Since the latter end of the year 2019, the world has been grappling with a crisis, the likes of which it had never faced before. The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the global world to its very core. As of now, thousands around the world have died due to the disease. Entire economies have collapsed, adding to the burden. Every sector of the economy has been severely impacted, leaving many economies entirely crippled. Education, Tourism, Trade and Commerce, and most importantly, healthcare have all taken a hit.
The Current Situation
The pandemic has led to a restructuring in the functioning of the economy. Governments around the world are employing several strategies to tackle pandemic-related problems. Many sectors have shifted to a completely online mode of working. Businesses have come to depend on the power of technology more than ever, with meetings and discussions taking place remotely. Classes and lectures are being held online, as schools remain shut. Similarly, trade and transport industries are utilizing measures to minimize physical human interaction.
Even as the best minds across the globe work on vaccines to help turn the tide, the virus has already undergone mutations. Now, there are multiple strains of the deadly virus in our midst. One of the new strains of the virus, called B.1.1.7 originated in the UK, during the latter half of the previous year. Another strain was identified in South Africa, called B.1.351. The latest strain to emerge is called P.1 and has been detected in Brazil.
The new strains have a much faster spreading rate than others, which automatically leads to the possibility of more Covid-19 cases. With the world now dealing with multiple strains of the virus, the efficacy of vaccines that are being used in vaccination drives is also being questioned.
As of now, there is no possible method to find out how many people have already been infected with the new strains. Another factor that remains unknown is whether the available vaccines and therapies are effective against these new strains or not. Without proper testing and monitoring, it is difficult to ascertain whether that is the case.
With multiple countries witnessing a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases again, many are questioning whether there will be a second wave of lockdowns across the planet as well. In any case, the priority is to remain safe by taking all precautionary steps possible. Another factor to consider is whether the vaccination drives that are being conducted are proving effective or not.
Despite the rise in the number of new cases, there is laxity at all levels of the system. The public is refusing to follow the guidelines that have been laid down by their respective governments. With a larger number of people now out on the streets, there is a greater need for masks and social distancing. Yet, most people have grown apathetic towards the issue. Also, rumors regarding the available vaccines are resulting in a lesser number of people getting vaccinated.
With most countries across the globe witnessing a resurgence in the number of Covid-19 cases, and the global economy in shambles, nation leaders are at a loss. However, necessary steps need to be taken, if we are to overcome this challenge.
If indeed there is a second wave of Covid-19 infections incoming, then we need to be prepared and take precautions to prevent or at least reduce casualties. As a first step, there should be effective monitoring of those infected with the new strains of the virus. Countries, where the new strains have emerged, should put up effective travel barriers with immediate effect to prevent the spread of infections.
At the current junction, most world economies are already suffering from the impact of the pandemic. As should be evident by now, lockdowns are not an efficient strategy to deal with this crisis. Even rich nations lack the resources to put up lockdowns for an indefinite period. While lockdowns in the poorer nations will themselves lead to mass starvation and deaths. What is required is a balanced plan, that keeps the wheels of the economy turning, while limiting the number of infections to the minimum possible.
The Strategy For The Future
For this, it is critical that social distancing norms, as well usage of protective equipment like masks are enforced. National, as well as regional governments, need to ensure that the public follows these regulations. It is every individual’s responsibility to support their respective governments in preventing a second wave from happening. Those vaccines that are already available and have proven to be effective, should be made compulsory, at least for those who do not have any pre-existing medical conditions.
Another vital strategy that is already being adopted by most sectors of the economy is to utilize technology to its fullest extent. The online sector has also been impacted by the pandemic, especially the e-commerce businesses. To prevent the spread of the infection, shipments and deliveries had to be stopped, postponed, or altogether canceled.
Yet, this is also the sector of the economy that has turned out to be more resilient than most. Classes and business meetings are already being held online. As the e-commerce sector slowly starts picking up pace again, people are depending upon online stores more than ever. With offline stores shutting down for an indefinite period, people are now conducting almost all of their purchasing and shopping activities online. From food, to household items, to gadgets, everything is being purchased almost exclusively online. This also reduces human contact while keeping the wheels of the economy turning.
At the next level, nations need to step up measures of testing and contact tracing which will help monitor the spread of the virus. Time is of the essence, and it is common knowledge now that the virus possesses the ability to undergo mutation. This also raises the possibility of further mutation. The need of the hour is to develop a vaccine that will be effective against all strains of the virus, not just the current ones.
With expert opinion stating that pandemics tend to occur in waves, the threat of a second wave is very real. With the number of cases rising rapidly again, a global outbreak seems imminent. Until such a vaccine that is effective against all variants of the virus becomes available, we need to take steps that will keep us safe and protected. Difficult times lie ahead, and only with perseverance and patience can we make it through.
Source of information regarding new strains: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website
Author Name: Pallav Pathak
About the author:
Pallav Pathak is a content writer with experience in a range of topics, including technology, health, social media, gaming, and more.
He currently works for an affiliate marketing company. In his spare time, you can find him watching technology videos or reading fiction