Panic soars as pandemic roars

Panic soars as pandemic roars

Parvez Jamil

Snags in covid information, caring and sharing loom large the world over across villages, towns, cities, countries and continents. We in Pakistan are subject to utter confusion,  chaos and complication about covid information, treatment and rehabilitation.

Vaccine-related misinformation hamper progress toward vaccine-induced herd immunity and could increase number of infections related to new COVID-19 variants. Knowing  vaccine hesitancy through lens of social media is of paramount importance.

Fake news is very high miguiding. www.covid.gov.pk  restricts spread of fake news. It gives updates on number of cases in the country. It has a ‘Myths about COVID-19’ section, for example, virus  stops by eating garlic and that it is transmitted by mosquito bites.

Most confusing for public in Pakistan is information on type of accessible and acceptable covid vaccines available  when and where. More puzzling is question of the booster dose of same vaccine taken before in two doses or a different type of vaccine may be used as a booster dose.

Doctors, experts, administrators and authorities the world over, including Pakistan, are unable to provide simple and  clear answers on public concerns and confidence-building on covid.  As such the public is left in a lurch amid vociferous alarms of sheer helplessness.

Meanwhile WHO reports as of December 12, 2021 there were 89,731,587 cases of COVID-19 across  Europe. UK is worst-affected with 10,819,515, followed by Russia with 10,046,454. Turkey and France each have about nine million and 8.2 million respectively.

Confusion on the  deadly Omicron!!! Not clear  Omicron is transmissible (e.g., more easily spread from person to person) than other variants, including Delta.  People testing positive are in areas of South Africa affected by a variant, but not clear if it is all due to omicron.

Not clear  Omicron is deadlier than  other variants, including Delta.   Increasing rates of hospitalization in South Africa may be due to increasing  numbers infected than  infection with Omicron.  No clue that symptoms of Omicron are different from other variants of the deadly virus.

Omicron is more mysterious and malicious than any other form of covid humanity experience. Knowing its severity will take days to weeks even more! All variants of COVID-19, including Delta variant, is dominant worldwide to cause severe disease or death as prevention continues to be key.

Omicron is reported in cities of Karachi and Lahore in Pakistan. GoP clues cases of COVID-19 are expected to rise in the country.  Feared is peak of fifth wave of COVID-19 soon for people to take precautions and get vaccinated with booster dose, as and when recommended.

It is for leadership to manage public information, clear public doubts, remove public dreads, build public confidence, coordinate and interact with national and international agencies and organizations on treatment and rehabilitation of the covid patients.

BUT of  real utmost importance is how people understand and prioritize precautions for pandemic in its fatal forms. There is pressing need for sanitizing, wearing masks, physical distancing, hygienic conditions, affordable immunitizing diet, pandemic safe and secured livelihood.

So vital is to stay happy and healthy during horrors of Covid, even when quarantined. It is physical distancing, not social distancing. Interact, enjoy and share happiness with family, friends, colleagues, neighbors and the world on internet, mobile, radio, TV, tel., cable, social media.

The writer, a senior faculty in business management and corporate communication, contributes to media on national and international affairs.

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