Corona doesn’t play April fool

By Dr R Neerunjun Gopee

Have a good look at the picture. It’s not a bouquet of flowers to adorn one’s sitting room.

Yesterday was April Fool’s Day, and a lot of posts on social media showed that their inventors or authors thought the occasion was a nice one to joke about Covid.

But the coronavirus which is playing havoc with mankind is no joker and doesn’t play April fool. So don’t be misled by its beautiful appearance in the picture – for that’s what is shown: how corona looks under the microscope. It was reproduced in an article on the subject in the online publication The Conversation last year.

April Fools’ Day jokers have been told this is not a time to a make gags about the coronavirus. Photo – EPA

It is to be admired from afar… social distancing applies!

For corona is a serious foe which can be deadly. In country after country it is causing deaths every single day.

It has got only one mission: to go from one person to another. No barrier is too great for it. It faces no challenges. That’s meant for us: how to stop it in its track.

Because it is very fond of us, of our throats and lungs. When we talk, cough or sneeze, therefore, that’s travel bonanza for corona: swarms of it fly out of our noses and mouths and enter the nostrils and mouths of those who find themselves near us. Spread all over them, their clothes in fact. And as we try to use our hands to contain the cough or the sneeze, they too get plastered by the same swarms.

We can’t be more clever than corona. But if all of us try hard enough, we simply have to do what is not too hard at all, based on the way it goes from one person to another as described in the above paragraph. So: move about only when that’s essential, keep a safe distance from the next fellow; MASK UP; wash our hands frequently and use sanitiser. That shouldn’t be so difficult isn’t it?

The next best thing, if we are truly serious about getting back to our liberties as soon as possible, is to get ourselves vaccinated. Don’t go by the confusing plethora of material to be found in the university of social media or WhatsApp: serious scientific studies continuously being done by teams from all over the world have demonstrated again and again the safety and efficacy of all vaccines currently being used, which are comparable for all of them.

The latest trials in children show their efficacy in that category as well – an important finding because as corona has spread it has been found to affect all age groups, not only the elderly as was happening at the onset of the pandemic.

Put together what all this means is that, even if corona settles for good amongst us as it seems wont to do, we have the wherewithal to prevent it from ruining our lives. Why are we therefore not making the best use of what is already at our disposal?

Sure, that’s going to take some time, many years. All the more reason for us to get going as rapidly as we can.

We really should. For Yes, We Can…

* * *

What we are missing

Relationships.

Consistently, repeatedly, by far the most common complaint about the restrictions imposed because of Covid continues to be the absence of socializing, of meeting near and dear ones, of touches and hugs. Of being physically face to face. We have had enough of touching screens. We are craving for the real thing.

And who are the ones who are being missed the most? We shouldn’t be surprised: grandparents longing to hug the cynosures of their eyes: grandchildren who want to be endlessly spoilt. They need it as much as their doting grands do too!

There have been so many live reports of this. A particularly tear-jerking reporting on TV was the one showing two little kids running to climb into the open arms of grandma and grandpa when the first lockdown was lifted in Italy, remaining locked for endless moments as eyes wetted and the children sought the warmth of love and joy. And there were many more such witness accounts from grandparents across the globe.

After all, the little ones are the future of humanity aren’t they. For their sake, for the sake of humanity, we MUST put all our efforts together to master the corona monster. For Yes, We Can. Together.

And we must show more respect for relationships locally. It was harrowing to see the tearful appeal of the daughter of the lady who passed away after being transferred to the ENT Hospital from a private clinic where she worked.

It’s not as if we are overwhelmed with the number of deaths. And the authorities must not show double standards. They did allow the relatives of Dr Bruno Cheong to have a final look and to be present at the cemetery.

The daughter and other relatives may be in quarantine, but surely our Public Health experts could have advised on how to arrange for at least the daughter to attend at some stage of the transit to the cemetery?

We cannot accept let alone condone this degree of inhumanity, of callousness. This family deserves unmitigated apologies on the part of the authorities.

More people may die. And it won’t be all at once. Such a display of indifference to the feelings of their immediate family should never happen again. It is nothing short of cruel.

It is hard enough to be suffering from the disease oneself. To lose a parent to it and not being able to have a last look is a worse suffering. We cannot believe that our country has descended to such a level of emotional depravity that we no longer care for feelings and relationships.

Corona must not be an excuse to inflict more suffering than the disease is causing.

If we cannot cure, let us at least show that we can care.


* Published in print edition on 2 April 2021

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