Humanity is faced with a mighty challenge that has grasped the current whole world in its clutches. Despite all the advancements in science, we found ourselves ill-equipped to fully halt the damage caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
We might continue to see the impact of this pandemic for decades to come. Various experts around the world are working to see how our future world will be affected by our current state. Social scientists are trying to gauge the pandemic’s political, social, economic, and cultural impacts. Healthcare professionals coupled with data scientists are busy constructing predictive pandemic spread analysis, preventive measure matrixes and medical supply distribution models. All this effort to ensure that something like the last 16 months of COVID-19 episode is not repeated in the future.
This current state of affairs started in 2019 when the novel coronavirus was initially identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan. On March 11, 2020, WHO (World Health Organization) declared Coronavirus a pandemic. WHO also warned that this lethal virus generally has an incubation period of 2-14 days, however it may vary from patient to patient. The virus can spread with breathing or sneezing in a public place without covering the mouth, personal contact with the Coronavirus patients or even contact with the items the infected have touched. Some infected individuals may not exhibit any symptoms; for most patients the symptoms include flu, shortness of breath, loss of smell, etc. COVID-19 can be extremely dangerous for the elderly, patients with an existing medical history, or those individuals who have a weak immune system.
By March 11, 2020, COVID-19 had already spread to 110 countries, chiefly due to international travel. This spread was so fast and unprecedented that governments around the world found themselves exasperated on how to counter this pandemic. Amidst this mayhem, the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths associated with it continued to increase, and are still rampant in many parts of the world today.
Seeing the results of the control measures taken in the first country this pandemic hit, the world tried to mimic China. Lockdowns, public area closures, and social distancing measures implemented by the Chinese government had proven to be effective, so various countries adopted this strategy to combat the spread of the Coronavirus. However, such measures are not geared to be the long-term solution. The wheels of the economy cannot be turned with such added burdens, thus various nations have struggled to find a balance between combating the spread of COVID-19 and running their economy.
In the United States, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), from a very early point, warned that the pace of incoming COVID-19 patients could soon overload the hospitals; it turns out, this was no idle warning. Up till 12 March 2021, there were approximately 1000 Coronavirus cases in the United States; within 15 days this number crossed 100,000 cases. From that point, the numbers have sky rocketed. As of May 31, 2021, the number of U.S. COVID-19 patients stands at 30,776,156, and the number of dead is 561,265 and counting.
Apart from the decision to favor the economy rather than disease prevention, Trump administration has been criticized for being lethargic in the measures it did take to combat the pandemic. COVID-19 testing was made possible in all the 50 states by mid-March 2020, however, there was a severe shortage of testing kits, resulting in an inaccurate measurement of the actual number of infected people. The administration’s lack of initiative, combined with massive nation-wide protests in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder, served to further weaken the response to the pandemic. Given the resources the United States processes, and its prestige on the global stage, many believe the country’s handling of this crisis to be sub-par.
Since its inception, the pandemic has had three waves, and we have seen the evolution of various variants of this virus. Although the advent of vaccines has curtailed the COVID-19 pandemic to some extent, we still have a long way to go. Currently there is a race to provide vaccination to majority of the world population, but keep in mind, even with wide spread availability of the vaccine the danger is not over.