AISV Chairman’s Message

It took the pandemic of the coronavirus to open our eyes to the problems confronting the world.

Firstly, the lockdown in various countries showed us the amount of pollution we were creating in the world. For example, for the first time in over 70 years, the people of Punjab were able to see the snowfield of the Himalayas, the pollution-free towns of India and how clean and pristine they looked. Some of the cities looked like any other town in Europe, beautiful and clean. Similarly, other polluting nations of the world had similar experiences.

Secondly, the pandemic brought our attention to the 'third world statuses' of most developed first-world nations. The highest rate of the spread of virus and deaths occurred in Italy, Spain, Greece, Sweden, the UK and America. Unfortunately, the deaths occurred in the poor, impoverished, old and migrant population, especially in countries like America and the UK. In some of the European countries, it was mainly the aged and infirm and nations that did not have the infrastructure to look after the very ill in their poorly equipped hospitals.

Thirdly, the head of nations who ignored the WHO warnings and warnings of their infectious disease specialists, fared the worst and unnecessary lives were lost that could have been saved had it not been for their ignorance and defiance of the expert health advice of their health organisations like the Centre for Disease Control. In this respect, the USA, Brazil and Sweden top the list.

What a difference a leader of the nation makes to the standing of its country in the world. America has so far the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world, over a million known cases with over two hundred thousand dead. The dead were mainly the poor Afro American, Hispanic and migrant population in the country. Unfortunately, these were the poor people who did not have or could not afford private health insurance and who died in the pandemic. Yet much of the suffering could have been avoided had President Trump, President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil and Sweden’s (epidemiologist) followed the advice of the very learned and expert health officials working in WHO.

The most direct human cost as of today is that more than a million people in the world have died, suddenly, prematurely. More than 200,000 deaths in the United States, over 142,000 deaths in Brazil and 5,870 deaths in Sweden out of a population of 10 million. President Trump, President Bolsonaro as well as Mr Anders Tegnell, Sweden's State Epidemiologist should be held liable for the fact that they sent messages after messages that masks were optional or not necessary, isolation was a no go and testing people for possible exposure was not essential despite expert advice from the WHO. All three should be tried for the genocide of their people.

The coronavirus has overtaken tuberculosis and hepatitis as the world's deadliest infectious disease and is still growing fast. It has spread across the globe, infecting millions of people and paralysing entire economies.

However, in Victoria, the government has been ardently following the advice of the medical experts and masks turned out to be more helpful than Western experts had predicted. Social distancing and lockdown on an unheard-of scale have been more feasible and practical than anticipated. The difference in danger between an outdoor gathering and an indoor one was found to be more extraordinary than expected and preventive measures like wearing masks and swift responses like isolating and testing people for possible exposure much more critical. These measures are working, and the number of Corona Virus cases are coming down in Victoria. On a sad note, over eight hundred people have died and most of them in aged care facilities because of an initial inadequate response to the virus and more so because of lack of adequately trained staff, lack of personal protective equipment and inadequate medical care during the pandemic. Mistakes have been made in the control of the virus leading to 859 deaths so fare in Australia, mostly in Victoria. Hopefully, all of us should learn a lesson from this catastrophic pandemic.

Dr. Gurdip Aurora,
Chairman AISV
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