Dear Readers, you may notice the dates of the Blog do not match the Flash Post dates which are in real time. The blog was written in 2009 and saw the light of day 6 months back when my younger daughter discovered it and decided to bring it to you here.
It Goes by the Name of Covid 19 | Flash Post 396

It Goes by the Name of Covid 19 | Flash Post 396

Button, this is what Macbeth says after hearing of Lady Macbeth’s demise:

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Can you explain that please?

Here, Macbeth is claiming that life is nothing but a “walking shadow” and then uses a metaphor to compare life to an actor, “a poor player” who has a short stint on stage like our lives that are as short and as transitory.

So what’s your point?

Can you believe that this tiny virus that goes by the name COVID 19 has caught the world unawares? The entire universe looks like one big shamshan ghat. Offices are shut, the roads are devoid of vehicles and humans, schools are temporarily shut, so are offices and commercial enterprises. Bank transactions are happening online at snail’s pace. The  BSE and NSE are shut so there is no trading and all businesses have come to a creaking halt. Only essential services like chemists and grocery outlets are operating, that too at 20% of their actual capacity.  One hopes ambulance services are up and about. Hospitals, barring a couple that shut down temporarily, because staffers tested positive for the virus are doing their best in treating the sick even though they are not adequately equipped to do so.

It’s like the Big Ben that stopped chiming a few years back?

But Big Ben didn’t bite. The bug that has bitten the human race has made no distinction whatsoever between colour, creed, nationality, religion, caste, language and status.  It has hopefully humbled the powerful and brought the deprived at crossroads that have left them bewildered and lost. While we continue to sit in our ivory towers, watching the news on television to get a feel of how other countries are handling it and what it’s like in our country, playing board games or catching up on latest shows and films online and spending quality time with our families, migrants and daily wage earners are sitting huddled in thousands at train and bus stations waiting to be taken home to their families. There are lakhs of others who are braving the long journey home trudging hundreds of kilometres on foot—hungry, thirsty, sick, bare-feet and injured— to get back to their loved ones.

This lockdown…will it really help?

Well, if a country under lockdown practices what some countries like Singapore has done, lockdowns can be of help. When the first case of COVID 19 was detected in December last year, Singapore made use of the next two months to get their act together and while it continues to report new infections and deal with them on an urgent basis, it has managed to steer clear from the kind of catastrophic outbreaks that are seen in other countries. Some of these measures, including isolating and quarantining cases, contact tracing, identifying those in close contact with infected patients and practising social distancing helped hugely. Every country had these two months to prepare themselves to tackle the virus. Those that didn’t take advantage of that lead time are the ones that are facing serious problems. Like ours.

Is there any country not locked down?

I think Sweden is one of them. Austria is also set to become Europe’s first country to roll back lockdown.

Could it be anything but a virus?

Lots of other facts  are doing the rounds. Some say it’s a biological warfare China unleashed on the world. Another doctor said it’s  a game pharmaceuticals are playing because the medicine industry is not doing well and COVID 19 is a weapon they can use to develop vaccines that the entire world would lap up.  I also read that the radiation from 5G is so powerful that people are falling dead like ninepins and the virus is being blamed for it and so on and so forth.

That’s scary. And humans are to be blamed entirely for it. With their devious and cunning ways, humans have damaged this planet forever.

This pandemic is not the first to strike. AIDS has killed 36 million people since 1981 though I learnt that the HIV virus has nothing to do with AIDS. Currently there are between 31 and 35 million people living with HIV. With awareness growing, new treatments have made it far more manageable and many of those infected have moved on to lead productive lives. Between 2005 and 2012 the annual global deaths from AIDS dropped from 2.2 million to 1.6 million. The Spanish Flu between 1918 and 1920 ended up infecting over a third of the world’s population killing 50 million. Of the 500 million people infected, the mortality rate was estimated at 10% to 20%, with up to 25 million deaths in the first 25 weeks alone. Going by the fatality rates, COVID 19 appears to be milder than SARS AND MERS so far. However, COVID 19 seems to be spreading much faster.

Any likelihood that we’ll see a rainbow at the end of the tunnel soon?

Can’t say but the one thing I am ecstatic over is that the universe is slowly healing, and breathing easier because of less pollution, enjoying some calm and peace, resting and hoping to see better days in times to come. We saw a peacock dancing on the road outside our home the other day, even though there was no hint of rain. Dogs and cats are freely running around, hungry for food but delighted to see no cars  and trucks that can run them down. We are imprisoned in our homes, true. But all of a sudden the animal world seems to have discovered freedom. And the forests no longer fear that they will be brutally chopped to make way for highways and factories. No, it is not all gloom and doom.

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