CATACLYSMIC CORONA CALAMITY

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Thomas Lobo

Former Director St John Technical and Education Campus Palghar

Chapter 1:   FICTION OR REALITY:

In the genre of science fiction, be it Zombie apocalypse or a deadly virus outbreak. Hollywood has always been obsessed with films like Contagion and Pandemic which were the products of imaginative writers and film-makers.  They depicted with much realism the grim fallout of such an occurrence in real life.   Did these writers have a foreboding of the future or was it just their imagination running wild?

Most blockbuster Hollywood films like Apocalypse Now have been in the realm of Science fiction, be it Zombie apocalypse or a deadly virus outbreak.  Hollywood’s obsession with disaster films has raked in the moolah and have spawned many clones.  While many of these focused on alien attacks and doomsday scenarios, it was films that depicted mass human annihilation from  a virus related disease that sent shivers down the spine of many viewers.

Two such films were the 2016 blockbuster science fiction thriller, Pandemic which depicted the story of a devastating virus outbreak as the world is plunged into a state of chaos,  zombies roam the streets, while survivors fight to stay alive and an earlier 2011 film, Contagion,  an American thriller film plot which concerned the spread of a virus transmitted by fomites, attempts by medical researchers and public health officials to identify and contain the disease, the loss of social order in a pandemic, and finally the introduction of a vaccine to halt its spread.

The Crazies, was a science fiction horror film which  focused on a fictional Iowa town that becomes afflicted by a military virus that turns those infected into violent killers.

28 Days Later, a similar genre post-apocalyptic horror film depicts the breakdown of society following the accidental release of a highly contagious virus and focuses upon the struggle of four survivors  to cope with the destruction of the life.   The plot and the storyline mimics the real life evolution of the CORONA virus from a suspected accidental release.

’12 Monkeys’ is an American neo-noir science fiction film which shows the future world devastated by disease as a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.

I am Legend:   The story is set in New York City after a virus, which was originally created to cure cancer, has wiped out most of mankind,  Neville is a virologist who is immune to the virus and he works to develop a cure while defending himself against the hostile mutants.

All these films portrayed with much realism the grim fallout of such an occurrence in real life.   The edge of the seat entertainment that such films provided also shocked viewers and created a fear psychosis among many.   There were reports of viewers who were mentally disturbed and needed psychiatric help.  However, there were others who, while saluting the creative content and the gripping storyline, considered such films to be the over-ripe imagination of their writers and ridiculed the idea of a worldwide calamity due to disease as an affront to the highly advanced scientific capability of the world community to predict and rein in such infections.

What does history have to tell us…was all this just a figment of their imagination or just an extrapolation of similar disease related disasters down the centuries.   Looking  at the evidence of the various pandemics that have plagued the world for centuries which we will unravel in the next chapter, it does appear that these film makers seemed to have had a prescience or a foreboding of impending doom and it was not just their imagination running wild.

 

Chapter 2:   THE VIRUS SCOURGE:

Viruses have plagued the world for centuries dating back to the first outbreak as early as 1350 BC causing widespread death, devastation & destruction of civilizations.  Each such pandemic has been deadlier than its predecessor.  Despite the rapid strides in science and technology, we are still at the mercy of a predator that strikes at will.  How equipped are we to face its progressive  onslaught?

 

Throughout human history there have been a number of pandemics of diseases such as Smallpox or Tuberculosis and even HIV/AIDS.  How does an infection qualify to be labeled as a pandemic.

A pandemic (from Greek πᾶν, pan, “all” and δῆμος, demos, “local people” the ‘crowd’) is an epidemic of an infectious disease that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple continents or worldwide, affecting a substantial number of people. A widespread endemic disease with a stable number of infected people is not a pandemic. Widespread endemic diseases with a stable number of infected people such as recurrences of seasonal influenza are generally excluded as they occur simultaneously in large regions of the globe rather than being spread worldwide.   We are well aware that initially the WHO dragged its feet on alerting the world that the CORONA scourge had the characteristics of a pandemic, pandering to political pressure, especially from China from where the virus had originated & preferring to downplay it as an epidemic or an endemic disease.  The delay in doing so proved disastrous as it  resulted in the virus spreading like wildfire all across the globe.

