Editor's Note

As the world finds itself in the grips of a pandemic, the COVID-19, with hundreds of thousands of confirmed cases, thousands dead, economies world over not being able to take the strain, there are many questions that remain unanswered. This is causing uncertainty that has resulted in making people genuinely concerned. In the stock market and communities alike, herd mentality is taking over: people are being influenced by one another and letting emotions dictate behavior, instead of taking a rational approach. While it is imperative that the pandemic be taken seriously, the problem arises when people panic, as a lot of people seem like doing at present. This is not the time for panic, as that is not going to bring up any solutions; in fact, it is going to make things more difficult. Let’s not make it a pandemic of fear. 
While it is completely understandable to be worried, the only way to getting through this unscathed is to channel that anxious energy into doing what you can to stop COVID-19 from spreading, to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities, and possibly root out the pandemic. COVID-19 is not an existential threat. While it is dangerous and in some cases potentially deadly, most of the cases are mild to moderate, and people recover within a week or two. The key is to act responsibly at the individual and community level to fight this off by adhering to the prevention and precautionary measures that the government has entailed, while at the same time taking steps to boost our immunity. 
Quarantine, isolation, social distancing, lock-down, closing public spaces, banning mass gatherings, and other such restrictive measures might feel hard but they are important to contain the spread of the disease and in getting life back to normal as soon as possible. One of the ways to overcome the feelings of anxiety is to utilise this time to reflect on our lifestyle and health choices that leave us vulnerable to pathogens like SARS-CoV-2 and to make changes where necessary in order to protect not only from the current threat but future ones as well. Good hygiene practices, healthier and robust immune system, and an active lifestyle help make us better able to fight diseases – these are the areas that we should focus on. Particularly with a disease like COVID-19, that has no vaccine or cure at present because of its novelty, the only way forward is to protect ourselves not only by erring on the side of caution but also by fortifying our bodies. All those things about eating less junk food and eating a healthy, balanced diet coupled with regular exercise and lowering stress level have never rang truer than now. It may not be possible to avoid disease completely, but we can to develop resilience and prepare the body and mind to deal with problems as they arise. 
COVID-19 is inciting panic for a number of reasons. It’s a new virus, meaning no one has immunity, and there is no vaccine. Some of the irrational responses to the virus have begun impacting our lives and the economy in pernicious ways, so we need to give them up and take general steps to prevent illness. Our health system is not very advanced and has capacity issues, so responsibility lies with us. A lot of people are going to get sick, and delaying infections as much as possible is imperative, so that cases occur over a long period of time and health system is not suddenly inundated. Take every precaution to avoid it and augment your immune system by taking a holistic approach to general health maintenance to give your body the best chance of fighting the infection. 
Be reasonable and be cautious, but don’t be frightened. It would be wrong to say there is good news coming out of COVID-19, but there are causes for optimism – reasons to think there may be ways to contain and defeat the virus and lessons to learn: we know what it is, we know how to detect the virus, the situation has improved in China, most of the cases are mild, people recover, symptoms appear milder in children, the virus can be wiped clean, science is on it, globally, there are already vaccine prototypes, antiviral trials are underway. And while you’re at it, don’t forget about the under privileged. This is the time when we as Pakistanis need more than ever to live up to our reputation of being charitable. HH

Nadia Zubair
[email protected]

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