The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in the past few months. We’re going through a global health crisis and the uncertainty about the future keeps growing. We’ve been practising social distancing and have been locked in our houses for more than two months now. We don’t know what the world will look like after all of this is over. But we know for sure that a crisis like this will reshape the way we live, it will reorient our relationship to the outside world and even to each other.
The news every day is ripe with information surrounding the deadly virus. From new symptoms being discovered to new researchers making claims about how the virus behaviour is influencing infection, we’re hearing something new each day. In a recent update, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the novel coronavirus “may never go away” and that people will have to learn to live with it.
The novel coronavirus has infected 4.5 million people worldwide and 2,97,000 people have lost their lives. In India, there are 78,003 confirmed cases and 2,549 people have lost the battle to COVID-19.
While we all have been waiting for things to better, the WHO has said that the virus can become an endemic like HIV. “This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away,” Michael Ryan, the world body’s emergencies director, said at a virtual media briefing in Geneva.
“HIV has not gone away – but we have come to terms with the virus…we have found therapies and we have found the prevention methods and people don’t feel as scared as they did before,” he added.
He further said that different countries have had some control over the disease, but it will still take a “massive effort” even if we have the vaccine for COVID-19. He said that even though there are more than 100 potential vaccines being developed, but there’s no guarantee that the vaccine will completely eliminate the virus. For instance, some illnesses like measles have still not be eliminated despite there being vaccines for them. Dr Ryan rightly said that no one can actually predict when and how will this virus disappear.
The WHO has also cautioned on easing the curbs and lockdown restrictions–it may or may not lead to the second wave of COVID-19 infections.
“Many countries would like to get out of the different measures,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “But our recommendation is still the alert at any country should be at the highest level possible.”
PM Modi announced on Tuesday during his address to the nation that we will see a fourth edition of the lockdown but with new rules. While the new lockdown may ease a few restrictions, it’s important that we take precautions. As WHO epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove rightly puts it, “We need to get into the mindset that it is going to take some time to come out of this pandemic.” While the new lockdown may ease a few restrictions, it’s important that we keep taking precautions.
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