The Columbus Dispatch

COVID-19 not leaving, but ‘our purpose as a human race is to win’

- Your Turn Padma Sastry Guest columnist

Our civilized society went from a normal to an apocalypti­c state with no immediate recovery in sight, within a short period of time.

Life has changed in the past two years. A change that has gradually spread over our society, just like the COVID-19 virus we have come to know well.

Norms in our lives have been redefined and accepted. Simple activities that have been taken for granted for most of us are now considered favors that are received with gratitude.

Working from their homes, once a special accommodat­ion to a few who could not do without, is now normal to many workers.

The human ears have learnt to listen to muffled voices emanating through masks. Smiles or frowns peer above the ubiquitous mask line, revealed only by the eyes.

Remote classrooms replete with computer screens with multiple faces and often-muted voices have replaced traditiona­l learning in a brick and mortar building.

“Zoom” has become an endorsed verb now, no longer referring primarily to its original meaning.

That these changes are exhausting has not only limited our society in adapting but has increased our ability to assuage the challenges at an even faster pace.

Contrary to its diminutive size, the virus has played gigantic havoc, when it entered into this world. It has claimed millions of lives.

Gripping an essential organ, the lung, the virus has squeezed the breaths out, paralyzing many. It has ravaged across people, without discrimina­tion of age, gender or creed.

The trenches of hospitals have been gutted with massive voids of essentials, leaving bewildered medical caregivers. Travel was immobilize­d, global and domestic, in its tracks for months.

Inevitable massive lockdowns resulted in unemployme­nt, which soared like a rocket for most of this year. Companies scrambled to find innovative ways to abate economic losses as they shuttered their doors. Supply chains got disrupted beyond imaginatio­n, from customers to providers, and everything in between. The stock market swayed wildly in anticipati­on of the volatility of the dollar.

Our civilized society went from a normal to an apocalypti­c state with no immediate recovery in sight, within a short period of time. With no visible end in sight, the world looked helplessly as the virus raged across geographic­al borders, the number of infections growing by the hour and day, through seasons.

Until an exceptiona­l breakthrou­gh in modern science made it possible to confront the virus as it blazed through its warpath terrorizin­g the world.

Within months of its disruptive entry into of our universe, the scientific society retaliated by developing a vaccine designed to produce antibodies, the primary line of defense to fight the virus.

Historical­ly, what would have taken years of research, trials and approvals in developing a vaccine was proven wrong, with the rollout of the vaccine within months, to millions of people across the globe.

As much as the virus is rebirthing itself to rear its ugly head in different forms, we as a society have to believe that we are poised to fight it. In our relentless pursuit of scientific questionin­g, we are positioned to alleviate the fear and the uncertaint­y of the unknown.

More effective vaccines and anti-viral drugs to fight the disease are emerging, evidencing our faith in scientific knowledge, in getting us back on track to a much awaited and desirable future. A future where there is no fatigue, no frustratio­n and no anxiety. Where the Nobel Prizes will continue to reward brilliant minds of the world that bring forth the best for mankind.

Where the Grand Slams will continue to appease the spectators.

Where the golf courses will continue to be treaded on by eager players to watch their winning trajectori­es. Where the skies will again reverberat­e with the roar of the planes carrying millions of people in its belly.

I am no futurist when I question, “Will Omicron be the last alphabet in the genealogy of the virus?” “Will we identify future events as PRE-COVID and POST-COVID times?”

As an optimist, I affirmativ­ely believe so. Because, most of all, I believe our purpose as a human race is to win. Always.

Dublin native Padma Sastry serves as an adjunct faculty member at Ohio State University and Franklin University.

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