Human Solidarity In Navigating COVID-19 Uncertainty
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COVID-19 was brought upon us much like a nuclear warfare that none of us were prepared for. We saw our neighboring countries get affected, and how, but ignored signs of the way the virus spread and if or not we, as a nation, with the highest population density were susceptible and vulnerable to the virus.
Memento mori. We are mortal. Humans often forget that. James Lovelocke, a renowned scientist, conceptualized Gaya as a theory of the Earth being a self-sustaining organism that corrects itself and is, therefore, immortal. The winner always stands alone. If only we were more cognizant of our mortality and the mighty Earth and its underlying self-corrective mechanisms, we would have perhaps been more prepared for this situation, or would have avoided it altogether.
Having said that, humanity has responded with characteristic resilience.
It is really wonderful how much resilience there is in human nature. Let any obstructing cause, no matter what, be removed in any way, even by death, and we fly back to first principles of hope and enjoyment.
—Bram Stoker, author of Dracula
In order to break the chain, we have put several measures in place including social distancing, intelligent or complete lockdown, civil call of duty of all citizens, healthcare professionals responding to the crises with brevity and agility, police officials ensuring the implementation of legislative laws, making masks mandatory, frequent sanitization and avoidance of any form of human contact as much as is feasible.
However, the most striking feature of the crises has been the solidarity with which the entire world has responded to the crises. Nothing begets unlikely collaboration like an unprecedented global crisis.
Below are some solid examples that will reinstate your faith in humanity and its resilience to overcome all triumph, hand-in-hand and heads standing tall above their shoulders, in their race to beat the virus at its own game.
Apple and Google Scientists Work Together
Apple and Google have joined hands to devise a software that tracks the spread of the virus by telling users if they’ve contacted an infected person. This software and application will be synced together and uncharacteristically of the two rival companies, be jointly available on both Android and iOS.
Big Philanthropy Unites
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced an additional funding of $150 million that brings their total commitment so far to more than $250 million. The Gates Foundation has also announced the Covid-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, by joining forces with Mastercard to support startups that are dedicated to solving the crises. Back home, The Tata Trust has committed INR 1,000 crore to tackle COVID-19. Mahindra and Mahindra has ramped up support for relief by ramping up wholesale production of face shields and Private Protection Equipment in the existing manufacturing plants.
The US, Israel, and now Mauritius and Seychelles have quickly received as part of COVID-19 consignment, from India, supplies of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). The anti-malarial drug is now used to treat COVID-19 patients with effective outcomes. Although its effectiveness is not conclusive but anecdotal, the speculation is large enough for pharma companies such as Zydus, Ipca and Lupin to ramp up their production of the drug in huge quantities for export and use for testing in India. Niti Aayog is active as a think tank and testing kits are being made more efficient through trials. Door-to-door testing and other such measures are being discussed by world leaders all over.
Billionaires Come Forward
Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter has donated about a quarter of his $3.9 billion net worth. Bill Gates has committed $105 million, Azim Premji pledged $132 million. Several others such as Ralph Lauren, and Mukesh Ambani have pledged efforts to combat the virus in lieu of the gravitas of the situation. Several CEOs such as Vijay Shekhar Sharma of Paytm, and Ritesh Aggarwal of OYO have given up their salaries to sustain their companies, and to ensure their employees’ aren’t gravely affected by the pandemic.
NGOs Collaborate For COVID-19 Response
Pratham’s Mumbai Food Project, Zomato’s Feeding India, Mahila Saksham’s Ration for ALL, Goonj’s efforts towards long-term rehabilitation of daily wagers and Akshaya Patra, in close collaboration with state and central governments, has provided food and dry ration to millions daily.
While the pandemic is a situation that has caused grave tragedy to the lives of over 1,800,000 and rising; it is indeed heartening to see humanity come together to fight the crisis in solidarity, with collaboration and in order to triumph over the worst of times. This too is surmountable and as cliche, as it may sound, it shall pass.