Remembering Covid 19

The present generation needs to go through the history of pandemics till date. The history of pandemics reveals that at least 10 different dreadful pandemics have miserably hit human population. The chronological order of these pandemics begins from Antonine plague, Black death, Small Pox, Cholera, Russian flu, Spanish flu,H3N2,HIV,SARS to COVID 19.What we need to remember is that at present We are currently in the midst of a pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus (a coronavirus)which so many people have read in biology books under the family of coronaviruses and although much havoc is being caused to human health worldwide.

Remembering Covid 19

The worst part of it is that human life and as well as  global economies has been hit tremendously and it is important to remember that pandemics are not new and have been a part of life for centuries. I am reminded of the flourishing ancient Greek civilisation in Athens which was then under the rule of Pericles, was badly hit by outbreak of plague during 5 century. Plague, which may look so simple stated its journey from 14century and extending into 16 and 17 century devastated almost a third of the population of Europe. This was the second plague pandemic. The outbreak in the 14th century was known colloquially as ‘the Black death’. Symptoms included fevers, malaise, and headaches.

The modified forms of plague were bubonic form resulted in swelling of the lymph nodes and another one was the pneumonic form affected respiratory tract and caused respiratory symptoms. European cities were also regularly affected. There have been recurring plague outbreaks which continued and extended throughout the 17th century and the outbreak in London in 1665 carried away heavy toll of life as much as 70,000 people lost their lives, However, statistics revealed that European cities were badly affected.

Today, the present generation can argue that there have been no recent pandemics of plague, still it is important to remember that outbreaks do occur from time to time and the disease is still endemic in several countries. Plague pandemic again raised its appearance in China in 1855, it was the third episode of plague and spread to India. Today, although there have been no recent pandemics of plague, it is important to remember that outbreaks do occur from time to time and the disease is still endemic in several countries. After thorough research and development, in 1894 the cause of plague was found to be a bacteria. Yersinia pestis, a bacteria was found to be causative agent of plague (named after the discoverer Dr Yersinia who was working at the Pasteur Institute) and today we need not get deterred by plague pandemic as we have antibiotic sin our armentariun to handle this pandemic and also a vaccine against this disease.

The outbreak of pandemics did not stop here and before we could have a sigh of relief, we had to handle Spanish flu pandemic, which came in two waves, infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide and caused up to 50 million deaths. It was highly infective and the mode of transmission was airborne. This pandemic started in 20 century in 1918 onwards and the majority of deaths were due to a secondary bacterial infection in the lungs. The pandemic was caused by the H1N1 influenza virus. This very virus did not allow humanity to sit at ease and the same virus was incidentally also the cause of the swine flu pandemic almost a century later. One of the unusual complications included sleeping sickness or encephalitis lethargica (Von Economou’s disease). It was during 1957 -1958 we saw the Asian flu pandemic. It originated in China and infected an estimated 500 million people with up to 4 million deaths. A ten-year period was somewhat relaxing. One day another outbreak of flu was seen a decade later in 1968.It originated in Hong Kong and took away heavy toll of life. Human population thought that pandemics have gone from ever from their live. It was during 2003 a SARS severe acute respiratory syndrome knocked at the door of Chinese people and this disease was also caused by a type of coronavirus.

The mode of carriers were civet cats who acted as intermediates and passed the SARS virus from bats to humans. Fortunately, the disease did not carry heavy toll of life and the estimated loss of life was no doubt 1o, 000.this very disease spread from China to Hong Kong, Singapore, USA, Canada. The symptoms were like other flues such as incidence of fever, cough etc. I think no vaccine has been produced to treat SARS.

It was during 2009 a dreadful pandemic broke out and spread all over the globe which killed as many as half a million people. It was none other than swine flu which infected more than one billion people and was caused by h1n1 influenza virus. Again, it originated from China. It was in 2019 COVID 19 pandemic outbreak originated from Wuhan city of China. The cause of the disease was confirmed as a new type of coronavirus and got spread from man to man all over the globe creating havoc everywhere and was declared a pandemic. So, fighting against Covid 19 was nothing less than fighting against World War II and it was an unseen enemy without any whereabouts. The infection spread for man to man like wild fire killing people spreading human suffering and upending peoples lives. The United States of America reported 5 lac cases within three months span of time. India also struggled to contain the virus and exploited every nerve and left no stone unturned to contain the virus.

Here you would be reminded of Janata Curfew, very important social experiments, ordered by Hon Prime Minister Modi to keep the virus at bay and putting the country under lock down for 21 days period in order to break the chain. The signs and symptoms of this infection which could be identified were fever, throat infection which could later on extend to respiratory tract that could aggravate the condition.Moreover,triggering factors were diabetes, compromised kidneys, lack of immunity etc.
Covid 19 has hit the world twice. The first wave was not that dreadful in terms of economic implications it caused in India at least. Secondly, it took away very little life, however that too can’t be encouraged as each and every human life is precious. The second wave proved to be highly devastating as it took away a heavy tool of life in India. This time symptoms of covid could not be identified as the virus straight away attacked and damaged lungs of the victims.

The victims were necessarily put on life saving support devices. Deaths were caused in every section of the society, every nook and corner of the country. How could covid 19 virus spare Kashmiri pandit community which has been living in exile in different parts of the country for the last 30 years now? Deaths and economic implications occurred among Kashmiri Pandit population living in various parts of the country such as mainly in Delhi, Jammu, Faridabad, Bangalore and even in Jaipur, Jodhpur. Kashmiri pandit organisations living abroad and in the country like Kashmir Overseas Association America, Canada, (KOA) Global Kashmiri Pandits Diaspora (GKPD) Gopinath Trust Jammu and Delhi and many more came forward to offer financial assistance, medical assistance and provided oxygen concentrators and other essential medical set up for the community members living in the aforesaid cities of the nation.

How could Kashmiri Pandit Visthapit Samiti Jaipur sit like passive spectator.
Kashmiri Visthapit Hindu Samiti Jaipur, (KVHS) also came forward bravely in these difficult times and kept a close watch on the pathetic situation the Kashmiri Pandit community was facing on account of covid 19 virus. Some members got hospitalised who needed medical assistance in terms of Covid beds, oxygen cylinders and medicine, whereas those who lost lives either on account of covid 19 or due to other illnesses struggled for getting the last rites of the deceased done at any cost. KVHS extended also possible help to Kashmiri Pandits who fell prey to covid 19 virus.

Medical Emergency Fund was created with the assistance of Kashmiri Pandits living in Jaipur to extend financial help to the needy. KVHS managed to get oxygen concentrators on account of joint venture of KOA and GKPD. Now the second wave has slightly eased and people could have a sigh of relief. No doubt, corona virus has not gone completely and no one can relax. Corona virus 19 has taught humanity certain lessons as well. May be in a years’ time we will perhaps be looking back on this pandemic and the human and economic devastation it caused, but you can rest assured that in all likelihood there will be another pandemic in the foreseeable future. 

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