Viruses have ravaged the world for centuries dating back to the first outbreak as early as 1350 BC causing widespread death, devastation & destruction of civilizations.

The most fatal pandemic in recorded history was the Black Death (also known as The Plague), which killed an estimated 75–200 million people in the 14th century  in Eurasia and North Africa peaking in Europe from 1347-1351.  Though the origin is disputed, it was most likely carried by fleas living on black rats that travelled on ships which spread further once they reached the shores of the Mediterranean Basin and Africa.

However, as a precursor to the CORONA virus, it was the Spanish Flu, also known as the 1918 influenza pandemic, which was one of the most deadly global pandemic caused by the H1N1 influenza A virus which is documented to have originated in Kansas, US.  It then spread to France, Germany and the UK infecting in the next two years an estimated 500 million people, which was then about a third of the world’s population in four successive waves.  Death toll estimates range from a conservative 17 million to a possible high of 100 million, more fatalities than in the previous four years of World War I.  The name Spanish flu is a misnomer as the virus did not originate in Spain but was first reported in the Spanish press which was neutral while the news was suppressed in other countries by censors in the aftermath of the World War.

It is evident that each such pandemic has been deadlier than its predecessor.  Despite the rapid strides in science and technology, we are still at the mercy of a predator that strikes at will.  The CORONA virus that is currently wrecking  havoc the world over has its antecedents in  a similar coronavirus that infected large populations across the world in the early years of this century.  Though its reach was limited, virologists tracking those infections may not have envisaged that the virus strains would evolve into something as deadly as what struck us in the form of Covid-19.   It clearly shows how ill-equipped we are to tackle the progressive onslaught of a surreptitious enemy that is challenging the technological might of the best of the world’s scientists. We will understand more about these CORONA precursors in our next chapter.

 

Chapter 3:   THE CORONA PRECURSORS:

While Wikipedia lists 18 major outbreaks of virus pandemics over the centuries, some of these were precursors of the current CORONA virus which we now know as Covid-19.   In the recent past the world has faced two great epidemics caused by two different beta-corona viruses and they were named as SARS-CoV (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus) and (MERS-CoV Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus).  Was there any evidence that these viruses would mutate into the deadly Covid-19?

The world has faced the scourge of virus pandemics over the centures with  Wikipedia listing 18 such major outbreaks of virus pandemics. Some of these, particularly those that struck us in our present century, were precursors of the current CORONAvirus which we now know as Covid-19.   The Spanish Flu, referred to in our earlier chapter  was in many respects identical in its spread and virulence to the present CORONAvirus.

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases.  They are a group of related RNA viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds.  In humans and birds, they cause respiratory tract infections that can range from mild to lethal.

The name “coronavirus” is derived from Latin CORONA, meaning “crown” or “wreath”, itself a borrowing from Greek κορώνη korṓnē, “garland, wreath”.. The name refers to the characteristic appearance of virions  (the infective form of the virus) by electron microscopy, which have a fringe of large, bulbous surface projections creating an image reminiscent of the solar corona or halo  This morphology is created by the viral spike peplomers which are proteins on the surface of the virus.

In the recent past, the world has faced two great epidemics caused by two different beta-corona viruses and they were named as SARS-CoV (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus) and (MERS-CoV Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus).  SARS was the first severe and readily transmissible new disease to emerge in the 21st century and showed a clear capacity to spread along the routes of international air travel.   It was first identified at the end of February 2003 during an outbreak that emerged in China and spread to 4 other countries but was brought quickly under control.

Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, or MERS‐CoV) that was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

Both these viruses were airborne and spread through small droplets of saliva in a similar way to the cold and influenza or spread through surface contact

SARS-CoV-2 is the seventh coronavirus known to infect humans; SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 can cause severe disease as mentioned earlier, whereas HKU1, NL63, OC43 and 229E are associated with mild symptoms

Another virus that hit headlines in 1976 was the Ebola virus which occurred in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.   This virus had a second larger outbreak in  2014–2016 in West Africa.

