Covid-19 has shaken the entire world, and many countries have to go into lockdown on and off since late 2019. Covid-19 is the worst pandemic the world has encountered after the Spanish flu pandemic that wiped out almost 5% of the world’s population in the 1910s.
A decade ago, the world witnessed the 2009 swine flu pandemic caused by H1N1 strains of the flu virus. It affected as many as 1.4 billion people and killed more than 152,000 people across the globe. To date, the Covid-19 has killed 3.54 million people (estimated to be around 7.6 million) and affected 180 million across the globe.
Every country on this planet is under immense pressure to protect its people from Covid-19, and it is becoming a never-ending struggle with the virus mutating as part of its life cycle, posing new challenges to the medical community.
Major Pharma companies have developed vaccines intending to end the pandemic. The vaccines could be categorized into four types: a) Inactivated virus, b) viral vector, c) protein subunit, and d) DNA or RNA. Despite these multiple approaches enabling our body cells to get ready to fight against any viral infections, we are still struggling to find an end to this pandemic.
One of the issues that India faces is the delay in immunizing the population again Covid-19. The delay is partly due to the population and availability of raw materials required to produce vaccines for millions of people.
Moreover, the SARS-CoV-2 keeps mutating into new variants such as the South African variant B.1.351, the UK variant B.1.1.7 and Indian variant B.1.617. It becomes a challenging task for the pharma companies to test the efficacy of their vaccines against the new variant. If the vaccines are not effective against the new variant, it needs to be redesigned to combat the new variant, prolonging the pandemic.
Many countries’ savings have been wiped out due to this pandemic. Major economies struggle to cope with the health care burden as millions of infected people need hospitalization for several days, depending on the severity of the disease.
No one knows when lockdown will be enforced as the virus mutates every now and then, posing a more significant challenge to control and manage the virus. Especially people who are overseas are the most affected as they are unable to see their loved ones back home. Many are losing their families and not allowed to attend the final rites due to strict quarantine and lockdown measures.
Rajan, who lives in the USA, recently lost his father. Because of lockdown restrictions, he couldn’t visit his father’s final rituals in Maharashtra. There are thousands of such people like Rajan who have lost their family member(s) to Covid-19 and are unable to visit their hometown due to limited flights, lockdown, hotel quarantine, long and expensive flights.
This has seriously created mental health issues, and it may take years to recover from such mental health conditions. Governments have to set up a separate budget to manage increasing mental health issues. The freedom to move around has now been crippled by Covid-19, and most people in lockdown are confined in a small space, limiting them to have face-to-face interactions with their dear ones and friends.
It has affected people from all walks of life and has led to mental health issues. It is hard to find a common solution to all as mental health issues differ from person to person. The World Health Organisation hosts a separate webpage for the public to provide the latest information about Covid-19.
Interestingly, there is a separate section on Mythbusters to clarify some of the common beliefs circulated in social media. It also provides advice to the public and health workers, technical guidance, response and ongoing research in the Covid-19 space.
Students are the worst affected community as they have lost their luxury of going to school and friendly interactions with their classmates. Many schools and colleges have resorted to online teaching, which isn’t as good as a regular session. We are now living in a virtual world, and it looks like in the coming years, online courses are likely to be a standard format.
The digital screen has now become our portal to communicate with the outside world. In one way, digital technology has reduced the gap between countries, and many meetings could be efficiently conducted without wasting one valuable time and money.
Many children have lost their parents in this second wave in India and have become orphans since then. A few days ago, Smriti Irani, the Indian minister for women and child development, released a statement on Twitter that at least 577 children had lost both parents between April 1 and May 25. It is heartbreaking to hear such news, and the future of these children remains a big question mark.
There were several appeals to the Government of India requesting to support the children who have lost their parents/guardians/adopted parents. It is great to see the Prime Minister of India has released a memo on May 30, 2021, stating that PM Cares will deposit 10 lakh to each of the orphaned children, which will support their personal requirements and education, and the corpus amount will be given to the child at 23 years of age.
As human beings, we tend to generate negative thoughts when we feel alone with no support and minimal interactions with the outside world. The best thing to overcome negative thoughts is by performing regular meditation and yoga, listen to music, news, recall sweet memories, watch favourite movies, plays, and read books.
We live in a highly advanced age where we have access to several online platforms to communicate with friends, relatives, and colleagues. Online meeting platforms such as zoom, teams, Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter have helped us communicate with the outside instantaneously. The above media helps us keep active in life and saves much of our valuable time and money spent commuting to the venue and waiting for the meeting to commence.