As the coronavirus spreads and governments world over work hard to contain and stop a pandemic, we practice social distancing amid the resulting chaos and fear. In the last couple of months, the virus has spread across continents and geographical regions. The virus has the news, social media, and even WhatsApp in its clutch, as it moves from just affecting global health to now impacting politics and business world over.
Today, every one of us realizes that it doesn’t matter what we call it; the coronavirus is a severe issue which, in the last two months alone, has spread over countries, continents, and geographies. (Pandemic means sustained and continuous transmission of the disease, simultaneously in more than three different geographical regions. It does not refer to the lethality of a virus but its transmissibility and geographical extension.) And as a result, the world seems to be in the grip of fear, anxiety, and chaos. Yes, the scenario seems grim, and yet there is light. And here are the reasons why we can definitely be optimistic.
Reasons for Optimism
- At this moment, we know what it is
The coronavirus disease is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans. And while we know that viruses live by mutating, we also see that mutation rate may not be very high.
- We know the common signs of infection
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.
- We know how to detect the virus
A test to detect the virus has been available since Jan 13, 2020.
- Governments are coming together to tackle the virus
While scientists don’t have enough data about how the virus will mutate, governments have taken swift action and are not sparing any effort to contain the virus.
- We know the precautions we can take
Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
- We know how to detect the virus
While tests for the virus can only be conducted in specialized labs that are certified to do so, India alone 106 virus research and diagnostic labs (VRDLs) where the primary focus is the detection of viral pathogens using serological methods and molecular diagnostic tools.
- The situation is improving
The situation on the ground is evolving incredibly quickly, and it’s impossible to synthesize everything we know into clean, intelligible charts, we do know that the situation in China has improved over time.
- People recover
While the disease, so far, causes no symptoms or is mild in 81 percent of cases, it can cause severe pneumonia, and in five percent of the cases, it became critical, even fatal. Most of the reported data is about the increase in the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths. The good news is that most infected people have been cured – a statistic that seems to be increasing.
- Symptoms, in children, appear mild
Children, including very young children, can develop COVID-19. However, children tend to experience milder symptoms such as fever, runny nose, and cough. The virus seems to seriously affect older people and those with underlying medical problems like chronic bronchitis, emphysema, heart failure, or diabetes.
- There is a lot of information from recognized medical and scientific bodies
These times are of international scientific cooperation. We have a plethora of preliminary works on vaccines, treatments, epidemiology, genetics and phylogeny, diagnosis, clinical aspects, etc. that we can access. And most scientific journals have left their publications as open access on the subject of coronaviruses.
- Vaccine prototypes are here, and anti-viral trials are underway, though it may still take some time.
This doesn’t mean we get complacent and immediately start booking our next holiday, It means we must practice scrupulous hand hygiene and strict social distancing. And that we have a great opportunity to spend time in our own company. You could finish your book, go through that long-pending to-do-list and yes, practice peace. Meditation always helps, so use the Black Lotus app to aid you as you meditate, keep calm and not panic. It’s a free app available for both apple and android devices. Black Lotus also organises virtual global meditation events that you can join. It’s the best time to cash on the opportunity.