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The Financial Express

OPINION

Living in the cycle of pandemics


Many students arrived at Holy Cross College on Friday to attend entrance examinations with their parents in flagrant violation of the rules -bdnews24.com file photo Many students arrived at Holy Cross College on Friday to attend entrance examinations with their parents in flagrant violation of the rules -bdnews24.com file photo

Now that the whole world has started getting fidgety in the face of the 3rd, 4th waves of the Covid-19 pandemic and its new variants, humanity is now staring  apocalypse in  face. The last couple of months saw a noticeable drop in the number of novel corona-hit countries, Bangladesh included. At present, with its large neighbour of India battling the dreadful variant Omicron, the new cases rising, and stringent restrictions in place, Bangladesh has reasons to feel bewildered. The earlier variant Delta has hardly been wiped out. Many countries around the world appear to be still in the grip of Delta, with suitable vaccines running out fast. A lot of developed others remain stuck in the maze of slapping lockdowns, brief phases of withdrawal and resignation in a state of helplessness. Alongside the poorer nations, a number of highly developed countries also fall in this category.

According to a group of pandemic experts, clear apocalyptic times have started hovering above the world. Bangladesh health experts have also identified the nation among these Covid-19 clouded countries. With the arrival of large quantities of vaccines, the country can now feel confident of its capability to face the initial assault of the pandemic. A comfortable percentage of the population has already been given the two vaccine doses. The vaccination of the 60+ people with booster doses has lately begun, with willingness to get inoculated for the third time increasing fast. At the same time, the vaccination campaign has just begun covering the urban schools, reopened lately. The health authorities have made it mandatory for the adolescent students to get vaccinated before they enter school. It led to chaotic situations in many areas of the capital.

The Covid-19 variants of Delta and, the latest, Omicron had started being tamed down, when the South African-origin Omicron began playing havoc with countries. These nations are poorer, yet negligent in aiding by health guidelines. Thanks to the many such pockets of shaky preparations to face the apocalyptic scourge, newer variants are feared to be coming out of the incubation period. Against this backdrop, epidemiologists in the developed countries feel baffled when it comes to coping with the variants. Pandemics which struck the world for centuries behaved in a typical way. They never stayed in a region at a stretch or for long.

They gave people periods of respite from the unbearable woes. They struck humanity many times later after one, when nations were still piecing together the remnants of life. In the meantime, millions had to embrace untimely deaths; and with no proper medications around. After the end of the 15th-20th century 'dance of death', few could imagine that the pandemic spectre had been bracing for yet another round of global assault riding a mutant virus.

Of late, it has been discovered that the earliest avian flu virus is behind the present pandemic's flare-up. According to a section of scientists, the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of Covid-19 is estimated to have existed as recently as 8,000 BC. Some others, however, place the common ancestor as far back as 55 million years or more. It implies long-term co-evolution with bats and avian species. The process hasn't stopped. Even in the case of the re-emergence of the novel corona virus in 2020, the eating of the meat of wild and normally inedible bush animals has been blamed widely. The fact was not a part of conjectures. Epidemiologists have brought strong proofs in favour of it.

That the dreadful Omicron, along with the earlier Covid-19, has the capability to warrant more ominous strength to wreak havoc with human lives is becoming clear. Laboratories are also producing their new armoury in the forms of better-effective vaccines. But all efforts will prove futile unless the general people make health guidelines the key to their healthy survival.

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