Sign Up    /    Login

When will the pandemic end ?

This is a million dollar question on most minds in the world. We are into the third year and are still seeing variants emerge and new cases and hospitalizations. With increased vaccinations, we see fewer hospitalizations and deaths on a comparative basis. But nevertheless the discomfort with the pandemic is all around us. Restrictions on mobility being a major one. 

I am not an astrologer, nor a scientist or a doctor. Just a common man on the street.  But I can make educated guesses, not wild ones, based on what I read and learn. I will base my assessment on the history of a similar pandemic about a hundred years back and also on the current situation and how countries are coping with it and what they should do to quickly end this most terrifying event of this century.  

Firstly, the history of Spanish flu from 1918-20. An excellent history of this pandemic can be found in the book “The Great Influenza” by John Barry. The flu is caused by a virus similar to the corona virus. It did not originate or devastate Spain as the name indicates. It was the the first world war. News censorship was prevalent in most countries. Spain was relatively free from any such restrictions. The press reported what they saw all around the world. No good deed goes unpunished. The name stuck. 

President George W. Bush read this book while on vacation around 2005. He got terrified and asked his lieutenants to prepare a plan to cope with any such future pandemic. A report was prepared but gathered dust before the pandemic hit in 2020. Those were the days when no one knew anything about viruses, nor were there any antibiotics or anti-viral drugs or vaccines available. The flu had to take its course infecting most of the population before herd immunity was achieved and the pandemic died down by itself in about three years. From the book ”Influenza killed more people in a year than the black death of the middle ages killed in a century. It killed more people in 24 weeks than AIDS killed in 24 years. It was the first great collision between nature and modern science”. 

What really caused the Spanish flu ? It is reported to have started in a small town in Kansas in the US. It spread widely due to world war 1. The US was not involved in world war 1 in the beginning. But later entered the war on a large scale. The army was ramped up to millions of soldiers within a very short period of time. And tens of thousands of soldiers were cramped together in barracks all over the country. Once the flu started spreading, the usage of masks and distancing was advocated. These measures represent great medical thinking in those times when not much was known about how diseases spread. 

The recommendation was breached on several occasions leading to disasters. President Wilson cared more about war and just brushed aside any concerns of a looming pandemic. He promoted the sale of Liberty bonds to raise funds for the war. A huge rally was organized in Philadelphia despite warnings from all the medical advisors. As expected, it led to widespread infections and deaths. Eventually the disease spread with armies moving across the continents. The pandemic ended only when the virus had no more humans to infect. But humanity paid a hefty price to see the pandemic through. 

Fast forward a hundred years. The book predicted such pandemics in the future. It was not a matter of if, it was only a question of when. Did we do any better with all the scientific knowledge ? Probably not. The most advanced countries in the world were vastly unprepared in terms of masks, antibiotics, hospital capacities etc.  President Trump did not do any better than Wilson. Incidentally, Trump was infected by Covid like Wilson was infected with the flu. 

Europe did not fare any better either, having conquered infectious diseases earlier in the last century, their immunity levels and medical infrastructure was unable to cope. Eastern countries did a lot better. The recommendations are still the usage of masks and social distancing. These steps were questioned and breached on numerous occasions all over the world, thanks to the politicians and the media. To be fair, today’s world is more complex with billions of people, poultry and domesticated animals. Jet travel across the world is pretty common.        

Since the beginning of Covid, the vaccines were created in a record time of about a year, including the large scale trials. Vaccine production has ramped up pretty well. India is doing well, racing along with the vaccine initiative. The US has stagnated due to vaccine resistance, same resistance as to the usage of masks. Newer variants keep coming up and are causing panic. It is in part due to lack of vaccinations in poorer countries like Africa. It is in the interest of rich countries and the whole humanity to donate vaccinations to these countries. That would be a lot better strategy in controlling the variants, rather than booster shots.  

2022 is the year in which vaccines will flow to the poorer countries. Indian vaccine makers will play a major role. Indian vaccines are more suitable for third world countries with scant refrigeration facilities. With major populations of India, China, Europe and US well on path to gaining herd immunity, and poorer countries getting them as well, I would think this year to be the one when it will be curtains down for the virus. 

It does not mean that the viruses will vanish from the face of the Earth. Far from that, they will continue to mutate as nature tinkers with different combinations to come up with the effective ones. Humanity will be tested as never before. While we should not panic with each new variant until scientific facts emerge, the lessons should not be lost and disasters should not be politicized. Else, science does not distinguish between political alignments and identity or border based alienation.

Share with:


5 1 vote
Article Rating

Prasad Ganti

2 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Navneet Bakshi
Navneet Bakshi
7 months ago

Beautiful article Prasad Ji. Are we better equipped or more prepared than our forefathers were a hundred years ago? The wise advice that was thought of then still is the best protection. It even suits those people who are against taking any allopathic medicine. I never knew they existed in America too until I read the book “Educated”. It is sad to see America suffer because of dual blow from them and those who oppose even to wearing mask. I wonder will it be left to herd immunity to save America in the long run. Pfizer vaccine hasn’t done any better than our desi ones and that I think has been a blessing in disguise for India because India cannot afford the cold chain that it requires. The poor countries can ill afford any form of treatment and as of now I think this pandemic is eating up a great part of budget of every country besides hitting the economy in all other possible ways. Let’s hope the war against it is won in this year, but will we ever learn?

