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Opinion

Covid-19: what you need to know today

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If 2020 was the year of the virus, then 2021 will be, rightly, the year of the vaccine. If we had not finished the year with a vaccine, fortunately, we have, and not just one, but some; and one may well be approved in India on January 1 – 2021 would have been the year of the mutant strain, which makes it sound like what 2020 really was, a pulp horror novel.

But 2020 was not simply the year of the virus.

It was the year of the health worker. Throughout the year, around the world, doctors, nurses, paramedics and other healthcare professionals worked around the clock, putting themselves at risk and demonstrating physical, mental and emotional resilience the world has not seen in decades. .

It was the year of the scientist and the researcher, the data scientist and the epidemiologist. Never in history have so many scientists and researchers around the world worked towards the same two goals as in 2020: better understand the virus that caused Covid-19; and find a cure or a vaccine for it. What do we have to prove? Tens of thousands of research studies, a very clear understanding of the virus and how it attacks the human body, several successful vaccines, and some drugs that work.

It was the year of the house. It became the office and the school, the gymnasium and the restaurant, and it became both a sanctuary and a prison.

Click here for full coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic

It was the year of the screen, the year of the Zoom background; the year of baking and family meals.

It was, for people like my parents, who are practically stuck in Chennai and cannot even meet friends and relatives because they are in the most vulnerable age group, the year of loneliness and fear (neither of which can be mitigated. absolutely). video calls).

For those of us who lost family and friends to the viral illness, it was a year of pain and sadness, and a grieving process that seemed far too inappropriate.

For me, it was also a year of writing; Thanks to this column, I wrote more than I have written in years (although probably as much as I usually rewrite in a couple of months).

But for many others, definitely less privileged than anyone reading this column, 2020 was something else.

For some, it was the year that pushed them back into a life they thought they had left behind; many may not have the will or the means to do it all over again.

For some poor students who saw education as a way out, it was the year that ended their dreams. Many will retire; some have already done so, forced to do so due to financial circumstances or the inability to follow classes online.

And for some who left home to pursue their dreams elsewhere, it was a year that reminded them how little they cared for: the people and establishments they worked for; to the cities and neighborhoods in which they lived; even to governments that are expected to watch over everyone.

Read more | India will have the Covid-19 vaccine in a few days: AIIMS director

And so even as economists speak of 2021 as the year of the big rebound, and CEOs speak eloquently at investor briefings about how their companies have become more efficient and are on the path to profitability, and the rest of us simply treat 2020 as what it Really is for the privileged, a Formula 1 pit stop, it is important to ensure that in this new year, all of us, individuals, companies, governments, do what we can for those whose lives They have been devastated for the past year. .

They need opportunities; they need understanding; they need to level the playing field; and they need someone to help them keep their dreams.

Happy New Year.

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