Saturday, January 29, 2022 | Jumada al-akhirah 25, 1443 H
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It’s zero — zero has a value

On Monday, there was a sigh of relief as Sultanate recorded no deaths from Covid-19 for the previous day.

It is a ray of hope as we move forward with the opening up of services. We have been wondering about the near future daring not to think about goals as the pandemic brought down projects and possibilities.

While many coped with the pandemic, businesses faced the brunt from different corners. Would this ‘zero’ be the hope for tomorrow?

Of course we need not be naive as there is uncertainty still about the virus and it’s variants and it might be best let go of the cautions we have built into our daily life style.

The value of zero depends on where it placed — is it before a digit or after a digit. A ‘0’ is zero units away from itself, making clear it’s value. But with regard to Covid-19 death cases the value of zero is most valuable.

What we must not forget about is the fact that there are still 58 new cases of Covid-19.

While the vaccination drive to fight the pandemic continues in full swing throughout the world, there is a new division in the society — it is not between the haves and have nots — but between the vaccination and unvaccinated.

While in many countries it is a debate of choice, in Oman the vaccination drive have been moving forward with 12-year-olds and above getting vaccinated as classes are set to begin next week. Yet there are individuals who cannot take the vaccination because of their medical condition. Would they feel left out?

Meanwhile we have managed to bring down the curve and once again this is one graph we enjoy the curve going down and we hope to see go down further and stay there so we can have the individuals who cannot be vaccinated be safe.

The achievement we have seen on Monday is the result of many measures that have been taken by the authorities followed by individuals, which might have been difficult to go through, but the result is definitely heart warming. Now the challenge is to keep zero there.

This week has also seen the beginning of the new academic year, soon students will be experiencing once again the new norm from a different perspective — going back to schools following the blending or hybrid system. For some of the younger students it will be a different experience as they have been away from the school environment, but definitely there would be masks and face shields along with pencil pouches, bags and books, not to forget uniforms as children would have outgrown them.

Now in school of course we want zero to be on the side (depending on the language) which would make the difference in the grade.

Imagine a world without a zero — we would not have a number greater than 9. Our digital world would have been different because it is all about 1s and 0s. But I am sure we would have found a way but apparently zero was already in use 5,000 years ago. In Arabic, zero is written with just a dot. But there is so much depth to this dot or the slightly elongated circle. This numerical symbol indicates absence and in this case it is pleasing to know.

As the news was shared, people greeted back with gratitude.

Zero on the chart of Covid-19 has been what we had been waiting for and if we continue to be cautious we can be successful in keeping it that way.

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