COVID 19-Past Present and the Future Focus on the poor

This was not what I had in mind to write this time. With the whole world focused on this disease, I thought of sharing my thoughts on this disease.

This disease has caught the whole world by surprise. Economic plans, travel plans, marriage plans, educational plans have all gone awry. The pace at which it started in China and then Iran and Europe and finally the US is unthinkable. Who expected the US to wilt under this virus so badly with no control whatsoever?

I really do not have to say much about the past. You have all been fed with up to date information regarding how and where it all started. Interestingly one of my classmates shared the information from a novel written about forty years ago.

It is entitled, ‘The Eyes of Darkness’ written by Dean Koontz. The description is precisely close to what actually happened. Wuhan is mentioned in the story. Did someone actually follow upon the novel? I’ll leave it there about the past.

The present is filled with uncertainty. Never have we seen all trains cancelled in India for five weeks running. In the past, even with the most major natural calamities, the Indian Railways would always have earmarked trains that connected the major cities.

Once I traveled from Kolkata to Chennai through Tatanagar, Nagpur, Guntakal and Arakonam due to severe floods in Andhra. This was the only train that operated that day.

We have heard of lockouts but never a lock down. Major parts of the world are under lock down. You know the frightening numbers of infected and the deaths. They need no repeating.

It has changed our human behavior. This evening I behaved in the most un-Indian manner. A neighbor came to pick up something. I made him stand outside and talked and gave him the materials without allowing him to come inside.

It is the future that is important. How will we face the future? First of all, I would like to look at what has been predicted as the likely and potential scenario emerging from the aftermath of this disease.

Recently in a prayer meeting one of the speakers mentioned a few of the different after effects of this pandemic, as points for prayer.  As you read you may feel that it requires no super knowledge. 

  1. Economic effects on the poor. The harsh realities of the effect on the economy are clear. But how would the poor especially the migrants manage?
  2. Bio terrorism. Terrorist would find this a valuable weapon in their warfare.
  3. Psychological and mental issues
  4. Loneliness during lock down
  5. Army could be brought in if uncontrollable
  6. More deaths – orphans and the vulnerable would increase- as with HIV/AIDS
  7. Wars could erupt

Of all these, my concern and focus is on the poor in every country. As millions have lost jobs, even if the economy starts returning to normalcy the poor are going to find it difficult to get back their jobs reasonably fast.

Those whom God has blessed with sufficient resources should identify ways in which they could help the poor in their vicinity and neighborhood, either individually or through organised groups and associations.

Food and livelihood are the two most important needs of the poor that must be addressed immediately. Open your hands wide and help the poor whenever you can and wherever you are.

I am happy to be part of an organisation that is planning ahead for the next three years as this is what they anticipate would require to get the economy back on its wheels for the poor.

Immediately – food, then-livelihood and then long-term rehabilitation with resilience. They have valuable experience from implementing rehabilitation programs after the tsunami of 2004. They anticipate this after math of COVID 19 is going to be similar.

Keep safe distance. Wash hands with soap and water. Wear mask while going outside always till the end of the pandemic. Remember the poor. Help them in whatever way you can. May God bless you and keep you safe from COVID 19.

Published by rajaratnamabel

Having completed my undergraduate medical education from Christian Medical College, Vellore, India. Then I had the privilege of completing my Master of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA. I could also complete my PhD in Chennai, India. Based on my extensive work in nutrition backed by a number of scientific publication, I also received the Fellowship of the International College of Nutrition (FICN). I retired from active service in 2005. Since then God enabled me to be a Consultant Public Health Physician, at the SUHAM Trust of the DHAN Foundation in Madurai. I am involved in providing community based health care support to a large number Self Help Groups in 14 Indian states.

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