Why fear corona when living with worse?

Quarantined people are less prone to dangers of coronavirus than to dangers of unhygienic living conditions

Jahangir Kakar March 21, 2020
Corona, corona, corona… what the heck, man! It is not doomsday and it certainly is not the end of times. They said that the coronavirus pandemic was so dangerously fatal, but we did not believe them because we are immune to it. And we have our reasons for this immunity.

Our spirit of “come what may” is the first reason behind our immunity against the coronavirus. We knew it was knocking at our doors by the havoc it created in neighbouring Iran. Next thing we knew, it had made inroads into our country and the coronavirus headcount has begun. But we are keeping our nerves together and still saying that we will see to what comes our way. Our leaders are children of idle procrastination and this helps in deciding our fate by the circumstances and not by us, which further solidifies our shield of immunity.

The second reason for our immunity to the virus is that whether we respond through individual means or systemic, we do respond and that is all that counts. We had hasty coronavirus management and containment meetings at the national and provincial levels. It was said that we were in control of all affairs and our preparation was impeccable. We thought we had installed a self-functioning system to manage the tide of corona-infected people. We were satisfied with our performance and we all left for home saying we had done all that was necessary and needed to be done. Next morning, we saw the system we thought we had, had vanished as it was overrun by an individual’s direction for certain action at the virus-stricken border of Taftan which had allowed all the suspected infected people to spread throughout the country. We responded on every occasion irrespective of going into the useless details of how well and how worse.

The third reason of our immunity against the coronavirus is that we make informed and scientific decisions. With an increase in the coronavirus headcount, and as part of our containment strategy, we shut down educational institutes as potential breeding grounds. The number did not decline or at least not as much as we expected it to, and we had to look for other reasons. Next, we borrowed the idea of grand lockdowns from abroad and decided to lock down shopping malls, public transport, populous hotels, and went home all satisfied, thinking we had done all that was necessary. Let it be morning, and we shall see the fallout of our informed and scientific decisions.

We next established our own quarantine centres with the only difference being that ours do not match the global standards as these have set their own indigenous standards. Our quarantine centres do not provide an image of extreme care, sophisticated isolation, hi-tech environment with the specialists in control of all affairs. Our quarantine centres are well-guarded by the security forces as the people could escape anytime. Inside the centres is an open and free space for social interaction. The quarantined people are less prone to the dangers of coronavirus than to the dangers cropping up of unhygienic living conditions. We surely would be nurturing new viruses more fatal than corona through our quarantine centres and that is the reason why it is being rumoured that Taftan could be the next Wuhan of Pakistan, God forbid.

Our coronavirus immunity is also the product of our history of contaminated hygiene which has been nurtured by consuming impure and deleterious nutrients, breathing in the densely poisoned and polluted air, drinking unsafe and unclean water that has been mixed with sewerage lines, and living in cities which are dumping grounds of garbage. Beguiled by power politics, running after the rollercoaster of democracy, seeking justice for generations, living in a highly intolerant and draconian society, pulling along lawless and anarchic socio-economic divides; what more harm could this flu-like virus named corona do to us? Afterall, we seem to be immune to it!

Published in The Express Tribune, March 21st, 2020.

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