The virus of panic will not leave us - GulfToday

The virus of panic will not leave us


Picture used for illustrative purpose only.

The revelation by a British scientist that the coronavirus could last for ever is cause for both alarm and concern. “We are going to have to live with this virus for evermore. There is very little chance that it’s going to become eradicated,” John Edmunds, a member of Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), told lawmakers.

Britain, with over 20,000 daily cases, is very much under the spell of a vexing spiral.

Although the coronavirus will be around indefinitely, Edmunds said that the prospect of a vaccine towards the end of the winter should impact the government’s strategy now.

“If vaccines are just around the corner then, in my view, we should try and keep the incidence as low as we can now, because we will be able to use vaccines in the not too distant future,” he said. But this hardly can soothe the nerves, because it is affixed on the people’s psyche that the virus will last for ever, perhaps long after some of them at least have passed away.

Britain has signed supply deals for six different COVID-19 vaccines, with 340 million doses secured across different types of technologies.

To dam the coronavirus tide, the EU has advised members to ban travellers arriving from outside the bloc unless they come from a short list of countries deemed safe – or at least safer than Europe.

Spain became the first country in western Europe to accumulate more than a million confirmed COVID-19 infections on Wednesday as the nation of 47 million struggles to contain a resurgence of the virus.

The problem is that since the coronavirus broke out all over the globe, thousands are in panic mode, and totally at their wit’s end in keeping themselves out of its malignant tentacles. Since everything is online, nothing is left to the imagination. All kinds of theories are floating on the Net. The virus of such information, or ‘infodemic,’ only serves to send its readers – and viewers – into a tizzy.

From sleeping by chopped onions to hot weather that are being touted as remedies, myths about how people can catch and cure the coronavirus are spreading rapidly. Concerns are growing that the rumours could fuel the spread of the virus among vulnerable people in Africa and South East Asia.

The World Health Organisation has described this as an “infodemic” which could put those in remote and rural areas, with no access to the internet, and with little education, at greater risk.

Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) has given £500,000 pounds ($600,000) to fund a project to challenge misinformation in South East Asia and Africa and direct people to the right advice to help stop the spread of the virus.

What is noteworthy here is that Africa is doing much better than expected, with a lower rate of virus deaths than other continents.

Another myth is that black people can’t get the virus. British actor Idris Elba’s condition flies in the face of this rumour when he tested positive for the coronavirus. Health experts have in no way concluded that any one race is at lower risk of contracting the virus or will be more easily cured.

Experts have even toyed with the idea that hot and humid weather may help stop the spread of coronavirus, leading many in warmer Asian climates to think they are safe from the disease, and increasing the risk of COVID-19 spreading undetected.

But a dramatic surge in coronavirus infections in Asia has raised doubts over this theory.

Regardless of the various research findings and baseless theories doing the rounds, one thing is clear: the virus is not just leaving us, at least not for now.

Related articles