The Financial Express

Living in two different realities

| Updated: July 25, 2021 21:38:11

Living in two different realities

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's advice aimed at the Britons to 'learn to live with the corona virus' is apparently no stunt-exhortation. Amid his frequent sardonic remarks lately, this latest one points to a reality, veritably a truth, which applies to all times. The Covid-19 pandemic which began in Jan-Feb last year is not unparalleled. In the past, pandemics have seen several deadly bouts that had kept the world on the edge.Deaths continued to rise for decades and centuries with little respite. In the European continent in the 18th and 19th centuries, people continued dying in their thousands. Beginning from the 15th century's plague-dominant pandemic, the cataclysm reached its zenith as centuries groaned by. As a proof of human capabilities featuring endurance and resilience, the rhythm of life initially ground to a halt. But once the state of bafflement was over, man learnt to piece together the deformed and disintegrated pieces of life. This semi-somnambulistic pace of life eventually turned normal. Although the phrase 'new real' had yet to occur to man, today's humans ought to look behind to trace the roots of the coinage.

As a politician, Boris Johnson may have understood the great need for co-existence of the imperatives of battling diseases and making progress on the various fronts of life. Exactly this happened in the period from the middle ages to the present times.  The present British Prime Minister Johnson has stood out from the very beginning with his maverick views on many national issues. Unlike other European heads of state and government, he slapped stringent restrictions on people's movement in public places during the peak of the corona outbreak. Thanks to his government's hard stance, the UK became nearly corona-free several times. They failed to remain free of the pandemic for a longer time thanks to the invasion of newer deadly viruses.

Boris Johnson's government has lately allowed people to move about in all parts of England deeming the country free of the Covid-19 virus. The plan couldn't get off the ground. Johnson was supposed to fully reopen the cities on June 21, but was forced to pick a delayed date thanks to the surge in the highly contagious Delta virus. The virus has accounted for nearly all new Covid-19 cases in Britain accompanied by a rise in infection rates.

However, Prime Minister Johnson has said, "Thanks to the successful rollout of our vaccination programme , we are progressing cautiously through our roadmap." He also vowed to "restore people's freedoms".  Moreover, the premier asserted that as the inhabitants of England had started to learn to live with the corona virus they must continue to carefully manage the risks from Covid and exercise judgement when going about their lives. Mr Johnson's carefully taken upbeat position, has, however, been met with concern by scientists. They worry that hospitals and medics could yet be stretched anew if the Delta variant runs amok or new strains emerge.

Although a section of people around the corona-beaten world is not prepared to subscribe to the semi-stoic observation of the British PM, he has uttered a universal truth. It has its roots in history. During the great Black Death pandemic in the 18thand 19th centuries, not excluding the earlier centuries, which played havoc with Europe, scientists, artists, authors, philosophers, political theorists et al continued to go about their respective pursuits. Thus the medieval, Elizabethan, Restoration and the French Revolution period and the activities during the time ought to be recognised as the outputs of the pandemic.

With people dying untreated and uncared for, medicines and vaccines kept being invented. People of thought, creativity, ideas about statecraft and social reforms were equally busy in their respective fields. The rational segments of the world community cannot bypass their callings --- even in these fraught and confused times.

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