Covid-19: the silent foe

By Majid Gafoor

Never has the world faced such a cruel foe, so deadly and so unfeeling. It recognizes no borders. It does not discriminate between women, children or the elderly. It runs rampant through cultures, race, religion and political affiliations. In other words, it is an evil unto itself. 

This is the virus called Covid-19.

Reading the above, one has the mistaken impression that the virus is all powerful, able to wreak havoc at will. Not so. In fact, it is a weak cowardly enemy.

It cannot survive on its own, but needs to attach itself to a host. We humans are its favorite host. It enters our body through various channels – skin, eyes, nose and mouth. Once in, it lodges itself in the soft tissues of the lungs and tries to take over. 

But we humans are not defenceless. Our bodies have seen it all. Through science and evolution and various health supporting practices, we have become strong, healthy beings – as witnessed by our extended longevity compared to decades ago. 

So when an enemy invades our body, our defence mechanisms marshalls various forces to oppose them and, in general, we are successful in overcoming them. So why then is it still spreading, jumping from one place to another?

The answer is quite simple. While the virus is in our body, it is alive and able to take on another host if we allow it to. We may exhibit no symptoms as our body is fighting it, but the virus is there. If we do not practice good sanitary efforts such as frequent washing of hands and covering our mouths while coughing, we leave the virus on all surfaces we come in contact with and others who touch the same surfaces become the new hosts.

So what is the solution for the coronavirus? We must go into isolation. Artwork: DENGCOY MIEL, Pandora’s Box Redux (Pandemic Covid19)

So what is the solution for the coronavirus? Naturally the silver bullet, a vaccine, is the ultimate answer, but that is months away from being developed. Thus, we must look after ourselves and others. We must do what medical, scientific and political authorities have urged us to do – go into isolation.

By removing the possibility of passing the virus to another, the infection curve will gradually curve downwards and die off. Isolation and social/physical distancing is the current cure. We must all do our part in observing this. Keep your selfish tendencies in check. Instead, think of the people around you.

Earlier in March, the Chinese Red Cross team of researchers and doctors arrived in Italy to offer aid to fight against the pandemic. photo: EPA-EFE/ANGELO CARCONI

It has been shown that by staying in isolation for just two weeks, we will have overcome the virus and will not pass it on to someone else. Just a two week sacrifice. Is that too much to ask?

It is encouraging to note that in spite of dealing with domestic problems in combating this pandemic, various countries, notably China, have reached out to assist other countries who appear to be overwhelmed. This is a generosity of spirit that is worth applauding.

Volunteers delivered food supplies to vulnerable individuals to help them through the coronavirus storm in Belfast, UK. Photo: Belfast Media Group

In Canada, the government has taken up the challenge and put in place various measures to ensure that the citizens receive support in income and supplies for survival. Manufacturers have switched over assembly lines to produce much needed ventilators and sanitizers. Food suppliers have upped supplies to grocery stores to ensure no unnecessary stockpiling is needed. 

Nurses have volunteered to boost the manpower in hospitals. Volunteers have received food supplies from closed restaurants to redistribute to people who are confined at home. Concerned citizens have become the watchdogs of illegal gatherings (now limited to just five people) and called the hotline to report them.

It is a joint effort. Everyone has a role to play. The rules have been established to enable us to survive and defeat this virus. We will survive. We will win.

Covid-19, your days are numbered. We will overcome.

Majid Gafoor is a former journalist from Hong Kong. He now lives in Canada.



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