Random Posts

Placeholder Image 90

Thewriterfriends.com is an experiment to bring the creative people together on one platform. It is a free platform for creativity. While there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of platforms that provide space for expression around the world, the feeling of being a part of fraternity is often lacking. If you have a creative urge, then this is the right place for you. You are welcome here to be one of us.

Random Posts

NOOSE

By Suresh Rao | August 9, 2020

Synopsis: This is a fictional story. The main character in this story is an young lawyer who graduates at the top of his class from a  law school and joins the law firm of a famous criminal lawyer. The young lawyer wants to abolish ‘capital punishment’ in the country as he feels that many a…

Share with:


Read More

वड़वानल – 06

By Charumati Ramdas | July 17, 2020

लेखक: राजगुरू द. आगरकर अनुवाद: आ. चारुमति रामदास 6. कलकत्ता में वातावरण सुलग रहा था । दीवारें क्रान्ति का आह्वान करने वाले पोस्टरों से सजी थीं । ये पोस्टर्स नेताजी द्वारा किया गया आह्वान ही थे । ‘‘गुलामी का जीवन सबसे बड़ा अभिशाप है । अन्याय और असत्य से समझौता करना सबसे बड़ा अपराध है…

Share with:


Read More

The Infrastructure

By Prasad Ganti | July 18, 2021

I simply love infrastructure.  The structures and facilities which people take for granted. And not wondering where the power into your home outlets comes from. The behind the scenes happenings which make cell phones possible. Billions of tons of cargo shipped across the world’s oceans. Millions of people moved across vast distances by trains, buses…

Share with:


Read More

Data Scientist, Sexiest Job Today

By Suresh Rao | October 17, 2021

“A Harvard Business Review says, ‘Data Scientist’ is the sexiest job of the 21st century.” “With the growing demand in the market with fat salaries, Data Science is becoming the problem solver for businesses.” “Salary reviews suggest that more than 1.5K Data Science professionals working in India are getting paid more than 1 crore per annum.”…

Share with:


Read More

Website Navigation Tips

By Navneet Bakshi | July 12, 2020

TIPS FOR USING THE WEBSITE After Signing Up and Logging In, you are left at the Home Page, where you can see the following Buttons Home, About Us, Creative, Poetry & Fiction, Magazine, Mariners World, Forum and Contact us. On the right top corner, there are three options to choose from, namely Dashboard/Add Post/Logout and…

Share with:


Read More

Karnataka Passes Anti-Cow-Slaugter Bill, Assures Action On ‘Vigilanti-Goondaism’

By Suresh Rao | January 14, 2021

(pic) Image download from Net is for representational purposes only. Karnataka State (ruled by BJP party) is one of very few States in India to pass ‘Anti-Cow-slaughter Bill’ in the ‘State Assembly’ on grounds that ‘Cow slaughter’ is against Constitution of India.  Opposition parties have argued in the ‘State Assembly’ that in the name of…

Share with:


Read More

My besttt friend.

By Krishna Baalu Iyer | July 22, 2020

My bestttFriend As the kids say in the TV ad My bestttt friend! But; He left a twinge in my heart Before he departed He gave no sign of no-return! I sit in my terrace alone Feeling that loneliness A deep inside silence That he left on my surroundings That he wounded on my heart…

Share with:


Read More

Story Time

By Alka Kansra | September 2, 2020

Story time Its always an opportunity to listen to music of your choice when on a long drive. The other day while driving back from Delhi after a short stay with my daughter and my little twin grandchildren. We were listening Jagjit Singh. One of his most popular songs “Wo Kagaz Ki Kashti, Wo Baarish…

Share with:


Read More

Lulu Global Mall comes to Bengaluru

By Suresh Rao | October 15, 2021

(pic) Lulu Global Mall, Rajajinagar, Bengaluru. Image is a download from internet. My dad used to work as DGM at what used to be ‘Minerva Mills’ and ‘Raja Mills’ more than half century back.  A giant Lulu Global Mall has come up now in the Minerva Mills compound. My dad had been awarded a full…

Share with:


Read More

A view of Ram Mandir to be built in Ayodhya

By Suresh Rao | August 6, 2020

(pic) Artist’s view of Ram Mandir to be built in Ayodhya (UP State)  in 3 years time. Foundation laying ceremony (Shilanyas) for the new Ram Mandir to be built in Ayodhya, the birthplace of Ram-lala, was broadcast live on Door Darshan (DD) TV on August-5 2020.  It was a grand celebration. With this ceremonial beginning…

Share with:


Read More