Sandhya Acharya: United By COVID

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The status of the pandemic varies greatly depending on where you are, but Sandhya Acharya says the world is united by COVID more than ever.

After months of lockdown, I am now able to drop my kids at school. I can pick up groceries, go for a run, even eat at restaurants. Things are going back to normal. But when I check the news in India, the country of my birthplace, I am confronted with a different scenario.

India’s COVID cases have seen a sharp uptick and the infrastructure is overwhelmed.

Grief, anger, bitterness is mounting, and blame is being passed around - the hubris of the government, the nonchalance of the collective public, the insensitivity of the media, the virulence of the variant, and so on.

But how does it matter? It doesn’t change the numbers I see

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Population: 1.4 billion
Vaccinations: 3%
Daily Cases: more than 300,000
Daily Death Rate: more than 4,000

And more numbers:

Countries affected by COVID: 200 plus
Total COVID cases: 163 million
Total Deaths: 3.4 million
Months since COVID: 15 plus
Global Vaccination rate: 4.6%

Every country across the globe has struggled. Lockdowns enforced, schools closed, jobs and lives lost- everywhere. Even as we deal with the grief, anger, bitterness - let’s not lose sight of the fact that what the world needs most of all is the realization that You and I are not that different.

Some of us might be doing better now. Israel may be 56% vaccinated, the US might be considering taking off masks for vaccinated people, New Zealand may hardly have any positive cases but the nature of this virus is such that I can’t help asking - until the whole world is safe, are we really safe?

Perhaps, it took a virus to show us how interlinked we are. When one part of the world is suffering, how can we celebrate in the other?

So even as we relax and plan our vacations, we have to remember that people elsewhere are struggling to breathe. We still have work to do. Research, question, vaccinate, donate - do what you can.

We are already united by COVID. Now, let’s defeat it. With a Perspective, I am Sandhya Acharya.

Sandhya Acharya is an author of children’s books.