The impact of Covid -19 pandemic

By Afshan Mirza. Dated: 4/9/2020 4:29:28 PM

“Nature has a way of replenishing itself and the mankind” and it is very apt to the prevailing situation of world around. Corona has been a major blow inclusively to all the existing structures and institutions. All of a sudden, it was realized how unprepared the world is to confront the challenges of pandemic.
The Spanish flu of 1918, considered as one of the most deadly Pandemic in human history, took lives of millions of people behind Black Death. The Black Death, estimated to have killed 30% to 60% of European population. It took 200 years for Europeans to recover to its previous level, and Florence didn’t recover until the 19th century, causing greater upheaval to Europe’s social and political structure.
Italian chronicler Agnolo di Tura recorded his experience from Siena about Black Death.
Father abandoned child, wife husband, one brother another; for this illness seemed to strike through the breath and sight. And so they died. And none could be found to bury the dead for money or friendship. Members of a household brought their dead to a ditch as best they could, without priest, without divine offices ... great pits were dug and piled deep with the multitude of dead. And they died by the hundreds both day and night ... And as soon as those ditches were filled more were dug ... And I, Agnolo di Tura ... buried my five children with my own hands. And there were also those who were so sparsely covered with earth that the dogs dragged them forth and devoured many bodies throughout the city. There was no one who wept for any death, for all awaited death. And so many died that all believed it was the end of the world.
This situation is in complete agreement when compared to COVID-19 and its mayhem, appears to be equally intense in fact much more. And when it comes to Spanish Flu, it had a more devastating impact on the post war world. Are there any parallels seen among all these pandemics? What was situation of the world before the onset of these pandemics in terms of socio-political and economic condition? While going through these chronology and its consequences, what I realized is that the pandemic in the human mind had already been present before its manifestation into dire and dreadful repercussion. What these pandemics tried to do is awaken human consciousness whenever it went into a deep slumber. As Einstein said, “Adversity introduces a man to himself”, that’s what Covid19 is trying to do. It’s letting man to introspect by keeping them away from social life, and letting them to contemplate over their choices and its consequences.
Thinking is revolution and this revolution demands Solitude but when man denies this intellectual food to himself, Nature has a way to teach. The ways of nature may be harsh but blessings are often disguised in these ways. So, in the times of Quarantine, we have enough time to rethink about our priorities and the focus of our attention. With the passage of time, many ideas have been evolved for the protection of the Environment but nothing could make it better as this COVID19 did, reducing pollution level to a much greater extent. Thus staying at home, though seems to be a little step but can make a huge difference collectively.
There are so many different narratives coming out from renowned economist, thinkers, and politicians. Some believe that China is responsible for this pandemic and conspired against super powers like America and other countries to ruin their economy and if this narrative is assumed to be false then another question arises, why the causalities in China are quite negligible when it comes to other powerful nation like America, Italy, Spain. Italy inspite of being one of the most acknowledged nations in terms of its Medical and Health facilities faced unimaginable casualties then how come China beat COVID in such a short time? On the other hand, China blames America for the pandemic considering it as a bio-weapon to ruin China’s Economy. And when it comes to India, Virus takes the communal color and it becomes a debate of Hindu-Muslim virus. Not going into the politics of communalism, or the different narratives which might have a truth of its own. I would like you to follow a middle path, as it is often said that Truth is neither Black nor White but in-between. It doesn’t matter what narrative holds relevance, the fact we are in deep chaos can’t be denied. So rather than getting into the origin, we need to understand what we have been doing so far in contributing to this pandemic which has shaken the whole world. May be , it is an eye opener to our own reality which is colored by prejudices, cultural construct, ideologies which are further reinforced by corrupt media as journalism lost its essence excluding few media houses. We can say, this is the time of Post Truth where we need to stay cautious and vigilant before absorbing any of the information broadcasted. Ground root reality is quite different from the reality shown on television. As George Orwell said “Intellectual Honesty is a crime in any Totalitarian country”, and in my Opinion Intellectual Honesty is a crime everywhere and only few with enormous strength are able to show such courage. So rather than getting influenced by news channels , we need to imagine a new world and this imagination will make you risk your existing construct about you and the world around, as Orwell said, “The Imagination, like certain wild animals, will not breed in captivity.”
Apart from this, our economy is going through huge crisis as Joseph E. Stiglitiz warns that “The impact of COVID-19 on emerging and developing economies has only begin to reveal itself and there are enough reasons to believe that these countries will be hit harder than advanced economies” and that does makes sense as the whole world is going through recession. Lockdown indeed proved to be a beneficial step in controlling the spreading of disease but it gave a big jolt to the Economy as well. Moreover it further deteriorated the condition of Poor. Majority of the population in India lies below poverty line and thus we can imagine how these situations might have impacted the homeless and poor people whose life have become miserable due to unemployment. Some of them even died with empty stomach while returning to their villages after lockdown was imposed. I don’t know if I should feel grateful for being blessed and able to write and share with the world or should I feel guilty for being a citizen of a nation where thousands are struggling for bread and butter.
But At least we can step back and realize how we are really impacting Earth and one another. To realize that we aren’t as significant or in control as we think we are and we can use this time to reflect on our contribution and the life we are living.
We all don’t know how things might turn out to be but one thing is sure, “We will not return to “normal” but we will return. We will come back stronger and with more Distillation, with an honest assessment of our mortality, responsibilities, and our capabilities, and our abilities to turn inward, with a real understanding of what is worth and where we will truly focus our life force. There will be many more gardens and more love letters and much less wasted time. For what is the most precious thing to you when everything in the whole world comes to a standstill?
The author has done her PG in English Literature from University of Jammu.



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