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A Big salute to COVID Warriors

A Big salute to COVID Warriors

Novel SARS-CoV-2 has slapped the world with a pandemic of a magnitude never witnessed in a century [1]. The whole world is under a complete lockdown. There is a prevalent sense of fear and insecurity. The global economy collapses [2], international travel ceases, streets deserted, and people locked into their homes. Under such tragic times, a set of people, termed COVID Warriors continue their work with added zeal and enthusiasm. Submitted here are my thoughts to acknowledge their contribution in such trying times.

In a country as vast and diverse as India, availability of physicians per capita is well behind global average [3]. Under complete lockdown when Indian middle class was sitting at the comfort zone working from home, medical professionals worked day in day out in profused sweating condition wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits [4].

When the world is on standstill, exhibiting the highest level of compassion, one senior resident doctor from AIIMS, New Delhi did not think twice before removing his PPE arsenal to re-intubate a critical coronavirus patient [5]. The news of health workers coming home for a cup of tea outside their homes without being able to hug their loved ones sends chills down the spine [6]. One cannot thank them enough for discharging their duties.

‘Desperate times require desperate measures.’ Whole world community looked up to the scientists to deliver the vaccines at the earliest. Dr Anthony Fauci leading the USA’s fight against the pandemic became a household name advocating policies and administrating proper funding. Scientific community tasked with the greatest responsibility presents the best possible gift for the new year 2021; the COVID-19 vaccine [7]. Researchers have again rescued the world with several vaccines of varying efficacies passing phased clinical trials and having a translational impact from bench to bedside. Following the USA, Israel, UK, and others [8], India has also approved its indigenous vaccines to be administrable in 2021 [9]. Interestingly, the most googled word in the year 2020 was Coronavirus [10]. More people were familiar with RT-PCR, a molecular biology technique mostly confined within the laboratories.

News correspondents and journalists deserve applause for bringing the timely updates pertaining to the pandemic. To nurture a mutually exclusive civil society, maintenance of law and order is a must. Police staff enforced the laws of the land and effectuated their duties. Huge credit goes to hawkers, delivery persons, transporters, and shopkeepers who ensured the continued supply of essentials in the face of rampant COVID-19. There were numerous COVID warriors in addition to these, who stayed late at work so that the world could stay at home. A big salute to them all.

 

Also, we shall remember the time when the Indian media was shedding tears over suicide and nabbing the framed culprit, there were medical professionals executing their duties relentlessly. Imperfect coordination of migrant workers leaving for their homes exposed our hypocrisy as a society and the severe contrast in the working class [11]. Wish, these tragedies could have been avoided.

As a country, India became Atmanirbhar in PPE kits & N95 masks during the pandemic itself [12]. Together we have made it possible. Indigenous pharmaceutical and vaccines industry is blooming [13, 14]. We ought to be grateful to the white coat warriors. As Manoj Mutashir Ji wrote, ‘Sarhad pe jo wardi khaki thi, Ab uska rang safed hua.’

Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Sarve Santu Niramayaḥ!

 

© Tryambak Srivastava

Footnotes:

  1. Responding to Covid-19 — A Once-in-a-Century Pandemic? | NEJM https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmp2003762
  2. COVID-19’s economic fallout will long outlive the health crisis, report warns https://unctad.org/news/covid-19s-economic-fallout-will-long-outlive-health-crisis-report-warns
  3. Physicians (per 1,000 people) | World Health Organization’s Global Health Workforce Statistics, OECD, supplemented by country data https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.MED.PHYS.ZS
  4. https://twitter.com/drsfaizanahmad/status/1297866078710665218?s=20
  5. AIIMS doctor removes safety gear, risks life to save COVID-19 patient https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/aiims-doctor-removes-safety-gear-risks-life-to-save-covid-19-patient/article31552814.ece
  6. https://twitter.com/ChouhanShivraj/status/1244879959908204546?s=20 
  7. Celebrating the Gift of COVID-19 Vaccines https://directorsblog.nih.gov/2020/12/22/celebrating-the-gift-of-covid-19-vaccines/
  8. Which countries are leading the way on Covid vaccinations? https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/covid-vaccine-compare-countries-numbers-rollout-immunity-b1782551.html
  9. India’s Wait Over, Drug Regulator Says Covid Vaccines Cleared “110% Safe” https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/oxford-covid-19-vaccine-bharat-biotechs-covaxin-get-final-approval-by-drug-regulator-will-be-indias-first-vaccines-2347053
  10. Google’s Year in Search – https://trends.google.com/trends/yis/2020/GLOBAL/
  11. Coronavirus lockdown | Image of a weeping Rampukar Pandit becomes symbol of India’s migrant worker tragedy https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rampukars-tears-shock-humanity/article31609524.ece
  12. India’s successful journey to self-sufficiency in PPE kits https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/healthcare/biotech/healthcare/indias-successful-journey-to-self-sufficiency-in-ppe-kits/articleshow/78658109.cms
  13. India to play vital role in equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world: Pharma industry https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/india-to-play-vital-role-in-equitable-distribution-of-covid-19-vaccines-around-the-world-pharma-industry/article33430054.ece
  14. India will supply coronavirus vaccines to the world — will its people benefit? https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02507-x
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