Now, more than a full year after first hearing about this micro and indiscriminate Covid 19, we are for the first time not in utter despair but hopeful. Public health measures are still being enforced or highly recommended in most regions of the planet but now there is an additional layer to this global pandemic to offer us hope, vaccines. As quickly and incredibly as we were engulfed by this unthinkable health crisis there is now not one but actually multiple viable vaccines to perhaps lead us to the other side.
A vaccine this soon was just a pipe dream a year ago, stunningly here we are. Unfortunately, this is not before the nightmare and still counting of human tolls worldwide with significant social, economic, and developmental setbacks on almost every level in almost every region. The incredible void and unspeakable grief of a lost love one is profound for so many around the world. In addition, aside from affecting everything and anyone health care related the pandemic has also showcased society’s worse inequalities, injustice, inequities, faults and deficiencies.
If there were any doubts about society’s flaws, then it would be reasonable to expect the pandemic to indiscriminately impact every race, gender, social status, and age equally. The ugly reality is this is very far from the truth. Those at the bottom of the economic totem pole cannot work remotely but had to brave in person work environments, they are usually the ones living in congregate arrangements and hence bared the brunt of transmissions and deaths. While female workers did not even have the option of in person work as they suffered the bulk of job losses. Elderly in long term care homes are some of society’s most vulnerable in a robust environment, their vulnerability and precarious state are exponential in a pandemic as it woefully spotlight years of neglect and chronic underfunding in these facilities.
As expected, as a respiratory disease, individuals in the immunocompromised and pre-existing condition categories had sadly suffered the full wrath of the pandemic. While other marginalized and unwitting victims continued to stack up, including migrant agricultural workers, employees of slaughter houses, and inmates of correctional centres. The pandemic left no stones unturned in finding every crack in our system from each vantage points and made sure we are painfully aware of all these fractures in our society.
Far more than a life altering front and centred public health crisis, Covid is not the only one examined microscopically. It also incited the need to assign culpability to stakeholders in our less than ideal societal structure. It demanded corporate accountability through actions and decisions of executives as well as politicians’ responsibilities and policies to their constituents on hypocrisy, racial, and gender politics. Another possible unintended consequence of Covid are placing politics and public issues under greater and more acute scrutiny as societal intolerances intensify.
However, it is not all about necessary accountability to enact the ethical, compassionate and courageous. These fully engaged participants and some of the true heroes in the era of Covid 19 are the front line health care practitioners. Their heroism shined through without doubt, ambiguity or ambivalence. They selflessly executed their Hippocratic Oath and other similar pledges to protect their patients. They are the ones calling out, battling day and night, putting it all on the line in the name of humanity, medicine and duty.
Covid has stirred up too many fallouts, too many lessons, will we learn, be better prepared, and can we patch up some of society’s visible crevices? Will we operate well in the anticipated post Covid’s New Normal when it arrives? For now, vaccine nationalism, and cancel cultures are not facilitating an overly optimistic moment. Will we fully appreciate the pushing of the reset bottom, will we treasure a second chance, it all remains to be seen.
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