Pandemic realities: Hopes and fears

-Representational image -Representational image

The present laidback attitude of the general people towards any possible emergence of Covid-19's omicron variants is alarming. The detection of the omicron sub-variant BF.7 in Dhaka is itself distressing. Four Chinese citizens testing positive on arrival at Dhaka Airport from China has reasons to make many feel scared. In spite of the fears, the silence of the public health authorities is adding to the angst. Having gone through the series of lockdowns, attack of the lethal virus overnight, and the hospitalised patients' death pangs, people have started hating the dreadful pandemic. Few sensitised people can look the other way, when the corona pandemic has started knocking at the door in a new garb. The latest of the ever-changing Covid-19 variants has also been termed 'stealth' --- thanks to its deceptive nature. The plain truth is Bangladesh can ill afford to allow another deadly omicron sub-variant wreaking havoc on its people, especially its renovated economic and social structures.

Many would feel like recalling the days of the all-out corona assault on the country in 2020 and 2021. Sometime in early 2021, with vaccines being still illusory, many felt they were doomed to die out as a people. Offices, educational institutions, markets and scores of institutions were declared shut. All kinds of ceremonies were prohibited. Movements on roads remained strictly prohibited; those who were allowed to come out on emergencies were made to wear masks. People in Dhaka and other cities had the taste of how it felt like living life inside self-made dungeons. Upon recalling those stifling days, few will be prepared to taste those once again. Alongside the devil-may-care segments dismissing the necessity of yet another spate of precautions to keep the pandemic at bay, there are also sensible people. They have the penchant for reading between the lines. What they discover in their assessments is something terrible. Like the previous ones, this pandemic, too, cannot be rooted out in a short time. If it stays for a longer time, countries around the world have to face it at intervals. It's because one or another variant or a sub-variant of the Covid pandemic will keep surfacing --- to the horror of mankind.

The stoics would bring up the case for communities who love to give in to such a hostile situation. But the non-compromising lot would not give up without a fight. Meanwhile, the ever-frightened and the silent worshippers of happiness also join the fight, in their passive ways. They never give up the masks, or flout the decree of social distance. However, the self-styled activists do not drop their truculent manner in which they have joined the fight to defeat the corona pandemic. These two groups are very much in prominence in large countries, like the USA. In that country, states under lockdown and the others free of the fetters co-exist. For a small country like Bangladesh, revolt against covid-19 directives is unacceptable socially and on the part of the state. In times of calamities, the people of the country do not object to the outside world's rush of plaudits for their resilience. On a lot of counts, the country cannot deny this.

The Covid-19 pandemic and its variants or sub-variants will keep jeopardising lives at social and individual level for years to come, to quote epidemiologists and pandemic observers. Living with corona has already become the part of new reality. Against this backdrop, the panic stemming from the possibility of being dropped from a booster dose or the normal vaccines is all too normal. After all, the human urge to live a healthy and meaningful life is normal. It applies to the plain life of people in the developing nations.

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