The economic and human costs of a pandemic

OPINION BY SSURJIT SINGH FLORA

We’re not out of the woods yet, but there are hopeful signs that the COVID-19 curve is flattening in around the glove and have reached their peak. Indeed, many countries’ governments are talking about how to safely re-open their economies, which we saw earlier this week when the province announced it would be relaxing restrictions on retail stores so that they could offer curbside pickup for physical items.

The debate is also breaking out about how to deal with the economic fallout from the crisis. But there are also experts saying the recovery from COVID-19 is a chance to invest in a stronger social safety net and a cleaner economy — so that we come out of the pandemic stronger than ever. It’s a ray of hope that life will take curves to get back on track. Not only that, the racism we’ve seen under the guise of the virus can also be seen in the statements of world leaders.

As of late, U.S. President Donald Trump has referenced COVID-19 as the “China virus.” However, the governors of many states are against the term, and have even claimed that the virus did not come from China, but from Europe. While Trump’s approach is fueling jealousy of the Chinese people, he is also destabilizing the international community by making harsh statements against immigrants.

Trump’s assertion that the United States will close its doors to immigrants in the event of continued infection is worrying. Trump’s remarks about creating myths in China against the Coronavirus in the United States are not only baseless, they are racist. However, in order to implement a plan to get to the path, governments will have to look at a variety of local factors. A major reality in this direction is the introduction of a vaccine against this disease. Health experts around the world believe that it would be a mistake to think of controlling the virus until the vaccine arrives.

Then the question is, where does the world stand today in the battle to invent vaccines? The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that it may take up to 18 months or less for the vaccine to be ready and available to the general public. The coalition is raising over $22 billion from around the world to fund vaccine development initiatives. Health experts specializing in issues at the community level believe that not only will it be a challenge to develop the vaccine, but it will be even more challenging to develop the vaccine in sufficient quantities and distribute it worldwide.

Experts believe that unless a vaccine is available for 50 to 60 per cent of the world’s population, it will be difficult to come up with an effective solution. The disease has spread from the Prime Minister of England to the wife of the Canadian PM and a Brampton MP, as well as the common citizen living in poor and wealthy countries, bridging the gap between rich and poor. It is understandable that unless the vaccine for this disease is readily available to all, there will be no fundamental change to our situation. Experts also need to see if a vaccine will be equally effective in every country and every age group in the world. For example, will a vaccine for the young and old, in India, Pakistan and Canada, the USA, U.K. or African countries have the same effect? Ongoing efforts to develop a vaccine on the surface may look good. When it comes to rivalries between countries, local initiatives and the financial objectives of multinational corporations, the issue is not as straightforward as it seems.

The World Health Organization has formed a group of experts working to develop a vaccine to fight the Coronavirus. It includes experts from many European countries, including the United States and Canada, but countries from Asia or Africa, except China and Nepal, are absent. However, the lack of international cooperation and coordination at the COVID-19 conference is obvious.

This may be the result of a WHO brickand-mortar deal with the United States, but U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo surprised many in the past by saying that the United States was going to work with India to develop a vaccine. More than half a dozen organizations in India have started work on vaccine development.

One of these is the Serum Institute of India, which sets a world record for 1.5 billion different vaccines each year. The firm also has a contract with the American company Codagenix. Coping with thevirus responsible for killing millions of people and affecting billions of people worldwide will not be an easy task. But many experts see another ray of hope. According to him, like H.I.V., no vaccine has been developed with a hundred per cent effectiveness, but significant progress has been made in reducing the death rate and providing good health in AIDS patients with the help of a variety of antiviral drugs.

There are also drugs available today that can prevent the spread of AIDS through sex. It is possible that in the wake of the Coronavirus vaccine-seeking venture, science will come up with an alternative vaccine that will bring relief to humanity.

About the author

Asia Metro Editor

Surjit Singh Flora
editor@asiametro.ca

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