Covid 19 : What is the imperative ?
Notwithstanding the arrival of the Covid-19 vaccine are there grounds for cheer that we are about to triumph over the worst health threat mankind has ever known ? It seems not as any dispassionate analysis would reveal. The World Health Organization (WHO) in a statement warned that Covid-19 as a grave health threat could last well into 2022 or even longer despite the appearance of vaccines. WHO also keeps on saying different things at different times about Covid-19.Only some months ago WHO was advocating a third dose of vaccine as safeguard against Corona virus. But the latest is WHO now saysadvocacy for a third booster dose is immoral and unlawful.
As it is, the major Western countries in Europe and North America are into their second or third lockdowns ever since the pandemic showed up in March 2020. But instead of decrease in the number of new detections and deaths, a soaring of the cases of Covid-19 on both counts iscreating new records of sickness and mortality in these countries. In other words, after more than eleven months after it struck across Europe and North America, the virus is found to be not only alive and well but very well indeed there.
So, what happened after taking so much restrictions, lockdowns, home staying, isolation, etc. to control Covid-19’s spread ? It is now an established fact that in Europe and North America or indeed much of the world the march of Covid-19 continues to be completely unstoppable. Rather in ferocity and spread of its new strains, the virus seems dauntless against any defence that its human opposers could set up so far. Therefore, it is no overstatement to say that even after nearly one and half years, we, meaning collectively the whole of mankind, are collectively nowhere near to delivering theknock out punch to the epidemic.
Providence should be thanked for the comparatively lower prevalence of Covid-19 cases in Bangladesh. But let us not bank so surely on this factor alone for there is no knowing with surety that Covid-19 cases will not jump up after a seeming lull in our country. We have to look into the situation in neighbouring India to realize the uneasy reality. After the United States India presently suffers the highest number of infections and deaths in the world from Covid-19 and India is so near to Bangladesh on all three sides.
The only claimed glimmer of hope is the vaccine. USA and UK have started applying it on a large scale and also other developed countries. But we have to wait a pretty long time to know with any degree of certainty that these vaccines will provide lasting protection to potential victims of Covid-19. The vaccines have been hurriedly introduced without going through the usual process of trials and errors lasting some four or five years. This time period was cut short to create a vaccine in only six months but none can give any guarantee of its efficacy on large scale use. There had been cases of severe reactions and even deaths on trial application of the vaccines that led to notable concern among large number of people in badly afflicted countries about enthusiastically getting vaccinated. A large number of even medical professionals in UK and USA have either rejected the offer of vaccines or are hesitating to do so.
As for treatment of Covid-19, the world as a whole stands more or less in the same position, say, as it did in last August and September. There are a few medications known to shorten the period of sickness from Covid-19 cases. But these are mainly palliative supports to reduce severity of symptoms. These cannot cure the affliction nor after effects of Covod-19 such as extraordinary weakness, loss of appetite and lasting varied types of disability following the infection. There is simply no antibiotic type of antidote against Covid-19. The ones who recover do so mainly ‘naturally’ observing a regimen of care during their sickness.
The astounding thing is :experts at least silently accept that their knowledge of how Covid-19 spreads, its real origin, its mutations, etc., are still an enigma on the most part to them. What can we summarise from the above ? It should be clear that our understanding of Covid-19 is not far advanced from the time when it was first detected. We still do not know enough about its mode of transmission, mutation, treatment and prevention. The greatest lacking of knowledge is in the area of treatment. We just have a too hurriedly produced and marketed vaccine . But its safety and surety are yet to be proven conclusively. So, it does not seem that medical science has achieved any decisive progress in the fight against Covid-19 since it broke out.
We must not remain content only with the development of a still not hundred per cent dependable vaccine. We must pursue vaccine development much further for it to reach complete effectiveness under all circumstances at the fastest. More important is to simultaneously go all out to develop medicines that can actually CURE Covid-19. To this end, the maximum resources of all countries – both human and material-need to be harnessed, pooled and utilized.