Curtains for Corona? | Daily News

Curtains for Corona?

News of the discovery of a potential vaccine that would prevent the infection of the Coronavirus, no doubt, will be received with much jubilation by the world community and leaders of countries where the contagion is widespread. Countermeasures against the virus had proved largely unsuccessful, leading to large-scale deaths and economic devastation.

The American Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has now announced that its research and experiments had, at last, paid off, with the unearthing of a vaccine that could be the  answer to the long drawn misery across communities the world over. World leaders and medical experts who had been hitherto groping in the dark for a solution to the monumental health crisis that was claiming lives in their tens of thousands have already acclaimed this breakthrough.

The discovery will nevertheless be initially viewed with circumspection by experts and medical authorities who had travelled this road before only to come unstuck when hopes of a permanent solution failed to materialize. This time though hopes have been raised, with the vaccine said to be available for use by the end of the year. Still, it will be some time yet before it could be in use across the board after undergoing mandatory local testing in countries such as Sri Lanka. This is aimed at eliminating the risk of complications.

Nevertheless, the new development would be grasped by world leaders who have been striving to combat the virus since its early outbreak in January this year, resorting to measures such as curfews and lockdowns to save their populations while at the same time suffering severe economic backlashes.

The development of a new vaccine also could not have been more timely given dire forecasts by the World Health Organization (WHO) that the pandemic would last for another two years. It would be everyone’s  hope, therefore, that the vaccine would come to the rescue thus sparing the world an agonizing two year wait while the body count keeps climbing.

The breakthrough will be received with understandable relief by the Sri Lankan public and leaders, who have been battling the virus through various measures, with a Herculean effort by the Health and Security Forces and Police personnel. It also could have not come at a more convenient time for Sri Lanka when its health workers, Security Forces and Police are being stretched to the limit in their thankless mission to contain the virus and at the same time, keep day-to-day life going.  

For the moment, though, every precaution should be taken, as is being done at present, to bottle in the virus and prevent its expansion and the detection of clusters that, on the face of it, are having a ripple effect. The advent of a vaccine is thus no cause to drop one’s guard. To begin with, there is yet no knowing its efficacy in different parts of the world that is conditioned by factors such as climate, immune levels and other physical factors.

Hence, the instructions and advice proffered by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for eternal vigilance by the public and re-emphasizing the need for following the health guidelines and conforming to the “New Normal” concept should be adhered to by the public in all seriousness. The President has rightly decided against resorting to a countrywide lockdown even though the cases keep mounting, and for good reason. As mentioned, with the WHO forecasting a further two-year span for the Coronavirus, there is no alternative other than learning to live with the pandemic. A lockdown means a closure of the economy and community life indefinitely, which cannot be an option. The public at larger should take to heart their responsibilities and commitments in this respect in adapting to the new realities.

Meanwhile, the new vaccine to effectively combat the Coronavirus could not have come at a better time for America’s President-elect Joe Biden who had already set up a special Task Force comprising the cream of American health experts to evolve a solution.

Biden placed tackling the Coronavirus his number one priority upon assuming office which he said would be achieved through a scientific vision. The pandemic, no doubt, was the chief cause for the defeat of incumbent Donald Trump at the November 3 Presidential Election, the results of which the latter continues to challenge.

It would be rough justice, indeed, if Trump, who treated the pandemic in a cavalier fashion, were to be eventually checkmated through the discovery of a vaccine that will bring to end the most telling factor that inflicted the greatest damage on his Presidential fortunes. 

However, having garnered nearly 70 million votes and with an intention to throw his hat to the ring again come 2024 and in a scenario where the Coronavirus will be history (hopefully) President Trump could well be in the reckoning for yet another stint in the White House.