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Coronavirus … Coexistence Is the Solution

Coronavirus … Coexistence Is the Solution

Wednesday, 27 May, 2020 - 08:30
Salman Al-Dossary
Salman Al-Dossary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

Coexistence has always been a solution to many social issues, and today it is the most appropriate way to deal with the pandemic of the century: Coronavirus.

Governments have no other option but to confront the virus, rather than completely closing their borders and risking the continued paralysis of life for months.

Most countries have chosen to coexist with the virus, after a consensus was reached between prominent scientists and many governments that COVID-19 cannot be totally eradicated, despite quarantine measures that caused the disruption of the global economy. It is likely to become a seasonal virus that the world will have to live with intelligently.

One would ask why the world had resorted to a total lockdown, while today we find ourselves faced with another scenario, that of living with the virus, which will inevitably become part of our life.

The truth is that countries did not have many options when the pandemic broke out and caught us by surprise, so the greatest fear was the collapse of health systems and their inability to keep pace with the massive number of infections.

At that time, there was only one scenario to confront the virus: the complete lockdown.

With time, governments have slowly been able to strengthen their health systems and greatly expand medical testing so that the infected are isolated from the rest of society, which means the speedy investigation and urgent treatment of detected cases.

Health systems acquired the ability to monitor new epicenters, deal with them quickly and accommodate the expected cases when easing the restrictions, in addition to identifying the vulnerable groups and intensifying awareness among them to encourage them adhere to social distancing measures.

As many countries are choosing to coexist with coronavirus, it will be scary if some people underestimate the rules of that coexistence.

After the governments approved these rules and imposed them during the lockdown period, it is now the people’s responsibility to commit to them and set their controls. And if they think that the epidemic has gone forever, the catastrophe will inevitably return. The second wave will be much harsher and countries will have to return to total closure again to contain this disastrous surge whenever it occurs.

With the gradual return of life, there is no doubt that the effects of coronavirus on both public health and the economy will surpass all expectations. There won’t be a swift recovery.

Nonetheless, peoples and governments have no choice but to do their utmost to limit the spread of the virus and prepare for the expected future challenges that will not end with this gradual return.

The more the epidemic spreads, the harder it will be to get rid of its economic and health consequences.

Governments no longer have the luxury to choose between public health and economic paralysis as before. The only possible equation is to boost the level of response, increase the capabilities of the health system to the maximum extent and coexist safely with the epidemic in order to preserve human lives and raise community awareness and commitment, while at the same time reducing potential economic damage as much as possible.

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