Some have described the Covid-19 pandemic a curse, others have labelled it “killer” influenza.
A journalist has expounded that it is an equaliser and a reminder that we are all human and subject to the vagaries of nature.
This Leader has termed it a “necessary evil” that has forced us to rethink our priorities. But, the one view they all share is that Covid-19 knows no boundaries.
As the disease spreads and cases multiply, there is a group of people who are extending positive vibes, giving hope to sufferers and inspiring frontline healthcare workers. The “care-mongers”, as they are known. Covid-19 has brought out the best in people across the globe.
Volunteers have cropped up everywhere to help the vulnerable. Healthcare workers in China recounted on social media that when Wuhan was locked down, residents had shouted out support and encouragement to neighbours from their windows.
Yes, the disease has robbed families of their husbands, wives, children, grandchildren and many others. More than 8,000 people have died globally. But among the positive takeaways is the connectedness and oneness of humanity.
Local papers in Italy, for instance, reported that Italians have taken to their balconies to sing patriotic and uplifting songs.
“From Turin in the north to Sicily in the south, people are using social media to organise balcony-singing flash mobs, demonstrating their support for one another despite being stuck in their homes.”
In the United States, a brother and sister did a cello concert on their front porch for the 78-year-old neighbour who lived across from them and who is under self-quarantine.
In Spain, during an announcement by the prime minister of a nationwide lockdown and praising the efforts of healthcare workers, people across the country applauded and called out “viva los medicos” — long live doctors.
And volunteers in Wales, the United Kingdom, have been recruited to shop for groceries for people who are under quarantine. So much warmth and fellowship. Aptly, the World Economic Forum has branded it “a pandemic of solidarity”.
Instances of extremism and insensitivity, however, do still exist, like the president of the free world denouncing Covid-19 a “China virus” and a Muslim clergy saying that it is a punishment from God for China’s supposed treatment of the Uighurs.
But, they are sporadic; by and large, it’s the positive displays that have been publicised. A pity that such solidarity have not yet caught on among Malaysians, who are into their third day of a government imposed Movement Control Order.
Naysayers have harped on the manner it is being imposed while whiners and fusspots complain about the inconvenience of it. There are, however, those whose optimism, during this difficult time, have shone a ray of hope.
Theatre stalwarts Datuk Faridah Merican and Joe Hasham narrate stories on Facebook to entertain families during this confinement period; comedian Harith Iskander, on social media, plays his guitar for his son and engages with netizens.
There are also stories of Malaysians running errands for quarantined senior citizens in homes. We need more of them.
This Leader would like to remind Malaysians that the situation will get better.
Scientists are already fast-tracking anti-malarial drugs to treat the disease. Let’s not tear each other down. Remember, this, too, shall pass.