“He is no more,” read Gehna’s message, informing about the saddening and shocking demise of our 35-year-old colleague Dr. Vinayak Gupta. This was the closest Covideath I had heard of. The news sent a chill down my spine and reminded me of ‘Covid versus Goliath’, my Article published last year.
I had concluded the Article by predicting, “It’s only a matter of time before a vaccine is developed. A bit of patience and farsightedness, and this Covid versus Goliath is bound to go in favour of Goliath.” We almost proved the prediction right at the beginning of 2021.
We patiently braved the longish lockdown and came very close to approving the vaccines. In tennis terms, we were not just serving for the match, but also held a couple of match points. However, we have squandered it all at least for the time being. No wonder I had published the Article on the Fool’s Day.
Not just one; but close to a dozen vaccines have been developed successfully since then. But sadly, we have failed miserably in developing common sense. We could not overcome our acromegaly, the disorder that led to Goliath growing extremely tall but also developing severe near-sightedness, causing his instantaneous defeat at the hands of the tiny David. There is no doubt that by prematurely declaring and celebrating our victory over Covid, we counted our chickens before they hatched.
“In a pandemic, not everyone dies of the disease; many die of the fear of the disease,” Osho suggests in one of his sermons. In complete contrast, we seem to have thrown caution to the wind and gone on with our lives fearlessly post the lockdown, as if Covid was a mere figment of imagination.
Unfortunately, it is the unsuspecting innocents like Dr. Vinayak, who are now paying the price of our collective stupidity and becoming mere numbers in ‘Excess mortality’, a term referring to ‘the number of deaths from all causes during a crisis, above and beyond what we would have expected to see under normal conditions.’
The fairly low Covid fatality rate was not low enough to save young Dr. Vinayak, simply because the denominator is overflowing with Covidiots unable to even keep their masks firmly on. Forget about the oxygen; according to a Financial Times story, “So dire is the onslaught that it has sparked shortage of wood for the pyres” in Varanasi.
While I may not have blatantly flouted the Covid appropriate behaviour, I must confess that I did visit malls and restaurants post the lockdown, much against the wishes of my family. I co-own a restaurant and I probably felt morally obliged to support the stressed businesses. As we all mourn the departure of Dr. Vinayak, the question that haunts me today is, “Have I also been a Covidiot?”
We can deal with the governments separately when the time comes for it. In the meantime, let us all question ourselves first.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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