Closer home was the Nipah virus in 2018 believed to have spread through fruit bats and confined to Kerala.   Strict vigilance and active monitoring by the Health authorities nipped the spread of the virus in the bud before it could cause further damage.

What was unique about the coronavirus that struck us in 2019?    Virologists have identified a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans and hence it was named as a  novel coronavirus or Covid-19.   It is clear that the new strain has mutated from the previous coronaviruses that have infected mankind but with a more deadlier and lethal footprint.  With all the technological expertise and knowledge at the command of scientists, no one in their wildest imagination could have predicted that seven years since the last major epidemic of SARS, the virus would mutate into the deadly Covid-19?

 

 

Chapter 4: DIRE PREDICTIONS:

It was Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and not the 16th-century astrologer Nostradamus, who accurately predicted the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. The billionaire who is one of the foremost philanthropists on the planet, in Ted talk titled ‘The next outbreak’ delivered in 2015, had warned that a microbe and not war is more likely to kill millions of people around the planet in the next 10 years. Was it just a premonition of impending disaster or was it based on science?

 

Nostradamus was a 16th-century seer. He and his prophecies—revered by some, ridiculed by others—are still well known today, centuries after he lived, and continue to be the subject of debate.

Nostradamus’s predictions tended to be about general types of events, like natural disasters and conflict-related events that tend to occur regularly as time goes on.  Did Nostradamus predict the CORONA pandemic?   The claims include a prophecy written out as follows: “There will be a twin year (2020) from which will arise a queen (corona) who will come from the east (China) and who will spread a plague (virus) in the darkness of night, on a country with 7 hills (Italy) and will transform the twilight of men into dust (death), to destroy and ruin the world. It will be the end of the world economy as you know it.”   This claim was checked and verified by several sources and has been found to be untrue.   But what was spot-on was the prediction made by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, rather than Nostradamus,  who accurately predicted the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. The billionaire who is one of the foremost philanthropists on the planet, in a Ted talk titled ‘The next outbreak’ delivered in 2015, had warned that a microbe and not war is more likely to kill millions of people around the planet in the next 10 years. Was it just a premonition of impending disaster or was it based on science?

“If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades it’s highly likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war. Not missiles, microbes,” Gates had said.   Gates had cited the Ebola outbreak to point out that the world had no defence against a global viral outbreak five years ahead of the 2020 pandemic. The video of the Ted talk went viral in 2020 as the pandemic struck but Gates said he didn’t feel good about his prediction coming true.

“There’s no good feeling that comes with something like this,” the billionaire philanthropist recently told Derek Muller while speaking to him for his YouTube channel ‘Veritasium’.  “Could I have been more persuasive?” he rued.  Muller then asks Gates about how he was so certain about something like a pandemic half a decade ago.

“There are a number of respiratory viruses and from time to time one will come along. Respiratory diseases are very scary because you’re still walking around on a plane, a bus when you’re infectious. Unlike some other diseases like ebola where you are mostly in a hospital bed by the time viral load infects other people,” Gates responds.

His accurate prediction of the pandemic led to him being the target of many conspiracy theories linking him to the coronavirus’ origins. This was  mentioned 1.2 million times on television and social media between February and April this year, according to an analysis by the New York Times and media analytics company, Zignal Labs..  The fact that he has been quite vocal about the bigger danger a global pandemic could pose for many years ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic has been lapped up by conspiracy theorists with some of them alleging it as proof that Gates appeared to have known beforehand about coronavirus. While some are of the view that he is leading a class of global elites, others believe Gates is at the forefront of efforts to depopulate the world. Thus Bill Gates became the voodoo doll of COVID conspiracies.

 

 

 

Chapter 5:   THE WUHAN MYSTERY

The popular theory is that the virus was transmitted from bats at the Wuhan animal market sometime in late 2019 but the truth uncovered by a group of investigators called DRASTIC is leading the world to believe that it was discovered as early as 2013 in bat faeces drawn from mineshafts.  How did this mutate into the deadly strain of virus that has now engulfed the whole world?

 

Most of us who have visited China are aware of the Chinese’ affinity for animal meat and seafood.   As the virus first engulfed the city of Wuhan the news was  that the virus had spread at  Wuhan’s popular  Huanan seafood market through bats.

