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WE’VE FOUND THE CORONAVIRUS ‘CULPRIT’

As the novel Covid-19 continues to engulf the global population, we all seem to be forgetting the most important thing- the real culprit behind this pandemic.

The past few weeks have proven difficult for all of us. Just a few days ago #ChinaLiedAndPeopleDied was trending on Twitter. Italy has reported an alarming 627 deaths in a single day surpassing China’s ‘claimed’ toll. While the Senate is debating on a $1 trillion rescue plan, most countries are on a lockdown to combat this deadly virus. 

As usual, the West claims Russia to be responsible for spreading disinformation and sowing panic in people’s minds. 

An EU database has recorded almost 80 fabricated cases about the coronavirus since Jan 22. These include- “U.S. soldiers deployed to Lithuania was infected and hospitalised”, “27-nation EU are unable to effectively deal with the pandemic” etc. 

And like always, Russia denies.

Photograph: New York Times

For a country with a population of over 146 million, Russia has reported far lesser cases than the rest of the countries in the world – only 253. Are the numbers accurate? who can tell?

The UK is being blamed for not taking any drastic measures. Without desperate efforts, which could be in place for weeks, or even months – it is feared that more than 250,000 people could die.

China and the USA have taken their trade war to the next level – it’s the corona war now! China is trying to push the story that a US Army officer in Wuhan started this pandemic. Whereas the USA implies that this is one of China’s many conspiracy theories.

Now, let’s get some facts straight. Actually, there are no facts, only claims. According to the WHO, a total of 168 countries have reported Covid-19 cases as of Friday. But Argentina says that it’s virus-free. Even North Korea claims to be exempt from corona although the US officials say they’re “fairly certain” that’s untrue, primarily due to geographical reasons. Nobody knows about the rest of the 25 countries. 

With the overwhelming amount of information available, no doubt, the common man is baffled.

Photograph: YouTube

This pandemic has to be yet another instance of the media failing the public. Racism and Xenophobia have emerged victorious. Plenty of instances of Asians being targeted verbally and on social media have been reported.

As the never-ending, vicious, blame-game cycle continues, we can all collectively agree on only one thing- that precious human lives are being lost. Not to overlook the monetary and morale loss.

With coronavirus, like any other calamity, as the severity intensifies, people tend to focus on the consequences and solutions rather than analysing the root cause.

Let’s rewind time to November 2019. What exactly did happen? What is the cause of this epidemic?

Since there is no direct answer to this question, let’s try analysing it using the elimination method.

The very first case was reported in China on the 17th of November 2019. That’s more than a month before the doctors started noticing cases in the infamous Wuhan.

A man wearing a protective face mask riding a scooter in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province. Photograph: STR/AFP via Getty Images

Back then, authorities suspected that the virus stemmed from something sold at the seafood market in the city. But this idea was ruled out within the next few days. 

Scientists now suspect that this coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, originated in a bat and somehow hopped to another animal, possibly the pangolin, which then passed it onto the humans. And now, the disease is spreading between people without any animal intermediary.

Scientists claim that the virus could still be circulating in the animal population and might again jump back to humans, ready to cause an outbreak in the future.

Time to bust some myths. No, coronavirus is not an evil Chinese lab theory. They did not let the virus escape to infect the western world. This persistent myth has been put to bed with facts and figures by renowned scientists in America. So, there should be no arguments here.

Do we have a cure yet? No, we do not have a specific medicine. Just keep washing your hands until you rip off whatever is left of your skin. Take rest, self- isolate and stay hydrated. That’s all for now.

Just when all roads were leading us to a dead-end, starling observations have been made.

Italy has had a vexing air-quality problem, particularly in the industrial Po Valley region where the coronavirus outbreak is at its worst. It has reduced drastically over the last two months.

Pollution levels in Italy. Photograph: Twitter

A near shutdown of cruise & cargo ship traffic around Venice has resulted in fishes returning to the lagoon and canals for the first time in decades. Italian media credits cleaner air and a lack of foot traffic for bloom in springtime flowers carpeting Rome’s urban parks, with patches of wildflowers growing to a size normally seen in May.

Wildflowers carpet a park adjacent to the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome. Photography: Bernhard Warner

One report has estimated that China’s greenhouse emissions over the past month are as much as a quarter below the normal levels. In Thailand and Japan, mobs of monkeys and deer are roaming across the streets now devoid of tourists.

Although the unintended air pollution decline because of the virus outbreak is just temporary, it offers a glimpse into how countries and corporations are equipped to handle the destructive climate crisis. The results have shown that we are terribly ill-prepared.

For years, scientists have urged world leaders to combat planet-warming emissions. Could the deadly virus be the earth’s way of warning us against a bigger calamity in the future? 

It wouldn’t be wrong after all, if I say that each one of us is responsible for this destructive pandemic. If the world recovers from the virus, it is vital that we start fighting against climate change.

It’s high time we start looking at the larger picture. One can only hope that this pandemic becomes a moment of mass awaking of our ability to have compassion for each other. 

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