Nobody saw it coming. Nobody figured that a tiny, invisible virus could bring the world to its knees. Nobody guessed that it could send the world’s most powerful leaders into a tizzy, frenziedly scrambling to contain it, despite having the most advanced weapons at their command. In hindsight, it seems that the virus was born to teach humanity a few lessons.
Lesson 1 - Don’t suppress information
The virus emerged in a seafood market in Wuhan, China, where animals like bats, snakes, marmots, birds, and rabbits, were traded illegally. A Chinese doctor, Li Wenliang, was the first to report that an infection was spreading in Wuhan. This was in December 2019. He was reprimanded by the Chinese authorities for spreading rumors. Later, he died of the illness. Not until January 20, did the Chinese wake up to the threat posed by the new virus. If the Chinese government had not suppressed vital information, the people would have taken precautions like wearing masks, washing hands, disinfecting surfaces, and avoiding wildlife markets.
Lesson 2 – Take quick and decisive action
China got off to a late start in controlling the virus, but it made up for the delay by introducing strict measures to contain it. Wuhan, the initial epicenter of the outbreak, was locked down. The authoritarian regime was able to lay down its writ effectively, preventing the spread of the virus. However, in Europe, notably Italy, lack of timely action meant that it has become the new epicenter of the disease, which has now become a global pandemic.
Lesson 3 – Follow instructions
By now, most countries have realized the importance of social distancing, self-isolation, and home quarantine, in checking the spread of the virus. But some people, especially the youth, seem to think that they are not at risk. They continue to socialize blithely, ignoring the gravity of the situation. Though people above 60 years are the most vulnerable, younger people too are at risk of falling severely ill. So, it is better to follow the instructions of the government and medical personnel, regarding personal hygiene and social distancing, to stay safe.
Lesson 4 – Be wary of fake news
The irony of the digital age is that fake news has become a fact of life. From bizarre conspiracy theories to fantastic cures, we have seen it all. While China and Iran have blamed America for the epidemic, America has blamed China. The truth is that viruses are not new to humanity, and they have always been around in some form or the other. As man takes over the habitat of wild animals, he exposes himself to pathogens that normally affect animals.
Lesson 5 – Don’t panic
With all kinds of rumors and fake news doing the rounds, people are going into panic mode, emptying the supermarket shelves of hand sanitizers and toilet rolls. Panic and fear are siblings, and fear is more to be feared than the virus itself. Fear causes stress, and stress reduces immunity, making us more vulnerable to the virus. So, avoid fear and panic.
Lesson 6 – Don’t take the earth for granted
The virus and the global health crisis it created has taught us that the earth can take only so much. We have been taking it for granted, behaving as if we are the superior species and over-exploiting its resources. Today, man has retreated into his home for safety, and the birds and animals have taken over the empty roads and streets, reclaiming the spaces that they have been robbed of. Even if we survive this, the virus is a reminder to treat the earth with respect and kindness.
Lesson 7 – All human beings are equal
Like the floods that ravaged Chennai a few years back, the virus has proved to be a great leveler. Political leaders, Hollywood celebrities, wealthy industrialists…no one has proved immune to it. We are learning that wealth and privilege cannot protect us from everything. But love, care, and compassion can. Without the love, care, compassion, and selfless sacrifice of countless, nameless health professionals all over the world, we cannot overcome the virus. This is what being human means. Hopefully, once this global health crisis blows over, we would all have become better human beings. To overcome this global health crisis we can particpate in a Free Fire Lab which is going to be performed by AstroVed to invoke the supreme health archetype and divine physician, Dhanvantri and warrior Goddess Durga.