In the summer of 2020, two Pune scientists, Monali Rahalkar and husband Rahul Bahulikar, wrote a paper titled “Lethal Pneumonia Cases in Mojiang Miners (2012)” and theorized a link between Covid-19 and the lethal pneumonia that claimed the lives of three miners in China’s Yunnan province and this became a key part of investigations by DRASTIC– a group of scientists and analysts from across the world, looking into the origins of Covid-19.  The couple’s work gained momentum after a member of this group – known as The Seeker – found other vital information that boosted the lab leak theory,  Rahalkar has hypothesized that the miners’ illness was not transmissible at the time because friends, relatives and others near the mine were not affected.   But after their samples reached the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) reports emerged of a fast moving infection.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology was studying faeces drawn from mineshafts.  They found a SARS-like beta coronavirus from the same mineshaft where the miners had been sickened after sampling in 2013.  The lab has denied any work on SARS-CoV-2 before 2019.  But there are high chances of modification of the virus inside the lab.  There is a strong likelihood that the modified virus leaked from the lab.

So the virus that causes Covid-19 could have started spreading in China as early as Oct 2019, two months before the first case was identified in the central city of Wuhan.  Researchers from Britain’s University of Kent used methods from conservation science to estimate that SARS-CoV-2 first appeared from early Oct to mid-Nov 2019.   China’s first official Covid-19 case was in Dec 2019 and appears to have been deliberated misreported as being linked to Wuhan’s Huanan seafood market.  This seems more like a cover-up attempt by the Chinese Govt which is corroborated by the death of a Chinese doctor Li Wenliang who was working in an eye hospital in Wuhan treating coronavirus patients.  His death attributed to the virus was suppressed initially by the Chinese Govt.  Dr Li had tried to warn fellow medics of a disease that looked like Sars – another deadly coronavirus.  But he was told by police to “stop making false comments” and was investigated for “spreading rumours”.

And yet, China’s actions raised questions. The government refused to allow international scientists into Wuhan in early 2020 when the outbreak was mushrooming, including experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who were already in the region.

Beijing stonewalled on allowing World Health Organization experts into Wuhan for more than a year, and then provided only limited access. The WHO team’s final report, written with and vetted by Chinese researchers, played down the possibility of a lab leak. Instead, it said the virus probably spread via a bat through another animal, and gave some credence to a favored Chinese theory that it could have been transferred via frozen food.

 

 

Chapter  6:  THE WORLD ON ITS KNEES

From China, the Virus spread globally in a flash causing countries to go into a  lockdown for months and the world came to a standstill with the economy too coming to a grinding halt.  An unprecedented medical crisis loomed large. The rampaging virus took a heavy toll of the elderly population all over.   Pharma companies scrambled to develop and launch a vaccine before the virus could do further damage.   What did the future hold?

It was a matter of time before the Virus engulfed the whole world, beginning with Europe, US, and a few Asian countries like Iran and eventually India by early March 2020.

However, if there is one country that has suffered the most due to COVID-19 beyond China, it has to be the European country of Italy. But what is the connection between Italy and the novel coronavirus considering the deadly virus is reported to have originated from China?  The answer is fashionably simple. The northern part of Italy has been a traditionally prosperous region due to the flourishing fashion and garment industry. Most of the big global brands like Gucci and Prada have their base in this region. With China offering one of the cheapest manufacturing options in the world, it came as little surprise that most of these fashion brands were working with China. A large number of these Italian fashion and garment houses had outsourced their manufacturing to Chinese labour, specifically in Wuhan.

Italy also has direct flights from Wuhan and reports suggest over 100,000 Chinese citizens were working in Italian factories. Chinese made a slow and steady move into Italy and many Italian fashion firms are now owned by them as well. As per a news report, there are more than 300,000 Chinese and over 90% of them work in the Italian garment industry. As per reports, there are thousands of small companies that are active in exports. This region is also very interconnected as well. The Italian authorities were late in waking up to the threat of the novel coronavirus and it had already spread far and wide to the neighbouring countries of Spain, France, Germany, Belgium and the UK  by the time safety measures were put in place.

