Lessons learnt, unlearnt or re-learnt? Analyzing the third wave of COVID-19

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Fatima Irshad, a nineteen year old, second year medical student currently enrolled in Sheikh Zayed Medical College, Pakistan. She is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

The ongoing worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has been around for over a year. It hit different places at varying times, showed a sharp soar followed by a decline. And then it hit again, with more potential and fatality. Humans died. Humans suffered. Humans recovered. Humans paid. The question is: did humans learn?

The pandemic became a worldwide phenomenon and topic of interest, when it was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. It took a lot of time to understand and assess the gravity of the situation, but eventually one thing became clear; there was a need to save the world. The recipe of safety from a disaster was laid out. Wearing a mask, social distancing, hygiene maintenance, the need for vaccine preparation, were all made significantly clear and infact,  mandatory in places and countries who took the hint soon enough. The healthcare sector became fully active. Travel restrictions came about. Work was reduced to online mediums. Thousands of people were lost to the pandemic and millions suffered.

Truth be told, lessons were learnt. When the third wave came about, the virus was not a vague and ignored phenomenon. Healthcare sector was already in its full working form. They were well informed on the disease, its symptoms, potential and after-effects.

Awareness wasn’t  needed. Its  application was. Quarantine was relatively an easier pill to digest. As instructed by their governments, masks were made mandatory and the masses cooperated in social distancing, responding more quickly this time. Travel was limited to extreme necessity. People were quick to report and get tested if they felt symptoms or had traveled.

Many governments took responsible decisions at the right time and saved their people from a worse fate. There were lucky countries who had already started their vaccination drives, currently in full swing.

Another truth to be told, this one bitter and unfortunate, some lessons failed. While many governments took timely appropriate measures, others failed to do so. Social distancing was forgotten. A general lack of awareness of the severity prevailed this time. The general public failed to educate itself.

The pandemic hadn’t ended, but the capacity of healthcare facilities did. This is especially true for third world countries and those with a large, dense population. Naturally, chaos followed. An example can be found in Southeast Asia, India, where lack of oxygen cylinders took thousands of lives in quick succession.

In essence, the world learnt both responsibility and the consequences of a lack. The pandemic waves were bound to hit but the reception varied across the globe, as did the response. There are various examples of great leadership, impeccable management, sacrifice for the good of people, and synergistic behaviour. At the same time, it’s fair to say some lagged behind, clearing the high-ground for the virus to return and destruct. It is now a matter of time and a continuous united, passionate and extraordinary forefront to ensure control, vaccinate and free the world of the pandemic.

About the author

Fatima Irshad is a nineteen year old, second year medical student currently enrolled in Sheikh Zayed Medical College, Pakistan. She is highly active in medical awareness campaigns and is also associated with IFMSA-Pakistan. As an aspiring medical professional and occasional writer, she deems it an honour to express her views and advocate for rightful causes in the field of medicine through way of literary expression.

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