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April 3, 2020

Coronavirus should not rob us of our humanity

Coronavirus continues to spread with lethal speed.

The World Health Organization has declared that COVID-19 epidemic is could become a global pandemic. The virus is already making its way across the world, perhaps spreading to 80% of the world’s population. Historically, people in millions have died in the tragic wars and pandemics of the past. There is a danger that it might happen again.

There are so many expert opinions that people are not sure which way to go as they themselves are not sure. Some argue that society cannot be shut down completely. But that is exactly what is happening. Italy is under total lock down. Spain is following Italy in terms of isolating towns and cities to reduce the spread of the virus. Each government is doing what they see is the right thing to do to save a mass of people escape this dreadful virus. Just last night saw on TV that France is closing all restaurants among other things to limit the spread of the virus.

As we go through these tough times, thinking of spring, a new start, can be immensely helpful. We cannot give into fear, doom and gloom, and we need to keep our spirits up. I hope, spring will symbolize new life and we will be absorbed in nature’s essence. However, “Scientists don’t know how long the new coronavirus can live on surfaces, and preliminary research suggests that hot and humid environments may not slow down the pathogen’s spread.1”

Corona virus has taken our nationalities, religion, colour, all away from us. It has levelled us all as equals, trying to make sense of a common enemy. We are now the same. Of course, how we deal with it may differ, but only in degree. We are the same parents who worry for their kids, the same tourists who feel unwelcome, the same travellers who long to make it home, the same businesses that suffer, the same patients who are isolated, the same clueless heads trying to figure this out. Corona virus has rendered us all the same — the human species – what we were when our kind started inhabiting the Earth.

Almost every industry in the world has been impacted — from sports to the financial markets. But through it all, we still turn to our phones to see that message of concern from friends, that well meaning (maybe ill-informed) forward from relatives, that Google alert on the latest celebrity to contract the virus.

Karachi, March 21, 2020

I’m in Karachi preparing to fly back home to Toronto.

In a televised address (March 18), Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said the government alone cannot fight the "war" against coronavirus, we have to win this war as a nation, he said, asking people to act responsibly but ruled out to locking down the cities as that could result in people dying from hunger… however, all educational institutions, sports events, shopping centres and large gatherings have been shut down. He urged Ulemas (religious scholars) to continuously counsel people on what precautions to take and how to go through this difficult period. The streets in Karachi (from 400,000 in 1947 to over 20 million, today) stood almost empty. Total confirmed cases in Pakistan: 456 with 2 deaths. Globally: 176 countries have been affected, more than 11,000 people died and more than 209,000 infected by the disease as it spreads rapidly to new territories.

It is time the world must come together to fight this global threat collectively. The rich must come to help the poor nations who are seriously lacking in resources to protect their own people in this hour of greatest human need. Strengthening recognition of our interdependence – that everyone’s health is everyone else’s business – could strengthen the understanding that compassion and empathy are functional traits for humanity.

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1.  https://www.nytimes.com/article/what-is-coronavirus.html

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