We have no choice but to take one day at a time. And accept it as it comes. No advance planning. No normal routine. No office. Or for those fortunate enough living quarters as part-time office. Even the vastly enhanced digital traffic, especially WhatsApp, cannot keep the boredom away. Too much of screen time is not good for both eyes and mind, anyway.
Suddenly, all humanity feels at a loose end, forced to disrupt the flow of normal life thanks to this deadly but hidden enemy. The truth is, corona-hit Planet Earth has been brought to its knees by the tiniest of as-yet-unconquered genes. There is no knowing what may come tomorrow.
Nearly 170 countries are in complete or partial lockdown, humbled by the most fearsome pandemic ever to hit humankind. It is beyond reasonable doubt that its origins lie in China, specifically Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. The WTO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, might be reluctant to call the devil by its name, but no such compunction holds back Donald Trump.
The US President has a point. Without tracing the origins of the global tormentor, chances of neutralising it become harder. Like the earlier SARS epidemic, which too originated after a Chinese consumed contaminated animal meat, and the MERS, which originated in the Middle East due to the consumption of compromised camel meat, Wuhan virus is widely believed to have been caused by the consumption of the bat meat. Chinese routinely eat animal meats, believing in its medicinal and sexual properties.
An indication of the Chinese guilt is that soon after the corona crisis in Wuhan, China officially closed down the animal meat market permanently, not just in Wuhan but throughout the country. And has now launched a vigorous campaign warning people against the consumption of animal meats, a long-standing tradition with people in China, South Korea, Vietnam, etc.
This was not done at the time of SARS. Meanwhile, as more and more nations come in the grip of the virus — at the time of writing, the global count was nearly four lakh infected and over 17,000 deaths — the race to develop a vaccine has entered its last phase.
On Monday, a major pharmaceutical company in the US claimed at the daily press briefing on corona virus by President Trump that it had developed a vaccine and would launch it in the coming summer. Trump is worried that unless the corona distraction is put behind soon, and the US economy suitably recharged to suggest reasonable growth, his chances of re-election in the November poll will fade. That may be reckoned as one silver lining in an otherwise very bleak scenario.
Coronavirus, like it or not, is a warning to humanity to not play havoc with nature, to not lay waste the flora and fauna, to cease destroying the green cover, to stop encroaching the sea coast, to stop the reckless use of hydrocarbons for energy generation. Striking a balance between nature and growth is a far bigger everyday challenge than even finding a sure fire antidote to the devilish corona genome.
We have ignored black swan events such as unseasonal floods, rains, tornadoes, glacier melting, typhoons, forest fires, et al. Let us not forget the lessons of COVID- 9. Otherwise, the future of humankind will be truly bleak.