©Dr. Digbijoy Choudhury
"It was the best of times".
"A new vaccine has been discovered".
The headlines on the newspaper front page screamed. Every tv channel was covering the breaking news.
The tv news anchor was smiling, as she announced the news. The sense of dread, the air of gloom had lifted, you could almost feel the buzzing energy. People were celebrating, out on the streets, although with a little caution, taking care not to take off their masks, keeping their distance from each other.
Well, you couldn't blame them.
The first case started way back, in January. It was slow, at first. Few people turning up sick, in emergency rooms, in doctors' chambers. Gradually, their numbers increased. The doctors reported the spike at first, suspecting a new viral spread. The deaths spiked. The old and immunocompromised were the worst affected. The government tried to hide it at first, but you couldn't hide a spread of this magnitude, not for long.
Before long, many other countries were affected. "Coronavirus", they named it, after the sun-ray like appearance of the virus.
The government imposed a nation-wide lockdown. But it wasnt really necessary. People were afraid of going out at all. If anyone happened to cough or sneeze anywhere, they were picked up by the police and sent to an isolation facility. If they recovered, fine. If they didn't, not even their family members got to bid goodbye to them.
The situation worsened, as expected. The world health organization tried its best to control the situation, to give adequate warnings, but it failed miserably in its task.
Hospitals overflowed with critical and sick patients. Those with mild disease were outright refused admission and sent home. Even the doctors and healthcare professionals started falling sick. Many lost their lives. Such was the panic that many landowners refused entry to doctors and nurses into their rented apartments.
"It was the worst of times."
Food supplies dried up. Prices skyrocketed. The economy crashed. The prime minister tried his best to give economic support to the worst affected, the poor migrant workers, but it was way less than needed. Sick children, sick adults, everywhere, it was a nightmare. There was no treatment in sight. Some researchers in Germany, started working desperately, in search of a vaccine, which would halt this virus.
Fast forward to today...
The elusive vaccine has finally been discovered.
A process which usually takes 5-10 years to complete, has been done in no more than 4 months. It was a miracle!
The long night seemed to be over. Dawn was coming...but the intelligent ones knew it was too early to celebrate.
A long road lay ahead before it could be administered in all of the world's population.