By Subash Maghnani
It was all bustling all over the world. Be it the world’s most powerful country United States of America heading for its presidential elections by November this year or China under leadership of Xi Jinping striving for technological independence and global influence and Pakistan busy in lifting living standards of her 212 million people and boosting its economy under huge tax burden. All of sudden television screens across the globe flashed with news of many people getting sick in Wuhan city of central China’s Hubei province with a population of 11 million people. The culprit, which later was named COVID-19 surfaced in city’s busy seafood and poultry market has now affected almost 7 million people worldwide resulting in deaths of almost 400k. The outbreak was declared a public health emergency of international concern on 30th January 2020 and on 11 February 2020 WHO named it COVID-19 pandemic.
Merriam Webster defines pandemic as an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of population. Mankind history has witnessed several deadly pandemics over the centuries. For students of medical history this COVID-19 pandemic is not an unusual thing but certainly a worrisome phenomenon. Like the historical Spanish Flu of 1918 which affected humans through birds and claimed approximately 50 million lives worldwide, this time corona virus is also taking huge toll over mankind till date.
On January 11 this year Chinese state media reported first known death from an illness caused by virus infecting dozens of its people. Later over the time cases of similar illness started surfacing in Japan, South Korea reaching upto United States where a man developed symptoms having recent travel history of China. Dr. Li Wenhiang was first to raise alarm about this deadly virus affecting peoples and later himself succumbed to death contracting same viral disease. After China, it was Europe which was badly hit by COVID-19 infection with its top tourist destination Italy had its first major outbreak in February this year and had total number of cases reaching upto 200k.
As of today the novel corona virus is affecting 213 countries and territories around the world and two international conveyances. Our beloved country is facing up increasing number of cases and deaths related to COVID-19 and so far 2k had died secondary to this ongoing pandemic.
Whole of the world including Pakistan followed footsteps of Wuhan which was epicenter of COVID-19 in curtailing this deadly infection where authorities completely closed down whole of the city and locked down whole population inside their residences opening only essential services to minimize people to people transmission of infection which spreads through droplets of infected person through air once he or she coughs or sneezes.
According to a study by Imperial college of London lockdowns have saved about 3 million lives in 11 countries. Latest guidelines by World health organization suggest improvement of situation is Europe but things are still worse in many parts of world including our own country which is coping with increasing number of sick patients against limited hospitalization facilities. We should adopt strictly the standard operating procedures of washing our hands with soap frequently, not touching our eyes nose, wearing masks in public and eating fresh vegetables and fruits to keep ourselves strong and help our government and Doctors which are trying their hard to save precious lives of our fellow Pakistanis amid limited resources.