The coronavirus surge

PACHU MENON
Wednesday, 11 March 2020

A ‘Made in China’ health scare

A typical arms race where the procurement and hoarding of not only traditional but also biological weapons gives a new meaning to modern warfare is nothing short of an alarming proposition for the whole world.

The world has another reason to be weary of the People’s Republic of China!
After threatening the west with its economic aggression with re-laid market strategies where it has strived to have domestic companies to replace foreign companies as designers and manufacturers of key technology and products first at home, then abroad; fears that the real source of the coronavirus is from a laboratory in Wuhan which is linked to its covert biological weapon programs lend the Communist regime an intimidating aura around its intentions of global dominance.

Of course the Chinese government is yet to admit the ‘accidental’ pathogen leakage as a probable cause for the virus outburst. However if the news has even an iota of truth behind it, then China needs to be castigated and ostracised by the international community for its unethical ways to gain global supremacy.

But with disclosures that it had also developed an ‘antidote’ for the SARS virus which again originated from Wuhan city in China in 2002, it becomes evidently clear that China is involved in a mad scramble for recognition as a superpower.

No one in their right sense would want to envisage visions of another World War. When nations with intentions of securing its borders pile up weapons of mass destruction to counter threats from enemy countries, we should not forget that we are inching closer to doomsday.
The world can never be safe from the effects of these destructive weapons. Meanwhile, novel coronavirus (nCoV) is gradually spreading across the globe prompting experts to suggest that WHO should declare the coronavirus outbreak a world health emergency.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is defined as illness caused by a novel coronavirus now called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2), formerly called 2019-nCoV.
With an imminent risk of the international spread of the virus, and with no cure and no vaccine developed against it, many countries are taking precautionary measures and maintaining a strict vigilance at all levels to contain the deadly virus.

But with mainland China having become a hub of international business activities, the chances of restricting the spread of nCoV appear bleak.
As with all the other Chinese products, we can only hope that this ‘Made in China’ health scare too has a short life!
With reports of several confirmed cases of COVID-19 in India, it is time the nation woke up to the stark truth that we are not immune to the deadly effects of new strain of virus which when compared to the earlier ones, is reported to have the highest mortality rate.

Although the threat has set alarm bells ringing and triggered panic across the country, it is the manner in which the administration has been going about dispelling fears in the minds of the countrymen about its possible fallouts that has added to the confusion.
With the government seemingly playing politics over the Corona scare with the Opposition, the public has every reason to believe that it has been left in the lurch.

For that matter, the callousness exhibited by the country’s political establishment over the ‘biological disaster’ dismisses any notion of a nation gearing up to combat an emergency.
Though a mean task, the government would however be expected to take on the coronavirus challenge head-on and make all efforts to avert the massive crisis about to be unleashed by the potentially deadly virus on the country and its economy.

Political grandstands by leaders at this moment would be the most inappropriate response to a scenario where quelling the threats from the virus should be assuming greater significance for the government.
The suggestion that the government would do the public a great service by not allowing politicians and bureaucrats to decide on the course and content of the coronavirus combat strategy does appear sane enough considering the penchant shown by many of them to exploit the ‘conditions’ to further their cause.

But does the buck stop there!
With no known inoculation to neutralise its effects, the halo of ‘invincibility’ the coronavirus has earned for itself has had a paranoiac effect on the masses.
While the press and the media should have been judicious with their reporting so as not to spread panic among people, the fourth estate with its ominous and extensive coverage about the ‘progressive onslaught’ of the rampaging virus has only made people more apprehensive.
Apparently, the changing lifestyles have not diminished our fondness for inculcating and maintaining healthy habits. Hence any adverse news about emerging medical risks is greeted with a sense of foreboding.

Yet, media coverage of health hazards in recent times have bordered on some of the most bizarre practises. Sensationalising news events has always been its forte, but embellishing health scares and putting the whole country into a State of dread is that aspect of news reporting that should be strongly discouraged.
As the infections assume unmanageable proportions globally, the media is bound to devote much time to the Coronavirus outbreak. And this in turn has caused a spike in fear and anxiety about the disease. It thus becomes essential that the public maintains a composed demeanour on the face of this ‘viral-adversity’.

But why should we fall preys to the style of news coverage that only advances fear on the face of adversities. Shouldn’t we be engaging in a continuous process of selective attention and filtering!
At the same time, the hyper-active social media with its posts, shares, multiple ‘forwards’ and ‘thoughtful insights’ into the tense situation brought about by the surge of the coronavirus scourge has only compounded the problems for the administration.
It is being jocularly said that half of the Indian population has turned coronavirus experts. With the social media suggesting several and unbelievable ‘magical potions’ to counter the virus, the painstaking efforts by the world’s scientific community to ‘discover’ an effective cure for COVID-19 have only invited scornful disregards.

Furthermore, doomsday ‘predictions’ that were made years before with regard to the coronavirus are giving people sleepless nights.
So all-in-all, it has been a comprehensive failure at arresting the fear psychosis on the face of the virus-threat more than the virus itself that has brought about the chaotic situation.

Termed as a ‘once-in-a-century-pandemic’; staying informed about the latest developments about COVID-19 and following the basic protective measures against the new coronavirus, one can yet insulate oneself against the disease.
It is however sensible to be guided by appropriate medical advice, but certainly not by one’s feelings which is unfortunately the general mood in the country today with regard to the coronavirus scare.

 

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