recent situation of COVID-19 worldwide
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This article is written by Kushang, a student from Himachal Pradesh National Law University (HPNLU). This article talks about the present situation of the COVID-19 in the world with a special emphasis on the worst affected countries and the countries which successfully contained the coronavirus. The article also briefs about the future ahead for the world.

Introduction

“The Year 2020 would go down in global history as one of the worst periods in mankind” Such has been the impact of COVID-19, the disease which emerged from the Wuhan city of China in December 2019. The pandemic as termed by WHO has affected millions of people and is still affecting people globally. Its high infectious nature has led people to change their lifestyles. The way people socialize, the way people work, the way people enjoy everything has changed since the pandemic came into the world. It has become important to analyze the present situation prevailing in the world in fighting the pandemic. Some countries have done well while still many are fighting the virus. Also, it has become important to analyze what may be the future for the world after this crisis. 

COVID 19 and its impact worldwide

COVID 19 has affected people globally. Unlike other deadly diseases like Ebola, the Zika virus, or the Nipah virus which was restricted only to a particular region or region, the coronavirus has affected not only a particular area but has shown its presence in almost all parts of the world. Currently, there are 29,221,743 confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally and has led to the death of 9,29,114 people all around the globe.(as on 14 September 2020). The infectious virus has spread rapidly and has affected the lifestyle of people. This has brought in a new normal of social distancing, wearing masks in public areas, regularly sanitizing the hands, and avoiding contact between people. Businesses have shut down, people are being laid off, public events have been cancelled all around the globe. As the situation became worse, the need to find a vaccine increased.

Globally, vaccines are being developed. Currently, there are about 165 vaccines being developed around the world and 32 vaccines are in the human trial stage. Although Russia has claimed that it has found the vaccine to fight the virus, many still believe that they have not followed the protocols correctly. The vaccines being developed by Moderna and oxford university- AstraZeneca is being looked upon with high hope. However, they are in the 3rd stage of human trials and need more time to completely approve the vaccine. 

Thus, the impact of COVID-19 has led to responses from countries. Some countries have been successful while others are still trying their best to contain the virus. To understand this, it is important to analyze the situation in various countries affected drastically by the virus and their response to the situation. Countries like the USA, Brazil, India are facing the heat of the situation whereas countries like New Zealand, Iceland, and Taiwan have been successful in containing the virus.

The current situation in worst-affected countries and their responses

Many countries have been affected by the virus. However, let’s analyze the present situation existing in the worst-hit countries and their response to it. The situation prevailing in these countries will help in knowing the present situation of the world and how they are dealing with it.

USA

Currently, the USA has the most Coronavirus cases in the world. It has 6,001,017 cases out of which 3,314,305 have recovered. However, there have been 1,83,663 fatalities in the US due to COVID-19 ( As on 27 August). The most cases have been recorded from California. However daily cases have dropped to around 45000 cases a day since its peak in July where the average case was more than 65000 daily.

Response

  • The reason for the slowing down of spread has been credited to decreased hospitalization and low positive tests.
  • Restrictions in states like Texas, Florida, Arizona, and California which had contributed to the major share of cases have helped in containing the disease. These restrictions were in the form of closure of bars, gyms, theatres after they were restarted in May.
  • However, the US failed in the early response to the situation. Lockdown was imposed late and was removed in May. This was a bad decision as the cases after May increased rapidly and the US had to re-impose the lockdown.
  • The USA has passed a package of 3 trillion dollars to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

Brazil

Currently, Brazil is the second most affected country by the coronavirus after the US. It has 3,722,004 coronavirus cases out of which 2,908,848 have recovered and 117,756 have died. ( As on August 27, 2020). However like the US, the no. of weekly infections has decreased, transmissions have slowed down and there is less pressure on intensive care units. Brazil was criticized due to taking the virus lightly. The President of Brazil openly voiced against lockdown measures and stated that it was just a ‘common flu’.

Response 

  • Brazil is not focussed on lockdown and other measures like social distancing. Restrictions were imposed mostly in big cities, however, there was a widespread protest against it which had got support from the Brazil President himself.
  • Brazilian authorities have provided 50 billion dollars in the form of corona vouchers to their informal workers in these tough times. 
  • However, the Brazilian government is not dealing with the situation in a serious manner. Shopping Malls, restaurants, and beaches have reopened. 
  • The country is struggling in importing life-saving equipment like ventilators and coronavirus test kits.
  • The country is hoping for vaccines to help it recover from the crisis. Many vaccine trials are being conducted in Brazil.

India

Currently, India is the third most affected country after the US and Brazil. As of 27 August 2020, it has 3,315,017 cases out of which 2,524,539 have recovered and about 60,652 people have died due to COVID-19. The daily cases in India are increasing day by day, however, it is important to note that India’s recovery rate has also been very good. The recovery rate is around 76.3 % which is one of the best in the world. The mortality rate of the country also when compared to other adversely affected countries is very low. But, a major concern is that the number of cases being reported daily is increasing. The lockdown was implemented in India for about 3 months after which the gradually unlocking process has started.

