Claiming more than 7,530 deaths all around the world and infecting more than 190,873 patients, the deadliest threat to mankind’s very existence is the Novel Coronavirus or the more popularly known Wuhan Coronavirus. The conquest of this virus started in the city of Wuhan on 31st December and within a month, on 30th January the outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. As the virus claims more than 130 cases in India, let’s look deeper into the inception and spread of the virus.
Origin of COVID-19
In late December, multiple cases were reported in different hospitals of Wuhan (a city of China) with symptoms of respiratory problems and acute pneumonia. The cases became alarming when there were no medicines that would work as a cure. Soon the disease was identified as the Novel Corona Virus. The world has already seen the lethality of viruses of this family. In 2003 the SARS epidemic took 774 lives whereas the 2012 MERS killed more than 300 people around the world. However, little did the people of China understood what this outbreak could turn out to be.The 52 cases initially reported grew to more than cases in Wuhan itself and all of the patients were transferred to the Houshenshan Hospital. But that wasn’t enough to isolate the disease, very soon the disease spread all throughout China like wildfire. With the Chinese new year, people from China travelled all around the world hence, positive cases of Corona increased in foreign countries like Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Iran, Italy and also the USA. Very soon the outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the WHO. The virus stands unbeatable as WHO predicts lack of medical equipment required to fight it and the world panic over it being a Pandemic.
Foreign conquests of Corona
Outside China, Corona has affected more than 1000 countries around the world with highest number of cases in Italy( 27.890),Iran(10,143), South Korea(8,320), Spain(11,409), France(6,633), Germany(7,974), USA(5,200), Japan(1,020). As, Italy records highest single troll from the virus, as of Monday the government placed its 60million population under complete lockdown. Iran has been severely affected by the virus. The country has gone into a complete shutdown as the virus infects even the high-ups in their political structure including their health minister. As Iran’s stock market faces doom, the U.S. stock market indicates significant figures. Airlines industries have been bruised by the epidemic. United Airlines began offering flight waivers, and Delta, American, and JetBlue have waived fees. Airlines have reduced routes or cut flights entirely to cities affected by the outbreak, and all in, the spread of the virus could cost the airline industry $113 billion, according to the International Air Transport Association. As of 11th March, the tech giants like Google, Amazon urges it’s employees to work from home while many Universities in the US including Columbia, Princeton, Harvard are asking students to take online classes from home. In short, Corona has affected not only the death of thousands but has disrupted economies and governments and created worldwide havoc.
Why is corona unbeatable ?
Now many will argue that with such advancements in medical science why don’t we have a cure or at least a vaccine available by now? Well to answer that we have got to understand a little bit more about viruses. The viruses are very interesting because when they are out in the open environment they act as non-living organisms but as soon as they enter the living body, Boom!! the devil has awakened. Now inside the body, the virus attacks the cells and hijacks the cell production machinery. Hence, instead of producing more normal cells it produces more viruses. The body’s immune system responses in vain as the speed of virus production is far more than T cell(cells that form the immunity). Just think about diseases caused by viruses– Pox, Influenza, AIDS. None of these has a definitive cure. There are medicines for these which mostly works on enhancing the immune system but cannot act on the virus. Again, we shouldn’t expect the cure of corona in 3 months whereas we are yet to find the same for HIV.
Conspiracy theories on Corona
History shows, that man creates such conspiracy theories as a coping mechanism against situations of crisis. This virus outbreak is nothing different. Since the inception of the corona, several conspiracy theories have been cooked around its origin. One conspiracy theory proposes that the coronavirus is actually a bio-weapon engineered by the CIA as a way to wage war on China. Others are convinced that the UK and US governments introduced the coronavirus as a way to make money from a potential vaccine. The people didn’t even spare making jokes about the cure and prevention of the disease. In such an incident, 16 Iranians died from methanol poisoning in Khuzestan province after false rumors spread that drinking alcohol would help prevent people from getting the Covid-19 virus, the official Irna news agency reported.
Even in India, fake messages have created a whirlwind of panic amongst masses. Some of them claimed that Corona is incurable ( whereas 64k+ people completely recovered from the disease) while others informed that the virus can spread even through touch. The country’s stock exchange plunged to its lowest level since 2010 amid fears of the disease. Finally, on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was forced to appeal to citizens, asking them to not heed to rumors surrounding COVID-19.
Coronavirus in India
Right now India has declared to have 130 cases with 3 deaths. Coronavirus has shaken up the IT Hubs of Bengaluru and Hyderabad as government advises the companies to avoid sending their officials abroad unless there is an absolute necessity of the same.This week schools and collleges in Orissa, Bihar and other states goes into lockdown to prevent further spreading of the virus. As doctors predict that it would take a minimum of 10 to 12 months before they find some definitive cure, prevention still remains the only viable option. Frequent hand washing, avoiding public gatherings, use of masks are the most effective hygiene practices to avoid infection.
My Words on Coronavirus
In the morning of 23rd January, Wuhan went into lockdown. There were more than 600 citizens trapped in Wuhan who was constantly contacting the officials at New Delhi for rescuing them. While other countries refused to rescue their citizens living in Wuhan, India planned their “ no one gets left behind “ mission. In the next few days, embassy officials worked round-the-clock to list the Indians in Hubei.“We had to attach a name to the face, and then attached a passport number. We either emailed or called each individual. We assured them,” Ambassador Vikram Misri. Soon the engineers prepared the flight and with four pilots and 15 cabin crew took off on an Air India Boeing 747 for Wuhan on the afternoon of January 31. On 1st Feb the Indian officials started the evacuation. Finally, by 2nd Feb 647 Indians have been evacuated through two special Air India flights. While 324 Indians were part of the first batch, 323 Indians and seven Maldivians were rescued. Air India officials hereby proved that they might not be the most profitable airlines company if the country but they are definitely the bravest.
Finally, on an ending note, Indian doctors have administered some medications used for HIV to the patients which have given positive results. So, we can handle the situation with a calm head without panicking and trust out medical officials on doing their job because they are the best.
This blog is contributed by Ria Biswas.