‘4000 deaths have been recorded in a single day in Brazil, with one doctor comparing the country’s crisis to a “biological Fukushima”’ – Sky News

And Brazil is not alone. Recently we are seeing a big surge in infections in one of the largest nations on the planet – India. The decisions that we take today, the responsibilities that we shoulder and the actions that we undertake will determine the course of humanity in the next few months and years.

Covid was a word that did not exist up until a little over a year ago, a word that had no meaning to any of us, a word that we would just glide past even if we were to come across in any newspaper or magazine. But January 2020 changed all of that. 

The world watched in utter shock and disbelief as one of the worst pandemics of the 21st century unfolded before our very eyes. First it was conveyed that this was like the seasonal flu, then we were told that it is not much different from the previous SARS or even the bird flu or the swine flu infections. But very soon, it became obvious that this was not like any of the viruses that we had experienced before. 

Over the next few months, all of us watched helplessly – as millions of lives were lost, thousands of jobs were wiped out, businesses went down, global economies were decimated, livelihoods destroyed, families broken apart and doctors, nurses and healthcare workers were stretched beyond thin. Stories of unimaginable tragedies came flooding in from across the globe. There was more ‘grief’ at one point, than there was the time to ‘grieve’. 

But from this immense tragedy also came the brilliant glow of the indomitable human spirit. These past few months have tested humanity in ways that we cannot even fathom. The doctors, nurses and health care workers have been working tirelessly around the clock to save as many lives as they can, at times even at the cost of their own. The delivery folks ensured that the ‘supply chain system’ of all the essential commodities remained unaffected. The public transport officials saw to it that everyone who could not afford to work from home managed to get home safely. All the other exceptional individuals like cleaners, municipal workers, police, security forces and thousands of other frontline workers served society with exceptional diligence.

During the pandemic, the one question that has been on everyone’s mind, but we never got an answer to, was – why? Why did this happen? How could something like this happen, and on such a global scale and yet no one had any conclusive answer?

I am neither a doctor nor a scientist but just looking at the data raises a lot of uncomfortable questions:

  • China  90,400 cases, 4636 died
  • USA    31.8 Million cases, 574,840 deaths
  • UK      4.36 Million cases, 127,040 deaths
  • Brazil  13.3 Million cases, 348,934 deaths
  • India   13.2 Million cases, 168,467 deaths

The key questions I have are:

  • Why did the WHO take so long to declare this a global pandemic when there were clear signs of this infection spreading from the beginning of 2020?
  • How exactly was China able to contain the virus so effectively with so few infections and deaths in spite being ground zero? 
  • Why was Beijing and Shanghai hardly impacted when every other corner of the globe was?
  • Why even after one year does the WHO still not have a conclusive idea as to the origin of this virus?
  • Why wasn’t WHO allowed proper access to conduct a deep and thorough investigation?
  • Is it a coincidence that the virus originated from Wuhan where one of China’s largest research institute for virology is located?

I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I do believe in data. And the data is saying that 133 million people have been infected, 2.8 million are dead, millions of others will have to live with ‘Long Covid’. We are still not out of the woods yet. By the time we reach the other side of this crisis, I do not know how many more lives will be destroyed.

The world deserves to know the truth. The global community must come together and get the answers for this deadly tragedy. We have to know if this was a natural virus or if it was bio engineered, whether this was one of the worst pandemics to hit the world this century or was it the biggest biological attack the world has ever seen. If not for anything else, we owe it to our future generations.

The human costs alone are grave enough to almost wipe out a generation, not to mention the economic, social and emotional impact on the world. It will take years, if not decades, for the world to recover from this tragedy.

That said, there might be reasons for optimism. Let us not forget that:

  • The Renaissance had arrived right after the Dark Ages
  • William Shakespeare had finished three of his best novels – ‘King Lear’, ‘Macbeth’ and ‘Anthony and Cleopatra’ during the Bubonic Plague
  • Sir Isaac Newton had discovered ‘gravity’, apparently while on a ‘lockdown’, during the Great Plague in 1665/66
  • In the aftermath of the Spanish Flu, we saw the revamp of the world’s healthcare systems. We also witnessed a revolution in our understanding of viruses and more coordinated international responses which led to the formation of ‘Health Organisation of the League of Nations’ (the precursor to the WHO of today) and a major social change all over the world, including in India where 18 million Indians had died with the deadly disease under the British Colonial Rule
  • Following the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, we saw the birth of some of the most successful and large businesses that we see today like Uber, WhatsApp, Instagram and Pinterest et al.

In short, history bears testimony to the tremendous human resilience even during the darkest of times. We have survived, we have persevered, we have endured, we have always fought back and created a new world order after coming out of most major crises.

So, what lies in store for us at the other side of Covid? I hope something incredible, because surely the world deserves it.

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