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Opinion
Monday Apr 20 2020
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The world under attack: who can be the saviour?

Photo: File

If a country’s so-called greatest scientist tells tall tales about the COVID-19 on television, it should not come as a surprise if that country’s prime minister, a cricketer-turned-politician, fails to estimate the possible deaths due to the deadly virus.

The irony of all ironies is that not only Pakistan, but the world’s most powerful country, the United States, appears to be taking a similar approach to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The reason is that the US president, a businessman-turned-politician, is posing as Mr. Know-It-All in front of the country’s most eminent virologists; behaving arrogantly towards them, the way a monarch ridicules the most intelligent adviser for their criticism of an official decision.

Thus, looking at what is happening in New York alone is enough to understand the gravity of the situation. Despite a decrease, the death rate in this state is still touching 600 on a daily basis. In total, the death toll is nearing 40,000 in the country.

Despite the coronavirus-caused havoc in China and Europe, President Trump put New York under lockdown unwillingly. Later, he was desperate to reopen the markets in the country on Easter Sunday on April 12. He appears to be treating the coronavirus like his rival Hillary Clinton whom he thought he could defeat or deter by using derogatory language.

Now, the whole nation is paying the price for President Trump’s negligent attitude. Trump later changed his mind about the lockdown, thanks to Senator Lindsey Graham. The golf buddy convinced the American president that if he ended the lockdown, it would result in deaths of a large number of people. In that scenario, Trump would lose any and all chances to win the upcoming elections.

Had Trump carefully listened to his adviser Dr Anthony Fauci, the way he listened to Lindsey Graham, there would not have been as many deaths in New York that would blur the memories of 9/11 attacks. Now, even an over a two-trillion-dollar bailout package is not sufficient to support the country’s stock market. On the other hand, Trump, who wants to be reelected this year, appears to be losing his mental equilibrium and peace of mind. One day he launches into a tirade of criticism against China, and the next day he lashes out at the World Health Organisation (WHO) for not being quick enough to call the coronavirus a pandemic.

The coronavirus is hundred times smaller than a human body cell. Different types of coronavirus, including SARS and MERS, became the cause of respiratory illnesses in the past. Nevertheless, the type of coronavirus responsible for the existence of the COVID-19 was not known to us until 2019. Nobody imagined that the COVID-19 would spread to the entire world this fast after it surfaced in China’s Wuhan city.

Coronavirus has many lethal abilities. In case of sticking to a non-living thing, the virus does not activate itself. However, when it enters a living body, it takes the body hostage and activates itself as a living organism.

According to French scientists, if the virus is heated at 60 degrees centigrade for an hour, that won’t cause it even the slightest harm. To destroy the virus, it has to be heated at 92 degrees centigrade for 15 minutes. This fact should be an eye-opener for those who falsely think that the coronavirus would magically go away in the summer.

Coronavirus also disguises itself before launching an attack. Normally, when a virus enters a human body, the immune system activates itself to fight against the virus. However, the coronavirus changes its form in such a way that the immune system is unable to detect it. It means the coronavirus works like a soldier who camouflages his appearance according to the situation due to which his enemy is only able to identify him when the soldier finally unleashes the offensive.

The best way to end or curb the coronavirus is maintaining social distance from its carriers. If the virus is restricted to the host body, it is likely to be killed by the antibodies which are produced in a patient’s body. If the required antibodies are not produced immediately in the host person, the patient is administered medicines so they can stay alive unless the immune system works effectively. In the worst-case scenario, the virus kills its host body and gets buried with it.

That’s why the doctors and the paramedics in the world – from Italy, Spain, Germany France, the UK and the US – are requesting and reminding the people to stay at home and not to insist on reopening the markets, which could put in danger their lives and the lives of their loved ones. It’s time we cared for the doctors and the nurses too, because even the healthcare systems of the developed countries have collapsed due to this virus.

In this situation, if President Trumps announces the reopening of the markets and the resumption of businesses, Democrats will call such a decision tantamount to playing with human lives and the opposition party’s narrative seems logical. President Trump is faced with a major dilemma. He has to contest an election in the next six months. If the lockdown remains in place, the country’s economy in deep recession would be destroyed, and if the restrictions are lifted, there is a high risk of a large of number of deaths.

However, our prime minister is not facing a similar situation as the country’s opposition parties are not only calling for the lockdown restrictions but also admitting that it would be an uphill task to curb the coronavirus spread in the densely populated cities and the healthcare-deprived villages.

The failure of realising the gravity of the situation despite knowing what happened in the neighbouring and western countries has already resulted in more than a hundred and forty deaths and a total of more than seven thousand cases in Pakistan.

Pakistan needs to adopt a scientific approach and take concrete measures in the fight against the coronavirus by learning from the experience of countries such as China, South Korea, Japan and Singapore that have proved that humans will eventually come out as winners against the coronavirus. Nevertheless, over two million patients and around one-and-a-half hundred thousand deaths are a testament to the fact that disillusion will not help mitigate the situation.

Originally published in The News