cannot be driven with the same stick. But, in spite of all these, SOPs and social distancing cannot be ignored. The need of the hour will decide the situation of lockdown, whether it should be there or not, or it should be soft or smart.  A strict type of lockdown can also be implemented again but its duration must be short to access the repercussions of developing in to the worst of situations.

The sessions of parliament only proved to be bouts of mudslinging between the government and opposition. It’s also test of leadership. Let the people not suffer due to political point-scoring during this pandemic. But, the question of no lockdown policy is if pandemic aggravate, the burden of onus will shift to whom?