Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Is the fight against Corona, jeopardizing our future?

Wish a superhero would show up and fix this already...
Most of us seldom have anything commendable to say about our elected leaders. And with good reason. It is almost as if being corrupt, ruthless, incompetent, ignorant, or downright criminal is the job description of a career politician. As voters, we are used to making the best of abysmal choices and we all fumble along, hoping against hope that a great leader will emerge out of nowhere to save us from all the things we need saving from. Or at least, not screw us over so badly that we are left unable to defend ourselves and safeguard our best interests.

Neither of these things seem to be happening as the world does battle with the Coronavirus and leaders of countries and states find themselves saddled with the task of dealing with an unprecedented crisis. There is sweeping condemnation for nearly all of them, no matter what they do or don’t. And I can’t help but be concerned about the fate of this nation and the world at large, which currently rests in the hands of those who haven’t given us much reason to trust or respect them.

All of us are running scared right now. The uncertainty and paucity of information is hard to take. The social and economic consequences of this complete shutdown of normal life is going to be long – lasting and possibly cause a lot more havoc than the virus itself. The initial data suggests that among those who have tested positive for Covid – 19 in the general population, the symptoms are mild and don’t require hospitalization. The more serious cases requiring intensive care, have mainly been seen among those above the age of sixty and higher. The fatalities have mostly been limited to the elderly and those suffering from chronic illness or compromised immune systems. Which is not to say the younger populace, under 30 years of age has remained unaffected or free from fatality. No doubt, the statistics will keep shifting and it will be months before a clearer picture emerges.

In the meantime, nearly all our resources are being expended on a confused, sporadic effort to contain the virus and flatten the curve without much thought being given to the efficacy of this approach or the collateral damage that is already taking a toll on the populace. The lockdown has crippled the entire workforce forcing thousands into an impoverished state left with no means to take care of themselves or their families. Forget access to a health care system that is certainly on the verge of being overwhelmed, many have been left without clean water, food, or a roof over their heads. How long can this pitiable state be allowed to continue? Even if this were to blow over, unemployment will be at an all-time high and small businesses may not recover. And let us not even begin to discuss the state of public morale after the staggering costs exacted by this catastrophe.

Hospitals have shut their outpatient departments and are focusing solely on this pandemic on government orders at the expense of those afflicted with far more life – threatening disorders and conditions since all surgeries and medical procedures barring emergencies have been deferred indefinitely. The plight of those diagnosed with cancer, HIV, renal failure and other diseases or disorders is worrisome as cops prowling the roads use any and all means to ensure that people do not leave their homes. Surely it is unconscionable to leave the sick and diseased not afflicted with Covid – 19 to get by as best as they can? What is the point of keeping some safe from Corona while leaving others to die or have irreparable damage done to their health by allowing serious ailments to go untreated?

The gnawing questions persist even as they send our anxiety soaring into the stratosphere. When will it be safe for us to leave our homes and return en masse to the workplace? Will schools be reopened soon? When will we identify the best treatment methods to beat this thing? How much time will it take to develop a vaccine? What about the costs we are inadvertently incurring both inside and outside the financial sphere? There are no answers available at present and I don’t think they will be forthcoming anytime soon. All we can do is hunker down and keep our fingers as well as toes crossed as we wait interminably for this thing to blow over, hopefully sooner rather than later.

As for the fight against Corona, it cannot be allowed to cause even more devastation than the virus is likely to cause. Therefore, it is to be hoped that our leaders, whatever their failures in the past may have been will redeem themselves by figuring out the best way to fight the virus and save those who are infected but not by putting the future of everyone else at risk. What we need are unlikely heroes, who will rise to the occasion and do battle with the forces of disease and despair, and deliver us safe and sound into a better future.

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