Saadia's Side: The Coronavirus Has Been Declared a Pandemic: How Does One Cope?
The coronavirus has been declared a pandemic. In this blog Saadia Ahmed talks about how she is coping as an expat
Coronavirus has taken the entire world by storm. Coming from a country like Pakistan one is rarely scared of any global catastrophes. Seeing enough on a daily basis has made us fearless about our lives and well-being. While catching Coronavirus is still not a surety, we living in Pakistan went out for shopping even when there were terrorism threats hovering above our main cities. We are also of the belief that whenever the developed world cries about something it is not a big deal. We consider them to be sensitive to all little things because they do not come across the bigger issues.
Well, when Coronavirus broke out in Wuhan we thought nothing would happen. We were of the view that soon they will be able to handle the situation and also we believed that it could never reach us. You never realize how real adversity is until it hits you right in the face. Despite coming across the news of many people dying due to road accidents and diseases due to unhealthy lifestyles, we continue being where they are. Even the ‘Smoking is injurious to health’ note with a horrifying picture of a man with mouth cancer fails to scare us or in other words become careful.
Hence, Coronavirus did not have a different fate.
Although I lived in Australia and saw people around me panicking about the pandemic stocking up the toilet rolls, I was completely cool and calm about the entire situation. Nor did I wear a mask on the flights nor was I concerned with wiping my gym equipment with hand sanitizer before lifting the weights. There were continuous safety meetings in the offices. All major events were cancelled. Even the Farmer Market that was organized every Sunday near my home was there no more. The major supermarkets had empty cereal and long life milk racks.
People were preparing for the worst while I was still mocking them inside my head.
When my best friend messaged me from Seattle that she was feeling scared of the Coronavirus, I simply laughed her worry off. I mocked her asking if she would stop driving because there were road accidents. My friend went quiet and never discussed her Coronavirus woes with me again. One day, she accidentally told me about keeping some ample groceries in her pantry and my reaction was pretty much as per your expectations. I completely shunned and ridiculed her for being a ‘snowflake’. I even stereotyped her for being a typical American who panicked about everything that came from outside the US. I have no idea how she felt at that point in time. Nor did I care to know.
Until one day I realized that the panic surrounding Coronavirus was for real.
When I heard about UAE shutting down the schools earlier than usual and sending special aircraft to evacuate the Arab nationals from Wuhan China, something inside me told that things were changing. Saudi Arabia banned the Umrah visa which would never have happened under normal circumstances. It even suspended flights to many countries including India and Pakistan.
Even the famous actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson fell prey to the ruthless Coronavirus while shooting for a film in Australia.
Last but not the least, America decided to suspend the flights to and from Europe.
I started feeling worried now. I was also concerned about my upcoming holiday to Bali which could have been suffered a back gear had the travel restrictions due to Coronavirus not improved.
I knew that soon it would be one of the people I know personally and no more a story one does not even bother to read further because the sufferers are not related to us. It could be us. It could be any one of us. It was there for real.
What scared me more than anything else was foreseeing the future which would be impacted by the current scenario. With so many businesses being badly affected since the global economy was being affected and the travel ban for all the right reasons, I could sense that the impacts of the Coronavirus on the world economy would be far more devastating than those on the people’s health. While one could expect many people falling prey to it, there was a strong possibility that many would also escape it.
The mortality rate for Coronavirus is 2% which implies that not everyone suffering from Coronavirus would die but there is one thing for sure that poverty and hunger will end up killing many more. Sadly, it is one of those situations where the man can do nothing. Here is the point where the will of God proves to be superior to any mortal being and its self-proclaimed saviour strategies. However, we can still take the preventive measures and probably lessen the rapid spread of this virus.
But what might not be able to leave us for a long time is the economic devastation caused by the Coronavirus. Coming from a developing country, you always fear hunger more than a missile or a virus which is now a pandemic. We are resilient but still scared of hunger as we are aware of its impacts. May God protect and bless the ones in need and also the ones who might be in need someday. It is finally getting scary.