Experts believe the novel coronavirus outbreak has hit Italy on two major counts – first is the high number of casualties. Nearly 60% of the population is aged 40 and over, of which about 23% is over 65 years of age. This put nearly one-fourth of the population at grave risk. The second relates to the economy and the adverse impact it will have on the country’s100 billion USD-plus fashion industry as most of the garment industry is dependent on China not just for their cheap manufacturing but also for its consumption in China’s billion-plus-consumer market.

As the virus spread its tentacles around the world, no country was spared as the dragnet spread far and wide infecting almost 50 million people worldwide in the first wave completely swamping medical services and spreading mayhem all around.  The most developed countries like the US and Western Europe were the most affected along with Brazil, Mexico, Iran and India and over a million deaths.

It was clear that only a miraculous cure like a vaccine could stem the tide of disease that was enveloping the whole world.   As countries looked upto Pharma companies to provide the healing touch,   the companies themselves scrambled their best resources to meet the unprecedented challenge

 

 

Chapter  7:  TO TAKE OR NOT TO TAKE 

The corona crisis notwithstanding,  the vaccine has created a dilemma for those resisting the remedy as being worse than the malady akin to choosing between the devil and the deep sea:  to take or not to take the vaccine.  The choice is very clear: taking the vaccine will protect both you and the community around you 

 

“To be or not to be – that is the question”  was the soliloquy given by Shakespeare’s Hamlet expressing an eternal life dilemma.    The corona crisis has in its wake created a similar dilemma for many who are facing an Hobson’s choice:  to take or not to take the vaccine.  Those resisting the vaccine see the remedy as being worse than the malady akin to choosing between the devil and the deep sea.

 

As the corona crisis started unfolding in India from early March 2020, Pharma Research companies went into an immediate overdrive to meet this unprecedented challenge.   New drug approvals including critical clinical trials normally take between 3-10 years but the rampaging virus demanded immediate solutions and so the entire process was fast-tracked.

 

It is a credit to the high level of technological competence that beating all odds, vaccines from Pfizer & Moderna were ready for a roll-out by Nov 2020.     In India, the Oxford-Astrazenaca developed Covishield was the first off the block and this was followed by the indigenously developed Covaxin.

 

One would have thought there would be a beeline for vaccination when it was launched for healthcare and frontline workers in Jan 2021 but thanks to a widely circulated social media disinformation campaign many were wary of the after effects of the jab.   By the time the vaccine was opened up for the 60+ in March 2021, the vaccination drive started to splutter.    The excuses ranged from the juvenile: “I hate injections”  to the pseudo-intellectual: ”I have sufficient immunity…I don’t need the vaccine”   In between were the anxiety responses:  “I heard they inject the virus so I will end up getting infected”  or “people have died despite the jab so why should I invite trouble”.

 

To add grist to the rumour mills, the Patanjali honchos came up with their version of the corona antidote (including cow urine)  and blatantly decried the vaccine and ended up getting infected  and were treated with the very same medications that they had run down.   Raghav Yadav from Bareilly, UP businessman took to social media to denounce the vaccination campaign.  A week later, his entire family contracted the virus and his parents and himself, all succumbed to the virus.

 

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have strongly endorsed the safety and efficacy of the vaccines that have been  launched in India.

 

So what is the moral of our story:   Every cure has a price one has to pay.  There have been reports of side effects of the vaccine which is common for all vaccines, but the benefits far outweigh the minor side effects.    With our fragile health infrastructure, particularly in the vast rural hinterland of our country and the propensity of our masses to throw caution to the winds and ignore the best antidote for the virus:  SMS  (social distancing, masking and sanitization) we have the perfect recipe for a man-made disaster.

 

Worldwide too the vaccination campaign had a slow start partly due to apathy in the western world and largely due to non-availability of sufficient vaccines in the developing countries.   As of August 2021, almost 5 billion doses have been administered worldwide equal to 64 doses for every 100 people.  With the threat of a third wave looming large, only mass vaccination of  at least 70% of the population will ensure that we achieve the desired level of sero-immunocity  to bail us out of the pandemic.

