People in India grieve amid mass funeral pyres as the Covid-19 death toll surges. AFP
People in India grieve amid mass funeral pyres as the Covid-19 death toll surges. AFP

India’s Covid pain is another warning

By Lindsay Slogrove Time of article published May 1, 2021

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HOW many more warnings and reminders do we need?

What is it about humanity, in general, that won’t believe the evidence in front of us and act responsibly?

Are we all so accustomed to personal freedoms that we are unwilling to sacrifice some of them?

Do we truly, in this current evolution of the species, care so little for our “herd”?

Have we evolved into a community of “seeing is believing” before we take an existential threat seriously?

The evidence is before our eyes.

While we cannot see the Covid virus, the heartbreaking, devastating scenes from India should add to the visual evidence of danger we have already seen.

People dying on pavements or on stretchers as their family cries in despair around them. Hundreds of thousands. Days of setting case and death records. And nothing anyone can do to help because there are no more beds and oxygen runs out. Mass funeral pyres spiralling smoke above cities and towns.

According to the BBC, most troubling in that country’s current surge is a new variant called B.1.617.

It emerged in India and is showing something that scares the heck out of scientists: it appears to have a double mutation on its spike, the bit that clings to our cells.

Science is still studying it, but it is feared it is more transmissible and antibodies may battle to block the virus. Easier transmissibility means more victims and “breeding” time for it to find new ways to outsmart us, our antibodies and our vaccinations.

It’s so hard to comprehend that something as minuscule as this virus can outsmart the species that travel to the far reaches of space and lands craft so far away there are too many zeroes in the number of light-years or kilometres to count for “normal” people. But that’s what it is doing.

We have brilliant minds around the world analysing and sequencing the genetics of this thing.

We also, however, have those on the other side of the brain scale and refuse to believe this is not a hoax or a conspiracy. While these people exist, the happy little virus is using us as its playing field, spawning and recreating and using a dizzyingly short time to outmanoeuvre our clever folk.

So here’s a reminder: you may never get Covid, or have such a weak version that you don’t even know about it.

You may get it and survive just fine, with no long-term effects, and carry on your happy little life.

It could also make you desperately ill and leave you with chronic illness that lasts the rest of an unhappy life.

You may die and leave everyone around you with pain and hurt for the rest of their lives.

You may also be the breeder of the version that conquers current vaccinations and it all has to start again.

It’s never going to just go away. We have to learn to live with it. Travelling and visiting unless absolutely necessary should alarm us. We must wear our masks everywhere. As hard as it is, we must keep our distance. Wash and/or sanitise our hands.

The world is a different place for us now. At least until we control or conquer it, we must find a way to make the best of our short time in it.

  • Lindsay Slogrove is the news editor

The Independent on Saturday

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