03:55 PM | 7 Apr, 2020

COVID-19 pandemic has become the only superpower on the face of the earth since December 2019 as the deadly virus has so far affected one-third of the entire world population. Undoubtedly the current health situation has initiated a worldwide uniformed concern in terms of restoring the environmental cleanliness, personal hygiene and discipline by taking precautionary measures. The preventive strategies include maximum social distancing, disinfecting homes and workplaces with chemical sprays, use of preventive kits, screening equipment, ventilators, gloves, face masks, movement control order (MCO) and a worldwide lockdown across the globe.

Before we move to discuss the by-products of this ongoing global medical health emergency, there are some sad facts that need to be reminded. As it is already known to all that coronavirus has killed thousands of human beings across the world, and even today, the numbers are rapidly multiplying. It has proved to be the most serious catastrophe after World War Two that has crushed the world’s economic system besides creating certain other interruptions at a huge scale. Other than killing a vast number of people, it has jammed all the activities related to politics, education, and business, etc. Many segments of society including the low class has suffered a lot who cannot afford to take even a single day off in order to survive a hand to mouth life. Moreover, such downtrodden people cannot afford to use sanitizers or wear protective face masks. However, despite these mentioned issues, there is still a ray of hope at the end of the tunnel, and the hopes are high that soon we will get rid of this deadly beast. Now setting aside these major problems, one can still try to look for the best in the worst by keeping the morale high and also by focusing the lessons that we may learn from this situation.

First of all, the social distancing policy as per the official instructions in order to curb the rapid spread of this disease is not devoid of any positive lesson. In fact, it has come up with many advantages such as we are getting more time to spend with our families, be it our parents or spouses, and we are getting the opportunity to enjoy our healthy homemade food. We are saving more money and time due to minimum mobility outside our houses. However, in this solitude of staying back with families, we can go back to the prescribed habit of reading books or watching movies. In this way, in fact, we do experience a spirit of oneness with our parents, partners or kids that were, otherwise, lost due to the hustle-bustle of our busy lives. This pathogen has allowed us to enjoy the reality of relationships by living close to them instead of taking the help of digital platforms and gadgets. Moreover, these unusual off-days can also feed our minds with some enriching self-introspection or soul searching? By the time the virus vanishes away, it is likely to transform the individual from arrogant to polite, selfish to selfless, careless to careful and from senseless to a sensible human being. In the post-corona scenario, it can be hoped that a man will no more care to feed his ego rather now he will be taking care of his near and dear ones. Along with this spiritual impact, there is also a visible and positive change regarding the habits to take care of personal hygiene that in turn contributes to the well-being of the whole society. It has united the otherwise divided nationalities and religious sections as now the countries are offering spiritual, emotional, medical and monetary help to the needy nations.

Surprisingly, this novel coronavirus is being discussed from the perspective of conspiracy theories such as bioterrorism, etc. as one of them. There are different schools of thought that seem to exercise their opinion by either blaming the US for artificially making the virus in their hidden labs or by calling it “China virus”. Whatever is the case, we are witnessing that, the irreversible disaster is being experienced by all the countries. This blame game is creating a panic wave in the society that is no more than an addition to already existing problems. A strong self-evaluation is needed along with a unity of action in order to get rid of this curse instead of spreading this chaos. It is a pleasing fact that, despite being divided on a number of religious, economic and political issues, various nations seem to be on the same page regarding their fight against this deadly threat. It is high time to realize that the countries need to keep aside all their prevailing conflicts in order to make this planet a safer and healthy place to live. The racists and bigots should introspect for a moment and see that if this COVID-19 follows a particular class, race, caste, race, nationality or religion? This has indeed united the opposing nations in their combat against it and they need to keep this in their mind that the more united they are against this common challenge, the highest will be their chances to win the battle.

Likewise, this fatal virus also teaches us to be charitable towards those sections of society who need us at this hour of time. They should be taken care of, by providing them with enough ration, medical care, and constant emotional support. One other significant outcome of this tragedy is, that, it has kept the public away from polluting the air, water, and land in the form of celebrating excessive picnics, vacations and frequent visits to eating out points. Moreover, the chemical factories due to a continuous shut down have not used excessive electricity and no hazardous gas was emitted for a month. This spirit of minimalism has to be sustained in the wake of the post-COVID-19 scenario in order to maintain a healthy living place for all.

Similarly, a vital lesson amid corona combat is related to the government disaster management and disease control system, both need a serious concern to face the occurrence of any such natural disaster in the future. There is a dire need to formulate effective teams of experts to face these kinds of challenges with the help of visionary and competent manpower including the best scientists, leaders, doctors, and academicians. The government needs to provide the crew with enough financial as well as moral support so that they can perform useful experiments in order to invent some cure for such deadly viral diseases. Moreover, they can be asked to work on their research-based projects in collaboration with global experts from highly advanced and experienced countries such as UK, USA, and China. Another worth mentioning issue, during a lockdown of educational institutes, is faced by many academicians as well as the students, which is related to the online teaching system as it has proved to be a bigger challenge due to the sheer lack of training and skill. From now onwards, the universities, colleges, and schools should give regular training on how to use the online medium for teaching in order to keep the education system fluent and smooth, in any situation.

In the concluding passage, I would like to highlight the positive role of media as it needs to be appreciated for the provision of constant guidance, about the necessary health measures, in every nook and corner of the country. Last but not the least, the supremely active role of various professionals including doctors, paramedical staff, hospital cleaners, security guards, rangers, army, and police have instantly proved their worth in the battle against this monster. Finally one can predict the positive impact of this life-changing troubling pandemic i.e. to create a more humane world as well as an exemplary safe environment to live in. COVID-19, irrespective of its fatal effects, in many ways, is to be taken as food for thought that imparts few much-needed lessons to remember forever. In addition to a personal rejuvenation, it makes the man realize the sensitive nature of his status as being a mere mortal being. It also connects us with the Almighty God in the form of begging and prayers. May ALLAH protect us all from this curse!

The author has done her PhD in English Literature from NUML Islamabad. Currently, she is serving at the University of Lahore as a faculty member in the English department.