COVID-19, lockdown and vaccine: How these three words changed the world in 2020
As we put a final stamp on 2020, aren't you in a hurry to put it quickly in their rearview mirror? Remember December 31, 2019?
When the world ushered to welcome 2020, not a single person predicted how the year would turn out for them! December 31 last year was also when the Wuhan China Health Commission announced that they are dealing with a new type of 'coronavirus', that caused pneumonia-like symptoms.
Welcome the Sun of January 1, it was already spreading around the globe. On January 21, 2020, the US confirmed its first case of COVID-19.
The virus was officially named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 because it's genetically related to the coronavirus that caused the SARS outbreak in 2003. In a move to outline the difference, the WHO on February 11, called the new disease as COVID-19. Four days later, France reported its first confirmed fatality outside of Asia. European nations watched in horror as northern Italy turned into an epicentre. India reported its first case of COVID-19 on January 27.
Coronavirus is far from the deadliest outbreak in history. Bubonic plague in the 14th Century vanished a quarter of the population. At least 50 million were dead amid Spanish Influenza in 1918-19. Apart from that, 33 million people have succumbed to AIDS. The coronavirus, too, has taken 1.79 million lives around the world till-date.
First Italy, followed by Spain, Britain and France, went into a lockdown. The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared coronavirus a pandemic. US borders shut too much of Europe. For the first time in peacetime, the summer Olympics faced hindrance. Just like a bushfire spread in Australia, the infection grappled almost every country in the world.
By mid-April, 3.9 billion people around the world we're living under some form of lockdown. From France to the USA, from India to Lagos and from UK London to Argentina, streets fell spookily silent, the all too frequent cry of ambulance sirens, a cue that death appeared close. 2020 has been a difficult year for many.
ALL HOPE ON VACCINE
2020 is about to over. The governments across the globe are on the point of immunising millions, starting with the elderly and the most vulnerable, before moving into the masses as the only voucher back to a normal life.
Britain, in December, became the first Western nation to approve a vaccine for general use. Apart from that, it also rolled out an immunisation plan developed at the BioNTech lab, in cooperation with US pharma giant Pfizer.
The USA quickly followed suit with EU nations to roll out the vaccine. Many countries, including Russia, Italy, Israel and among others have already started the vaccination drive. In India, the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pune-based Serum Institute will soon roll-out its first shot. On December 30, AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine was allowed by the UK government for its use.
The health risks from the novel virus are not to be ignored. The economic impressions will keep us occupied for a long time to come, and the social penalties will continue to be felt for a while. We are sure that when the world celebrates on December 31, the dawn of a new decade with blazing fireworks and revelry on January 1, nobody would ever recall what 2020 was for them.