It’s been three years since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Covid-19 a pandemic in March 2020, and the impact of the virus has been far-reaching and unexpected. It brought on multiple waves of infection that took a toll on healthcare systems and introduced a sea change to our everyday lives, with social distancing, wearing masks, remote work, and virtual learning becoming commonplace.
Despite the challenges, some found silver linings in the situation, such as spending more time with family, bringing back their life skills, etc., while others faced immense struggles, including losing loved ones and enduring economic hardship. Since then, the virus has persisted, with multiple waves of infection and the recent emergence of the H3N2 virus adding to the ongoing difficulties.
People are still grappling with the pandemic loop, despite vaccination campaigns and other efforts to control the spread of viruses. As we reflect on the past three years, let’s take a look at ‘How it started’ vs ‘How it’s going’.
It was on the evening of 24 March 2020 that the Government of India ordered a nationwide lockdown for 21 days, limiting the mass movement of millions as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 pandemic. However, this initial lockdown was just the beginning of a series of phases that would test our patience and challenge our ability to adapt to a ‘new normal’.
A sequence of events followed: railways coming to a halt (just like our lives), Janata Curfew, hoarding of supplies and essentials, games and hobbies that we never thought of exploring. Masks and sanitisers became our new-found loyal friends.
3 years of #lockdownin @aaroananda pic.twitter.com/iv4bUDktbK— Mali’s (@Malicartoonist) March 22, 2023
The pandemic also shed light on the stark divide in the country. While some celebrated unity and hope by lighting diyas and thumping thalis, others faced immense hardships, walking long distances to reach their homes or experiencing mental health struggles during the isolation. The virus claimed a massive number of lives, leaving corpses to lie in the river bodies, migrant workers on endless foot journeys, and causing immense pain to families and communities across the nation.
Waves and Vaccination
Initially, India was under a prolonged period of lockdown during the first wave of the novel coronavirus, which lasted for almost seven months, and things started opening up in November 2020. However, just when a government panel made an announcement in October 2020 that the pandemic had peaked and could be brought under control by February 2021, the country was hit by the largest Covid wave in February due to people becoming careless and not following Covid-appropriate behaviour, resulting in a rapid surge in cases and deaths.
The second wave was fuelled by highly-infectious variants of concern such as Lineage B.1.617 and a lack of preparations, with temporary hospitals often being dismantled after cases started to decline, troubling the health-care system. State-wide lockdowns were again implemented by March 2021, and in May 2021, WHO declared that two variants first found in India would be referred to as ‘Delta’ and ‘Kappa.’
By late-May, the number of new cases had begun to steadily drop across the country. The Covid-19 vaccination drive was also being accelerated, and there was more supply of vaccines than demand, bringing a glimmer of hope that life would return to normal by early 2022.
However, the emergence of the Omicron variant in November 2021 brought a third wave to India, with around 7,000 to 9,000 daily new Covid-19 cases being reported. Thankfully, the situation was under control, with confirmed cases showing asymptomatic or mild symptoms, as it was believed that natural infections in the last two years, vaccination of the adult population, and high transmissibility but less virulence of the Omicron variant resulted in the situation being relaxed.
While India began its vaccination program in January 2021, its positive impact was massively seen in the successful battle against the third Covid wave. Since then, things started falling back into place.
Cut to 2023, we are back to work and celebrating life when comes…
A sudden rise in cold and flu cases in India, particularly related to the H3N2 - a subtype of Influenza A virus, has now become another cause for concern. This virus has been linked to constant coughing, fever, and Covid-like symptoms, and unfortunately, it has already claimed nine lives in the country. The health ministry has reported a total of 451 cases between January 2 and March 5, 2023. While the situation is being closely monitored, people are understandably fearful of another potential pandemic looming amidst the ongoing battle against viruses. However, experts predict that the number of cases is likely to decline by the end of the month.
Nevertheless, the struggle seems to be never-ending but there is something that has kept people going.
Even amid the Covid-19 pandemic, hope kept us going. It provided us with the strength to believe that things would improve over time. Amidst the chaos, we found moments of tranquility that allowed us to restart our lives. However, the pandemic also instilled a sense of fear that life can be unpredictable and anything can come to an end without warning. Now, looking back on those days, we are left with a mixed bag of memories that sum up this unprecedented time in our lives.
- Learnt the art to live absolutely by myself and it is a life-skill.- Fought the battle of self body-shaming. Now evangelise on embracing thy’s body positively on work forums and social media.- Pinned an address to my name (big milestone of home buying)— Dimple Ranpara (@Dimplification) March 23, 2023
1. Got out of an abusive relationship2. Learned the true value of money and career.3. Finally learned how to be at peace with myself and love myself.— Tanya (@batatathots) March 22, 2023
22nd March, three years ago pic.twitter.com/xdg1ZR3YJU— Abhishek ︎ (@ImAbhishek7_) March 22, 2023
LMAO. I had Covid three years ago. Natural immunity still going strong and 56 by the way.— AllieMarie-TheCatLady♀️ (@alliemarie777) March 23, 2023
This feels like a journal prompt I need to sit down and meditate on cause God has been blessing me.— Nicole (@DrParker2u) March 15, 2023
Reading a lot of these solidifies the fact that we’re some savage warriors! And I’m so here for that! Y’all are all epic!!!— Britt (@unibats) March 18, 2023
It has indeed been a long three years.
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