 

 

 

Chapter 8:  THE VIRUS DOES  NOT GIVE UP!

As countries settled down to coping with the human and economic fallout of the pandemic and with vast swathes of the population globally immunized with the vaccine, the virus in the meantime, struck again with a delta variant that was much more virulent and transmittable and once again the world was in  the throes of the second wave crisis.

The staggering loss of life notwithstanding, the virus had a huge financial and economic impact all across the globe.   Countries scrambled to procure and stock up vaccines that would hopefully stem the onslaught of the virus.  But the virus had other plans with a Delta variant that first emerged in western Maharashtra and then spread to the rest of the country and abroad.  This Delta variant  was much more virulent and transmittable and once again the world was in  the throes of the second wave crisis.

While the second wave hit the UK in Nov-Dec 2020, it hit India in April-May 2021.   The second wave, recorded over 26 million cases in India & had severe consequences in the form of spiraling cases, reduced supplies of essential treatments.  In the first wave, the most vulnerable were the 60+ aged population and those with co-morbidities.   The second wave hit the young very hard and also had a long recovery period followed by post-recovery complications.

The reproduction number of the virus – also called R0 and R – is a way of rating a disease’s ability to spread and estimates the average number of people infected by one already infected person.  Ideally this should be below 1 but hovered above 1 during most of the second wave and has started receding now.   Among the worst affected states in India were Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka and the North Eastern states.

Amidst the raging pandemic in Maharashtra with over 57 lakh infected and 1 lakh dead, a non-descript village called Kalbhonde, a tribal hamlet on the border of Thane and Nashik districts has managed to stay covid free for more than 425 days thanks to the practical wisdom of its elders and collective safety efforts by sealing the village and setting up a makeshift isolation centre for those working in neighbouring areas as farm hands.

There are fears that a third wave may hit India sometime in October 2021 impacting children.   The country is bracing itself for the emerging threat with Oxygen concentrators  set up in every district and  paediatric facilities being ramped up.

With cases continuing to spring up all over the world, it would be sometime before normalcy is restored.   The economy is picking up the pieces and struggling to settle down.   Travel, tourism and Hospitality industry have been hit severely.    Education has taken a hard hit as online classes have not been as effective.   Companies too are poised to open their doors and bring employees back into a physical space, as online work has not been fruitful enough in many cases.   In the meantime, it does appear that the virus is waiting to make the next move and waiting to catch the unvaccinated off-guard.   There are rumours of a Lamda variant looming on the horizon,  There is also evidence that the immunity provided by the vaccines would abate over time, necessitating a booster dose which has already taken off in the US.   How would a post-covid world shape up is anybody’s guess….we can just keep our fingers crossed and our sleeves rolled up…vaccine or no vaccine.

 

 

 

 

Chapter  9:  ARE WE READY TO BLAME OURSELVES?

Is the CORONA crisis something we have brought on ourselves?   With the indiscriminate plundering of mother earth and the wanton contamination of  our air and water systems will sound the death knell of our world.     Unless we mend our ways and learn to respect and preserve our environment, we will continue to bear the brunt of our recklessness

It is indeed an irony of life that we pay for the sins that we commit in this world itself.   Hell and Heaven are states of the mind!   We can create either a heaven or a hell on earth itself and that is exactly what our generation has been doing….creating a living hell for all of us with the upheaval caused to our ecosystems by our abuse of Nature

The following CORONAvirus Letter to Humanity penned by Vivienne R Reich highlights poignantly the man-made crisis that we are facing today:

*Coronavirus Letter To Humanity*

The earth whispered but you did not hear.

The earth spoke but you did not listen

The earth screamed but you turned her off.

And so I was born…

I was not born to punish you..

I was born to awaken you..

The earth cried out for help…

Massive flooding. But you didn’t listen.

Burning fires. But you didn’t listen.

Strong hurricanes. But you didn’t listen.

Terrifying Tornadoes. But you didn’t listen.

You still don’t listen to the earth when.

Ocean animals are dying due to pollutants in the waters.

Glaciers melting at an alarming rate.   Severe drought.

