Current Medical Issues

EDITORIAL
Year
: 2021  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1--2

COVID-19 pandemic: Quo Vadimus?


Kundavaram Paul Prabhakar Abhilash 
 Department of Emergency Medicine, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Kundavaram Paul Prabhakar Abhilash
Department of Emergency Medicine, Christian Medical College, Vellore - 632 004, Tamil Nadu
India




How to cite this article:
Abhilash KP. COVID-19 pandemic: Quo Vadimus?.Curr Med Issues 2021;19:1-2


How to cite this URL:
Abhilash KP. COVID-19 pandemic: Quo Vadimus?. Curr Med Issues [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Apr 20 ];19:1-2
Available from: https://www.cmijournal.org/text.asp?2021/19/1/1/306939


Full Text



The year 2020 in its entirety has been centered on the events around the COVID-19 pandemic and its partner in crime, “the global lockdown.” Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) came into late 2019 without an appointment and quickly assured us of its destructive potential and lasting impact. 2020 feels like an entire year lost, a year spent in turmoil, a year spent in home confinement for indefinite periods by large swathes of the population, a year that left lasting physical and mental scars on all of us, and a year that will realign our future.

The two demons of 2020, “COVID-19” and the “pan-global lockdown” with associated mortality, economic loss, and psychological scars, have left many individuals and organizations on the brink of survival.[1],[2] The pandemic has brought tectonic change to almost every aspect of life: how we live, where we live, where we work, how we meet, and how we celebrate the small remaining joys of life. Economy and tourism have been in the doldrums for the past 12 months. Pandemics ignore our calendars, but the absence of social events, planned vacations, sports and games, family gatherings, and fun times with friends will forever remain etched in our memories as a dark gloomy chapter. The “present eon” is certain to find a prominent place in the World's history in years to come. The year 2020 will certainly be used by historians as a reference point of a catastrophic event.

In India, the pandemic seemed to have peaked in early September as evidenced from data from the Emergency Department of our hospital [Figure 1]. Having infected more than 90 million and claiming 2 million lives thus far, when will this pandemic come to an end? While politicians and astrologers have answers, few scientists are willing to be drawn into making a prediction. Epidemiologists and public health specialists have been using mathematical models to predict the course and the outcome of the pandemic. However, with the many unknowns about this novel contagion, prediction modeling is tricky as models are not the “crystal balls” we all wish to have. The history of pandemics is full of frustrating truths. Once they emerge in humans, diseases rarely leave. The bitter truth is that ancient infections such as malaria, leprosy, tuberculosis, and syphilis that are as old as humanity and younger pathogens such as human immunodeficiency virus, Ebola virus, influenza viruses, and SARS are still thriving with eradication not yet in sight. The only disease that has been eradicated thus far through mass vaccination campaign is smallpox.[3] In 1980, smallpox became the first, and to date, the only, human disease to be declared fully eradicated.[4] Now that it has been added to the repertoire of existing human infections in 2019, COVID19 is here to stay. Like all other pathogens though, SARS-CoV-2 is likely to settle down permanently at some point, in the “retirement villa of coronaviruses,” simmering on and circulating at low levels, causing occasional flare-ups in local outbreaks.{Figure 1}

With 2020 effectively “nullified,” we enter 2021 with uncertainty with the query “Quo vadimus?' Where are we headed? We look ahead to the New Year with both fear and hope: fear of seemingly indefinite disruption of daily activities and devastation to life and with hope that an efficient vaccine will, before too long, contain the contagion and life can revert to the good old pre-COVID days.

This pandemic must be treated as a long voyage that requires planning and coordination while facing numerous obstacles. It is true that all colors agree in the dark. During this unprecedented crisis, all individuals, organizations, and countries must sink our differences and unite in the endeavor to overcome this pandemic. And together, we will succeed. This too shall pass.

References

1Kumar SU, Kumar DT, Christopher BP, Doss CG. The rise and impact of COVID-19 in India. Front Med (Lausanne) 2020;7:250.
2Nicola M, Alsafi Z, Sohrabi C, Kerwan A, Al-Jabir A, Iosifidis C, et al. The socio-economic implications of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19): A review. Int J Surg 2020;78:185-93.
3Lane JM. Mass vaccination and surveillance/containment in the eradication of smallpox. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol 2006;304:17-29
4Strassburg MA. The global eradication of smallpox. Am J Infect Control 1982;10:53-9.