Bill Gates has predicted it. He predicted a possible pandemic outbreak back in 2015 and now he is predicting that the next six months might just be the worst case scenario where COVID-19 is concerned. Don’t trust only in his techno-giz ability. He along with wife Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet runs the biggest philanthropic organization in the world worth US$ 47bn and he probably has been at the center of mind-boggling, cutting-edge latest news and updates on public health because the charity puts money in real-time research and the world’s finest minds including health professionals.
So, is Bhutan prepared? How well? As far as current trend and statistics go, we saw an explosion of sorts in the number of COVID-19 cases detected in the capital and Paro recently. But it was better late than never. It would be difficult to comprehend how things would have fared if the index community transmission case had not checked at a flu clinic. Bhutan was very fortunate. More so because of the fact, that the authorities acted swiftly and after imposing a three-day lockdown in Thimphu on December 20 declared a nationwide lockdown till the New Year and Nyilo are over.
We saw that people did face inconveniences but the systems and services were once again put into place and the public actually cooperated better during the second lockdown. Maybe there were less complaints as well. Except for a few perennial nuisance-makers on social media who despite what science states started to diss the necessity of lockdowns and the use of facemasks.
They went on record to say that such “inhuman” rules do not work. Well, if the goal was to save people from the virus and cause less deaths and human suffering, these self-acclaimed experts on the COVID should define their idea of humanity.
In fact, because of such fake news and unruly behavior on social media, misinformation spreads and people can turn rebellious. Not every provocative or radical statement need be true. Believe what science and research says. People too often trust alternative views and conspiracy theories disregarding the fact that mainstream information is most of the time culled from long years of research and by well-informed and qualified experts.
And indeed, right now, a cause for concern is that the virus seems to have developed new strains that are more transmissible by nature though not necessarily more fatal. In England, a new strain was detected that is 70% more transmissible than the COVID-19 and it reportedly originated from South Africa.
The leaders are greatly concerned and the authorities are putting up a brave fight. They are with the general public against the battle against the virus. While necessity might put us under strain and inconvenience, if we are thinking about the greater good, it would bode well for everybody to comply with the rules. They are not imposing lockdowns and asking us to wear face masks because they like being dictatorial or enjoy it. It is just that they are concerned. About public health and safety. And Bhutan with a small population and closed borders can definitely benefit from these regulations. Not to mention, we can face a national crisis if we rebel. Also, we can always ask for help.
Should we believe in science-based research, or hearsay-the opinions of a select few who apart from being reckless about their own health are least concerned about protecting others’?
The choice lies up to the individual. Don’t live (or worst, die) to regret it.