You didn’t listen to how much negativity the earth is receiving.

Non-stop wars.

Non-stop greed.

You just kept going on with your life..

No matter how much hate there was..

No matter how many killings daily..

It was more important to get that latest iPhone than worry about what the earth was trying to tell you..

But now I am here.

And I’ve made the world stop on its tracks.

I’ve made YOU finally listen.

I’ve made you take refuge.

I’ve made you stop thinking about materialistic things..

Now you are like the earth…

You are only worried about YOUR survival.

How does that feel?

I give you fever.. as the fires burn on earth.

I give you respiratory issues.. as pollution fills the earth air.

I give you weakness as the earth weakens every day.

I took away your comforts..

Your outings.

The things you would use to forget about the planet and its pain.

And I made the world stop…

 

And now…

China has better air quality.. Skys are clear blue because factories are not spewing pollution unto the earth’s air.

The water in Venice is clean and dolphins are being seen.  Because the gondola boats that pollute the water are not being used.

YOU are having to take time to reflect on what is important in your life.

Again I am not here to punish you.. I am here to Awaken you…

When all this is over and I am gone… Please remember these moments..

Listen to the earth.

Listen to your soul.

Stop Polluting the earth.

Stop Fighting among each other.

Stop caring about materialistic things.

And start loving your neighbors.

Start caring about the earth and all its creatures.

Start believing in a Creator.

Because next time I may come back even stronger….

Signed,

Coronavirus

Chapter 10:  THE PROGNOSIS FOR THE FUTURE

The CORONA crisis has exposed the chinks in our armour and accentuated the need for us to pool our resources and unitedly fight a common enemy.  The subterfuge over the origin of the virus & the collusion of health regulating bodies & the blame game led to an aggravated crisis that could have been well nipped in the bud.   These are ominous portents that do not bode well for our future well-being.

 

The current pandemic is not the first that humanity has faced neither will it be the last.   The pandemic has highlighted more than ever before, man’s utter helplessness against the ravages of nature whether it is cyclones, earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes or tsunamis or biological threats like the coronavirus.   How do we ensure that such calamities are handled in the future with more maturity, foresight and medical competence?

Bill Gates’  has made a further grim prediction on impending disasters in the years to come as a result of calamities caused by climate change where the death toll could be even greater than the pandemic.   We have already seen this happening in China & Belgium/Germany where massive floods this year have caused unprecedented havoc. Similar destruction has been caused by wild fires in California and Greece.    Another major threat predicted is – “Bio-terrorism. Somebody who wants to cause damage could engineer a virus and that means the cost, the chance of running into this is more than the naturally-caused epidemics like the current one.

It is never too late to mend our ways.   As the CORONA crisis has proved, countries can ill-afford the high payouts in the wake of a calamity.   Unless urgent steps are taken to stem the tide towards environmental degradation, we will continue to face the brunt of disasters in various forms that are threatening not only our existence on this planet, but the planet itself as global temperatures are projected to rise between 2.5-10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of over 1,300 scientists from the U.S. and around the world.

Everything from wildlife, ecosystems, agriculture, and human health will all be affected on a global scale. Already the effect is felt worldwide. A global problem requires a global solution, and when it comes to protecting the environment for future generations, some countries are doing more than others.  The Paris Agreement – a multinational accord to collectively combat global warming – is a step towards this end but will work only if countries abide by its various directives.

24/7 Wall St. created an index to measure environmental performance by countries using data from Yale University’s 2018 Environmental Performance Index and the World Bank’s “What a Waste Database.” The measures that comprise this index range in scope and include air quality, water quality, biodiversity, wastewater treatment, carbon emissions, and proactive environmental policies.  The countries that have ranked high on this Index are developing countries like Peru, Tunisia & Belarus besides the developed countries like Singapore, Hungary, US and the Scandinavian countries like Finland & Denmark which are ranked on the top.

Sustainability has been defined as  meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.   The only legacy we can leave our children – the future generation is a world that is as pristine and unspoiled as our ancestors handed over to us.   If we fail in this, we will be doing the greatest disservice to mankind and future generations will never forgive our apathy and neglect.

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