Nature has given us countless opportunities to learn from its blessings as well as calamities. We, humans, have been discarding many of those opportunities into the dustbin for ages. We only care for short-term benefits.
And we, Pakistanis, are experts in thinking, doing, and creating ‘shortcuts’ for everything in life. But in the present day, we are facing the coronavirus pandemic. And we got to learn some crucial lessons from the monster outbreak.
These lessons are not only for the government but also for an individual Pakistani. The business industry must also come forward in this regard, for it cannot thrive in pandemic-like situations.
1. Put an end to infodemic.
The world has become a battlefield because of loads of misinformation, fake news, and conspiracy theories. In Pakistan, the situation is even worse. Where there is more uncertainty, there are more rumors. That’s why the new coronavirus gave rise to loads of wrong information about the COVID-19. Some ‘WhatsApp uncles’ came out suggesting garlic and steaming prevent the novel coronavirus. Others denied the very existence of this virus. I heard a man saying to another that eating a chicken would ‘flush’ away all the coronaviruses from your body.
The awful behavior is not limited to common people; many so-called qualified individuals also came up with their stupid theories. For example, a former Pakistani ambassador to the UN, Abdullah Hussain Haroon, claimed that the new coronavirus is man-made with the help of the UK, US, and Israel. The only evidence he gave was some dates and non-existent patent numbers. Pakistanis tend to trust a dude who speaks against these countries, including India. Our mainstream media must also expose such conspiracy theories, fake news, and misinformation. But sometimes, it plays the exact opposite role. Truth be told, infodemic is more hazardous than a pandemic.
2. Babas and peers cannot cure your disease.
In a country like Pakistan, you must have come across the fact that people believe that their ‘babas and peers’ cure diseases and prevent calamities. On the personal ground, I have no issue with their beliefs, of course. But if babas and peers can cure any disease, why do they do something about the COVID-19? The fact is that some people get cured because of immunity or some medicines. It’s a fact. That was the belief. I hope you understand the difference between the two, by now.
3. Invest more in the defense system of Pakistan
Yes, we got to change our priorities. We need to invest more in the defense system of Pakistan. But that defense must be against diseases and climate change. We must know that our army cannot fight the microscopic enemies of humanity. And we are, now, more vulnerable to climate change and pandemic than ever. We have failed in testing maximum people for the novel coronavirus. Thus, we don’t even know the exact number of people infected with the virus.
The government must appreciate and invest in students of science and technology. We must ensure to have top-notch Artificial Intelligence technology to help us in many areas of life. We could create critical personal protective equipment with the help of 3D printing and AI. But unfortunately, we are far from even thinking about changing our priorities. The lesson learned from this pandemic is that we must invest in improving the healthcare system of our country.
4. “Kuch Nahi Hota” is more deadly than ever.
“Nothing happens” or “Kuch Nahi Hota” is our national slogan. We are a careless bunch of people. Or maybe, we have faced so much of terrorism in the past that we don’t seem to care much about any calamity now. As Ghalib says, “Mushkilain Mujh Par Padi Itni K Aasaan Ho Gayein,” meaning “So many difficulties fell upon me that everything became easy.” But things do not happen this way in the real world. You have to be proactive and careful about the possible loss. When the novel coronavirus outbreak exploded, we thought nothing would happen to us. And our thoughts backfired us.
The government of Pakistan initiated the lockdown, and we were able to control the spread of the deadly virus in the earlier days. The number of cases appearing was between 100 and 500 approximately. Now, that lockdown loosens, people are more careless than before. The number of coronavirus cases hiked more than ever. Most recently, on May 1, 2020, there were 1297 coronavirus cases reported in just one day. And yet, no-one cares. Even the media is tired of talking about the virus nowadays. “Kuch Nahi Hota” is more deadly than ever. You need to stand up against those people around you who are of the view that nothing happens.
5. Control your population now or die in dismay
The coronavirus pandemic taught us that overpopulation is not linked to the planet only; rather, it has a deep connection with human diseases as well. We always love to think we will be ‘protected’ even when the planet has been destroyed. That’s our deepest fantasy. More population means more poverty and more challenging situations to tackle emergencies. Our PM has said many times that the country cannot afford lockdown because of poverty.
And that’s true. Less population is a guarantee for an advanced healthcare system and a better lifestyle. It’s almost impossible to control outbreaks in an overpopulated country.
Author: Abdul Rauf