Over the years global health evolved as an emerging discipline and contributed greatly to the realisation that health issues no longer lie within geographical boundaries. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven it again as it evolves as a global health crisis to bring the greatest challenge for the nations since World War II. Since its emergence in China late last year, the virus has spread to every continent except Antarctica. This disease not only causes illness and death but also affects all spheres of life including employment and livelihood, global trade and economy, education, and of course mental health. Almost all nations are struggling to slow the spread of the virus by testing and treating patients, carrying out contact tracing, limiting travel and quarantining.
Impact of Covid-19 is not limited to only causing mortality and morbidity anymore, it has already made serious strides on global economy, poverty, food security, mobility, education, employment, politics, environment, global security, social and family relationship and most importantly the healthcare systems. It is predicted that global GDP will decline by 2.1 per cent, while developed countries' GDP would decline by 2.5 per cent and high-income countries by 1.9 per cent. The number of people filing for unemployment in the United States has reached a record high, marking an end to a decade of growth for one of the world's largest economies. In the United Kingdom, almost one million people have applied for benefits in just two weeks at the end of March.The coronavirus pandemic affected the political systems of multiple countries causing suspensions of legislative activities, isolation or deaths of multiple politicians, and rescheduling of elections due to fears of spreading the virus. As 84 countries have declared state of emergency in response to the pandemic, leading to fears about misuse of power. Reporters Without Borders has claimed that 38 countries have restricted freedom of the press. COVID-19 is putting hard security threats between nations back into the spotlight. The geopolitical rivalry between the great powers is likely to worsen as the American and Chinese economies become less interdependent. Europe has been hit hard by the virus, once again fraying ties between the Eurozone’s stronger and weaker economies.
According to WHO, 89 million medical masks are required for the COVID-19 response each month and to meet global demand manufacturing capacity should rise by 40%. Field hospitals are treating patients around the world (WHO, 2020). The hospitals are arranging more beds, cabins and ventilators to save lives of patients. According to the Washington post, almost 17 million adults, or 6.5 per cent of the U.S. adult population, live in communities where covid-19 patients could overwhelm hospital beds, needing more than all available (BBC, 2020). In some cases, doctors are more prone to get infected than civilians. All time wearing PPE and other protection will drain them mentally and physically. So, there is an unprecedented toll on healthcare workers and this pandemic will force an inevitable spike in burnouts among the healthcare staff.
Finding a vaccine is considered a sustainable solution to fight an infectious disease, scientists from all over the world started searching for vaccines that can bring relief from this virus. More than hundred vaccine candidates are being tried with highest possible speed. Therapeutic solution to treat corona disease has been given top priority as well.
Coronavirus, a deadly respiratory disease, has become a menacing public health problem worldwide. The need for changing habits including self-imposed lockdown or quarantine by individuals at their homes has shaped a new world and brought about a new normal with a major concern for global health. Artificial intelligence as well as a shift in healthcare to digital healthcare systems has been a global need now to fight this type of pandemic.
The Covid-19 will come to an end and people will back to normalcy only if they can maintain corona-specific health regulations like social distancing, wearing mask and keeping hands clean. It should not be forgotten that there might be another wave of the pandemic with the advent of the winter. In some European countries, coronavirus infection is already on the rise. We need to take a clear note of the ominous trend.
Healthcare precaution has no alternative.
The writer is pursuing Bachelor’s degree in Public Health.