According to the United Nations Development Programme, the coronavirus disease pandemic is the defining global health crisis of our time, calling countries to “ work together to slow the spread of the virus” with “leadership and solidarity.” But the pandemic is much more than a health crisis; it is also an unprecedented socio-economic crisis, leaving deep and longstanding scars. Changes in lifestyle, rampant unemployment, academic challenges, and severe poverty have become overwhelming challenges worldwide.
As we face 2021, we are clothed with fear and worsening struggles. In silence, one may take a deep breath and sigh, asking, “How is it going to end? How will we be able to regain our old, normal life?” Many are pushed to overthinking and sleepless nights, leading to a cascade of worries.
These questions become even more relevant as the situation grows dire at present. It has been a year since the pandemic began, but COVID-19 continues to worsen and threaten public health and safety. Scientists and governments monitor how its mutations and new variants quickly circulate globally with different characteristics and infection rates. The United Kingdom (UK) variant called B.1.1.7 was detected in the US by the end of December 2020. Around a month later, a South African variant (B.1.351) was also declared in the US. Likewise, a Brazil variant called P.1 was also detected in the US at that time. These three variants lead to increased morbidity and number of cases.
In hindsight, we hoped that scientists and experts would soon invent the vaccine that can fight COVID-19. We eagerly watched leading pharmaceutical companies and nations race to research and create the immunization that can potentially end the pandemic. The wait is now over as millions are inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines every day around the world. While the virus mutates into worse variants, prompting fear and tighter restrictions, the intensified vaccination brings optimism.
We are almost there. We survived the past year, and we can surmount these current times. Thanks to our heroes—the scientists, healthcare professionals, and frontliners—our nation continues to brave the onslaught of the pandemic. But we should not let their sacrifices go to waste. Do not be complacent and negligent—the battle against COVID-19 is still raging on. Like before, we must empower ourselves with health literacy, obedience to health protocols, wellness, and positivity. We can do our part to strengthen our nation’s health care system and resources.
Indeed, hope will flicker in the dark, but the sun will continue to shine behind the clouds. The pandemic might have devastated us, but love must keep blooming and maturing in our hearts. Let us look forward to what the future holds with our loved ones and friends who listen, comfort, and stay with us in these times of grief and challenges. Together, we can defeat COVID-19, and the melody of sufferings that played hidden in humanity’s consciousness will be replaced by a melody of victory.