Response 

  • India had actively responded to the situation since the very beginning of the virus. Strict lockdown measures were implemented. For a country with a population like India, the risk of spreading the virus is very high.
  • Government although now has opened almost the majority of the sector to sustain the economy. Still, various public transports like the metro have not yet been started. Schools and colleges are still shut.
  • India has increased its testing rate. Almost 3 crore people have already been tested till August. The hospital facilities have been increased. More ventilators have been procured. Strict lockdown measures are still being implemented in highly affected areas. 
  • India also announced Rs 20 lakh Crore corona economic package which is one among the largest in the world.
  • All in all, the Indian government has responded well but still, there’s a long way to go.

Successful responses of countries to COVID-19

Although many countries were affected by the Coronavirus, there are few countries that have been very successful in containing the virus. Few of them are-

New Zealand

This country has only 1,702 cases out of which 1,554 have recovered and 22 have succumbed to the virus(As on 27 August 2020). Recently on August 9, the country had marked 100 days of being free from the Coronavirus. Life has returned to normal for the country. However there have been recent handful cases reported on the borders, still, the country has been successful in containing the virus. However, on August 11, certain cases emerged in Auckland.

Response

  • New Zealand has been actively involved in fighting the coronavirus. When the country had only 100 cases, it closed its borders to foreign travelers and made people who came home from abroad quarantine for 14 days.
  • After just a few days, it imposed strict lockdown measures. Only essentials were allowed like grocery stores and gas stations.
  • The testing was also increased. The communication regarding the issue was well communicated among people and they responded well.
  • Recently, after new clusters of coronavirus affected people were found in Auckland, the government has imposed a lockdown again in Auckland. Thus, New Zealand has been very active in containing the virus. 

Taiwan

Taiwan, a nation very close to the epicentre of the COVID-19 china has been one among the best in curbing the virus. Presently, Taiwan has 487 cases out of which 462 have recovered and 7 died due to COVID 19 (As on August 27). The country has been well appreciated for its effort. They were the first country to inform WHO about the seriousness of the issue.

Response

  • Taiwan owes its success to technology and early action. Taiwan began containment as early as December 2019. They were able to have successful surveillance of the events of China.
  • The transport between Taiwan and China was suspended.
  • Taiwanese technologists created LINE chatbots, maps, and voice assistants to aid fight against coronavirus.
  • Medical masks and PPEs were produced in large numbers. They were aware of the virus as they faced a great challenge during the SARS outbreak in 2003.

Apart from the above countries, there are other nations like Iceland, Tanzania, Fiji, etc. which have successfully battled against the COVID 19. The factors that contributed to their success was early action and planning. Less population has also played a major role in these countries.

Future ahead for the world

As time is passing, the impact of the virus is increasing. Recent news of the re-infection case of COVID 19 in Hong Kong has also led to fear among people. All countries are hoping for a vaccine that can be possible by the end of the year 2020 or early 2021. However, now the countries have to think about the future ahead. Following are some aspects that the world need to think upon for a better future-

  • Vaccines are being developed, however, in countries having large populations like India, the distribution plan or vaccination plan has to be developed. How the vaccine will reach people has to be planned well in advance.
  • The new mode of going virtual has to be accepted in most of the situations as now it has become the need of the hour. The movement of people would be not as much as it used to be in the pre-COVID-19 era.
  • The new normal of social distancing will be prevalent in the world even after the vaccination. The sights of large crowds and gatherings may not be possible in near future.
  • Another hit that COVID 19 has taken is on the global economy. Many predict that the world will go in one of its worst recessions ever. Thus, countries need to have a plan ready to revamp its economy. The globalization process will also be halted.
  • Due to economic problems, countries would face poverty, increased unemployment, and less growth. The countries need to start thinking about the future on how to tackle such issues.
  • However, the technology will gain more acceptance among people. The recent instances of online education, meetings, etc have made people use the technology in a manner which they never did before.
  • Another positive which can be expected for the future is the improvement in the healthcare facilities of the country. The COVID-19 has been a wake-up call for the countries. Already the healthcare units have been increased and improved and thus in the future, we can expect better healthcare facilities.

Conclusion 

It is no doubt that COVID -19 has changed the lifestyle of people. It has created many problems globally. The only hope which people seem to have is on the development of the Coronavirus vaccine. The vaccines are being developed by conducting the trails. The process of development has been fast-tracked due to the immense need for the vaccination.

Meanwhile, countries adopted various other measures like lockdown, mask in public places, regular sanitization, and the creation of containment zones. Still, these measures can only curb the rate of spread of COVID-19. This cannot be a long term solution.

Countries like the USA, Brazil, and India have been the worst affected and there is a need to learn from countries like New Zealand and Taiwan. 

The future after the COVID-19 doesn’t look promising. However, countries need to plan in advance to limit the damage that they are going to face in the future. People should also cooperate with the government in fighting the pandemic as it is they who play the most vital role in putting an end to pandemics like COVID-19. 

References

  • https://www.bbc.com/news/health-53889823
  • https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus
  • https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
  • https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200331-covid-19-how-will-the-coronavirus-change-the-world
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/covid-19-global-impact-how-the-coronavirus-is-affecting-the-world
  • https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/brazil-bolsonaro-coronavirus-cases-deaths-reopening-second-wave/2020/06/15/3282d27e-ae4b-11ea-856d-5054296735e5_story.html

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