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The Financial Express
Swasti Lankabangla Swasti Lankabangla

War against the pandemic


War against the pandemic

Already into the seventh month of our struggle with the Covid-19 pandemic, can we stand back and say: well, here we are, now? It has been a war that we did not choose.  But then no nation did either; but still no one could escape the battle that each had to fight against the pandemic.

How are we then faring in our own battle against the scourge six months after it struck in early March with the first case of Covid-19 infection detected in the country? Considering the percentage of people found Covid-19-positive out of those tested as recently as on Monday (at 14.29 per cent), we cannot still say that the pandemic is getting under control. The infection rate will have to decrease further to less than one third of the present one, as required by the WHO standards, to make such a claim. And, in view of our population size, test facilities are also required to be expanded and the number of tests done increased. Until such conditions are met, it won't be appropriate to say anything definitive about the intensity of transmission or the spread of the virus in the community.

However, if the rate of recovery from the infection is any indication to pin our hopes on, then there is an incontestable piece of good news to share! The latest WHO weekly update of September 07 shows the total confirmed cases of infection at 327,359. The figure for the recovered cases, on the other hand, was at 224, 573. That gives a recovery rate of 68.60.  

This is doubtlessly impressive. The total casualty figure so far (until September 7) at 4,516 is also not high.

Perhaps, these results should give us reasons to be reassured. The situation after all is not as bad as some sceptics would like to say. In that case, can these results be looked upon as a sign of success in our battle against the pandemic?

To be fair, no nation so far could make such a claim. Even Vietnam, which earlier declared that it was free from the virus, has recently admitted that there have been reports of Covidid-19 from Da Nang in Central Vietnam.

So, it would be rather naïve to even dare to make any such claim against this most enigmatic virus the world has ever seen. One would like to recall the experiences that one nation after another had gone through in Europe just months back when the invincible legions of the Covid-19 reached their shores. Regardless of how advanced their existing healthcare delivery systems or levels of advancement in medical science were, they all submitted to its power.

Even in the North and the South America it has been a repeat of what has been happening in Asia and Europe. The USA, despite its superiority in every field of science, medical science included, could not raise any defence against the pandemic.

So, at this stage, any such attempt at claiming success or victory against the pandemic would sound vain. Every country has a unique way of carrying out its struggle against the virus. In fact, China, Italy, Spain, the UK, the EU countries, Russia and other East European countries and, lastly, the nations of the Americas, each of them had its own specific conditions that defined the uniqueness of its defence against the virus.

 China, being the first on the line of fire, had no example before it to emulate. But it did it excellently well with its strict shutdown measures and set the example before the rest of the world.

But in case of many European countries where the pandemic attack took place later, the Chinese experience did not help. The governments of Italy or Spain, for example, did not hesitate to admit their helplessness in the face of the Covid-19's fury. However, instances of such admissions are also not many among the politicians. Marked by a complete denial of the pandemic's destructive power, the response of the Brazilian or of the Belarusian president to the disease has been quite the opposite. The government leaders of Italy or Spain in question were rather exceptional in that sense.

The recent rise of the Right on the global political scene along with the demagogues who thrive on the common peoples' fears and prejudices are, indeed, proving to be a worse menace than the pandemic itself.   That is because, the pandemic does what it can do; it does not lie. But the demagogues and the rabble-rousers do.  They always have an axe to grind and will stop at nothing to meet their evil agenda.  And instances are already before us what a dangerously toxic mix it can make where the pandemic is raging, while the demagogues and charlatans are ruling the roost. People's lives matter little to them.

The brief digression from the main issue at hand has not been without reason. When the people are struggling and making great sacrifices in their battle against the virus, a nexus is being created between the evil political and corporate interests globally. The aim, as always, is to make big money from anti-pandemic drugs and vaccines in the making and that, too, at the expense of poor people's lives!

Though, politics, on the face of it, seems to be far removed from the world of the pandemic and the ongoing researches to combat it, it is, in reality, not.

That means the war against the pandemic is going to be a brutal and long-drawn one. Various interest groups by way of staking their claims are also going to make this war a complicated and difficult one.

Under the circumstances, one should be cautious about claiming any success or breakthrough in the war against the virus.

sfalim.ds@gmail.com

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