Is the novel coronavirus continuing to spread across the world while teaching us new lessons daily? Or is it on the verge of disappearing in the coming months? Predicting the answer is very difficult. Experts believe the virus will remain for two years before things return to normal.
The disease will eventually end after taking a heavy toll in human lives and exacting huge material and economic losses around the world. Four months ago, we were unaware of this virus, which today represents a lethal and uncontrollable weapon due to the absence of a vaccine. Because of the disease, the economy has been disrupted, healthcare systems have collapsed, hospitals crowded with the sick and dead, public places for entertainment and restaurants remain empty, and sometimes dead bodies are left in the streets. All of us have to live in a new atmosphere that we had not experienced before, as if we are in a new world war.
Many health experts had warned about this disease and its consequences. Still, some of the oldest industrialised countries in Europe and America were not ready to face this epidemic. What is fate then for poor countries that lack the necessary health care infrastructure?
Today, more than four million people have been infected around the world, according to data of Johns Hopkins University in the US, while the death toll exceeds 278,000. There are also concerns that some countries are not recording infections and deaths due to a lack of testing and diagnosis.
Notwithstanding these statistics, there are daily voices demanding the easing of restrictions and stay-at-home policies, leaving people to weigh the risk of exposure to the virus or to suffer economic and material losses as a result of the lockdown.
The disease has led various governments to take different measures according to their specific circumstances. In Europe, coronavirus cases now exceed 1.5 million, and I believe that we in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, with over 100,000 cases, are not better off. The disease has infected many people in the region, with the death toll rising daily as well. Most of the victims are low-income migrant workers who live in cramped areas, in addition to citizens coming from abroad, and those who do not commit to stay at home, not to mention some members of healthcare services. These cases are likely to increase in the event of non-compliance with prevention guidelines.
Life has become unbearable today without wearing face masks and gloves while visiting malls or to be examined with thermal scanners when going. The big question is: When will we see the end of this pandemic?