COVID-19 Visa-a-Vis Prevailing Situation

Buhroo Aabid
Coronaviruses were first discovered in the 1930’s when an acute respiratory infection of domesticated chickens was shown to be caused by infectious bronchitis virus (IBV). In the 1940s, two more animal coronaviruses, mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) and transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV), were isolated.Human coronaviruses were discovered in the 1960s. Other human coronaviruses have since been identified, including SARS-CoV in 2003, HCoV NL63 in 2004, HKU1 in 2005, MERS-CoV in 2012, and SARS-CoV-2 in 2019. Most of these have involved serious respiratory tract infection. The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic is an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a novel (new) coronavirus. The outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020 and recognized it as a pandemic on 11 March 2020. As of 1 April 2020, more than 906,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in over 200 countries and territories, resulting in approximately 45,400 deaths More than 190,000 people have recovered. People with COVID-19 generally develop signs and symptoms, including mild respiratory symptoms and fever, on an average of 5-6 days after infection (mean incubation period 5-6 days, range 1-14 days). Most people infected with COVID-19 virus have mild disease and recover. Using available preliminary data, the median time from onset to clinical recovery for mild cases is approximately 2 weeks and is 3-6 weeks for patients with severe or critical disease. International Committee on Taxonomy of Virus (ICTV) announced “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)” as the name of the new virus on 11 February 2020. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humansPeople of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene. Moreover the leaders all over the world, including Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, are stressing on social distancing. Countries all over the globe are taking emergency steps and efforts to control the spread of the pandemic. Health sector of the globe is on a high alert and are working day and night to identify the mechanism to cure the spread of the virus through vaccine. Extra efforts are being carried to cure the involved and for the sake schools, colleges, private institutions and hotels have been converted in quarantine centres. When India imposed a nationwide lockdown a week ago, it was designed to stop the imminent spread of the novel coronavirus. Immediately some other nations of the world followed the suit.But grinding this country of 1.3 billion people to a near halt has also provided a temporary remedy to another pressing health issue: suffocating pollution levels. The world’s largest lockdown means all factories, markets, shops, and places of worship are now closed, most public transport suspended and construction work halted, as India asks its citizens to stay home and practice social distancing. Already, data shows that the main cities are recording much lower levels of harmful microscopic particulate matter known as PM 2.5, and of nitrogen dioxide, which is released by vehicles and power plants. PM 2.5, which is smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, is considered particularly dangerous as it can lodge deep into the lungs and pass into other organs and the bloodstream, causing serious health risks. The sudden fall in pollutants and the subsequent blue skies signal a dramatic shift for India — which has 21 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities, according to the IQAir AirVisual’s 2019 World Air Quality Report.
The virus may have a drastic impact on the world economy as a whole.
Nothing lasts forever, so let us be careful towards the needy in our surroundings. Because it has been well said, best way to serve God is to serve mankind.
The world economy will go into recession this year with a predicted loss of trillions of dollars of global income due to the coronavirus pandemic, spelling serious trouble for developing countries, according to a latest UN trade report. With two-thirds of the world’s population living in developing countries facing unprecedented economic damage from the coronavirus crisis, the UN is calling for a USD 2.5 trillion rescue package for these nations.The report said that in recent days, advanced economies and China have put together massive government packages which, according to the Group of 20 leading economies (G20), will extend a USD 5 trillion lifeline to their economies. “This represents an unprecedented response to an unprecedented crisis, which will attenuate the extent of the shock physically, economically and psychologically,” it said.The report shows that in two months since the virus began spreading beyond China, developing countries have taken an enormous hit in terms of capital outflows, growing bond spreads, currency depreciations and lost export earnings, including from falling commodity prices and declining tourist revenues. Lacking the monetary, fiscal and administrative capacity to respond to this crisis, the consequences of a combined health pandemic and a global recession will be catastrophic for many developing countries and halt their progress towards the Sustainable Development goals. Even as advanced economies are discovering the challenges of dealing with a growing informal workforce, this remains the norm for developing countries, amplifying their difficulties in responding to the crisis.”Advanced economies have promised to do ‘whatever it takes’ to stop their firms and households from taking a heavy loss of income,” said Richard Kozul-Wright, the director of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).He added: “But if G20 leaders are to stick to their commitment of ‘a global response in the spirit of solidarity’, there must be commensurate action for the six billion people living outside the core G20 economies”. However there are always the ways to overcome the situation whether it is psychological or economical. The economists all over the globe are on the job to devise mechanism to solve the crises which may arise aftermaths. Indeed we have been strictly advised to follow emotional distancing. However it is pertinent to mention here that social distancing may not be misunderstood with social distancing. We have to look after the needy in this distressing situation. Our society has a big number of hand to mouth earners. Nothing lasts forever, so let us be careful towards the needy in our surroundings. Because it has been well said, best way to serve God is to serve mankind.
(The author is working with District Information Centre (DIC) Bandipora. Views are his own, aaabuhroo@gmail.com ).

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COVID-19

India
Confirmed: 216,824Deaths: 6,088