Covid has engaged the whole world and panic has spread though-out and its is given the humans a run for their lives. It has exposed the best known healthcare systems worldwide collapsing. From the US to China, from the UK to India, from Italy to Brazil – there is no nation whose healthcare system was not overwhelmed by Covid. In a world that is rapidly aging, the key question is how you fund quality healthcare accessible to all. No system seems perfect. Most are, in fact, very flawed. And yet, going forward, this will need to be fixed not just for Covid and Omicron, but also for the long run. The third is investment in evidence based science.
The Delta variant seems, at first glance, to be less lethal than its elder cousin Covid-19. But, in countries where vaccinations themselves have become a ‘belief system’, the results are worrying. Europe and the United States are reeling under the tremendous numbers. Their already over-stretched healthcare systems are near collapse. And the rudiments of safety and socially responsible behavior are cast aside, as those against the inoculation and anti-maskers, make the world unsafe for themselves and those around them.
Right now, the surge in cases is scary. There are almost 150,000 cases in the UK daily, 110,000+ cases in France daily. In Russia, almost a 1,000 people are dying each day because of Covid. In the US, which has not really recovered from the first and second waves, there are almost 325,000 cases each day, and over 1,200 deaths. In India, thankfully, after the devastating second wave, things seem much calmer now. But for most people, the trauma of last April is too vivid.
And most states and administrators are veering towards safety first. Conversations have again begun veering towards lockdowns. Many states in India have imposed partial closures in public spaces. Malls, theatres, restaurants, have all been told to shut.
Schools, which were due to reopen in the new year, are now not opening. Companies that had begun asking people to come back to work from office, have now put those plans on hold. All in all, it seems like we are back in January 2021), without the resilience to cope with what is yet to come. In all this, it is unclear whether either populations, or indeed the economy, can cope with more lockdowns, waiting for cures that may never take place. For governments, the trade-offs between keeping people safe and keeping the economy moving have become too expensive to even contemplate.
In all this, as Omicron rages, policymakers must look at three vital parameters. Because their decisions will not just impact today’s populations, but future generations. The first needs to focus on education and educational continuity. Covid has wreaked havoc on educational systems worldwide. In India alone, it is estimated that over 250 million students have been impacted, at various levels of education. As kids stay home, safe from Covid, but away from peers and teachers, there has been a loss in socialization, learning, and literacy.
Thus, there is no quick fix for Covid. We must learn to live with it. But what can be done is to improve the overall infrastructure that makes us more capable of battling it or any other health disaster.
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