By Syed M. Fauzan Ali

The events of the past few weeks have cleared all doubts about the severity of the novel coronavirus which has now become a global crisis. Its continuous spread across the globe has become a rapidly evolving situation in terms of the growth in the number of cases, and the response of various countries struggling to curb its spread.

I believe we all are aware by now that this global threat has the potential to cause worldwide economic and human harm. On the 11th of March, 2020 the World Health Organization at a media briefing officially declared Coronavirus as a global Pandemic. Now, this is a word if used carelessly can cause unreasonable fear and unwarranted acceptance that our fight is over. But, is it so?

We have witnessed countries closing borders, and Airlines experiencing a serious meltdown. The virus has also taken its toll on the box office and other industries with businesses losing a significant amount of revenue. Besides, the number of reported cases is incessantly mounting. Although, we still don’t have a clear picture of how this situation will play out in Pakistan or other countries which is a cause of serious concern. However, describing the situation as a pandemic does not mean that we should give up hope, nor does it change what WHO is doing to contain this threat or what the countries should do to prevent further harm.

I believe there is a need for a universal response to this universal threat. First, we must understand that any country which is the first to be struck by a disease cannot be labeled as a “pandemic boogeyman”, but a victim of a viral chance. Hence, playing the blame game at this time would be non-rational because wherever life exists on this planet, a disease can surface. It has been observed that the fear and rage in the wake of this pandemic have led some to act heartlessly or violently towards those who have fallen victim to the disease.

Two or three weeks ago, we were all hoping for containment of the disease, however, with all the media talk going on right now it seems we’re way past that – the cat is out of the barn. Perhaps, the major reason behind this is what we have learned about the virus: people who do not show severe symptoms serve as silent transmitters of the disease. Nonetheless, there is still a lot that communities and health administrators can do to slow down the spread and buy some time for either a treatment or vaccine to be developed. I believe there are various forking paths on the way from an outbreak to endemic. Lives can still be saved provided the humans join forces to avoid the worst-case scenario.

Pandemics will always have the potential to cause serious damage to the economies and humans. However, human response to such situations should always be characterized by mutual courage and compassion, and denial to allow a disease to have its way with fellow humans. We must learn from the techniques practiced during SARS, H1N1 and Ebola epidemics. The world today is quite different from the one at the time of the SARS or H1N1 outbreak. Information and propaganda travel fast, and this leads to a potential challenge as well as an opportunity. Nonetheless, there is a need to arrange training sessions to educate the citizens about preventing the spread of the disease as well as a need to facilitate the countries with poor health care systems to help contain disease outbreak, and a constant effort to find a proper cure. Societies break down when people start fearing each other as simply bipedal distributors of transmittable disease. It is time to see each other as allies in this moment of great uncertainty and work together to fight the covid-19.

– Saiyed M. Fauzan Ali is an MS specialized in Supply Chain Management from Iqra University and a Certified LSS (USA). The author is a faculty of Management Sciences and Research Associate at KASBIT, Karachi Pakistan. He is the founder of The Health Sphere and a fitness and writing enthusiast. You can follow the author on his Linkedin Profile