We have been awestruck, dumbfounded and terrified by the way a "simple" virus has been attacking the human race, which first broke out in Wuhan, a city in Hubei province of China, in December 2019.
I say "simple" because we never thought we would be needing protection from a virus in such a massive scale. We were worried about things much bigger, like the nuclear weapons and stock market falls, but never in our wildest dream did we think a virus could do much massive harm to humanity.
It has been reported that, most of the cities that were attacked first by coronavirus, were located near the equatorial line. Now, it has spread elsewhere in the globe.
Iran reported its first case of novel coronavirus on February19. Three days later, Italy reported its first case on February 22. At that time, South Korea was having its largest spike.
In the last four months, the virus has spread to more than 180 countries and territories , and have claimed over 70,000 lives.
Spain reported more than 13,000 deaths, while New York has been declared as having highest number of coronavirus infection in the United States. As of April 7, USA recorded 10, 943 deaths from coronavirus, of which 4,758 took place in New York.
Many theories, remedies and cures have circulated on social media platforms since the coronavirus outbreak. Some even went as far as inventing alternative treatment for the pandemic.
People around the world created platforms for many religious 'duas' in different parts of the world. I am all for it and have participated in some of these prayer ceremonies.
What still baffles me, is that for many years environmentalists have been warning the people that they (humans) are overdoing everything: misuse of the natural water, trees, air pollution, all have affected our mother earth, which is being ruined more and more every year.
I could give different data, but I think everyone is aware of all those. When Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg gave her first speech on saving the environment, different quarters came up with conspiracy theories to prove that she was set up by some corporations.
Nobody took notice that the mother nature was screaming on top of her lungs telling us that she was suffocating, and needed to heal. Humans like Greta were given voices on behalf of her.
It's not only Greta, many more like her in different parts of the world have been trying point at things we were doing weren't right, and if we wanted to survive, our ways must be changed.
A couple of weeks ago, Greta reiterated the need for saving the Earth. She said that she may have been affected by coronavirus mildly, but since Sweden only tests the severe cases, she has not been tested.
She called upon all to save the planet and said "We must fight the climate crisis and the pandemic simultaneously."
We failed to slow down the carbon emission even after the iceberg of Antarctica melted at an alarming fast pace, resulting in the sea levels to rise. In addition, the ice in the Arctic region has also been melting at a very alarming rate since 2016.
But the world leaders did not do much.
Most of the wildfires were caused by human errors. In 2019, Australia saw the worst bushfire recorded in decades, which destroyed over 12 million hectares of lands. Canada and USA have had bushfires often too.
The picture in our neck of the woods is somewhat grimmer. In Bangladesh, we failed to save our rivers and canals, anyone who has ever tried to go on a river cruise on Buriganga knows it.
The pitch-dark water gives out a stench, which is enough to suffocate anyone nearby. Yet, we endure the smell and hold our breaths till we go to a part where the water becomes clearer.
Most of us forget about the pitch-black water once we have returned from a joyous trip and of course posted some nice photos on the social media.
However, there are still some rivers like Surma in Sunamganj, and the haors, that are fresh and clean, but with the growing number of visitors in these places and the surge of garbage dumping, it will soon become polluted.
In addition, our sandy sea beaches are now filled with plastic bags and other waste materials.
Pieces of broken plastic bottles wash away to the shore come floating with the waves. Volunteers and cleaners are picking bags, trash cans and other waste dumped on the beaches.
What I am saying is that it is not enough unless each and every one of us make a conscious choice of not throwing trash on the beach and the water.
In 2004, I visited an adivasi village of the JenuKurba tribe in Karnataka of India. It amazed me to see how the tribal people share the resource of the earth with other living beings.
They live in simple huts, and when I peeped inside there were a very few things: a pot for water, two or three cooking pots and a set of plates and glasses. They welcomed us with honey collected from the beehives and served those on tree leaves. They informed that they never take all the honey from the hives as the bears living in the woods would need it too. The same thing is maintained when they pluck vegetables from the garden patches, they leave some for the rabbits and squirrels.
Similarly, in our adivashi locality, they grow most of their own food, weave their own clothes and hardly produce any waste. In fact, I did not notice any plastic or polyethene waste while I was there roaming around the village for about two hours. This is what mother nature appreciates: inclusion of other beings.
More often humans act selfish and use the resources of the earth without thinking of replenishing, or of other beings who might need a little share of some of the things.
For example, it takes around 2000 gallons or 7600 litres of water to make a pair of jeans.
The branded companies dig deep into the earth to get their own water plant, causing underground water level to recede and minerals being sucked up through the pumps. In addition, such activities are lowering the water level and causing risk of more earthquakes.
I have read many reports, articles regarding this issue but the situation remained unchanged.
When we heard about a virus that attacked people in Wuhan, we also learned about people dying while they were walking past as no one knew what it was.
Gradually, we also saw China tackling the pandemic by building field hospitals where thousands of patients were treated.
The pandemic spread to Iran, Italy and Spain, who could not handle it like China. It has spread to many major cities now and everyone is fighting to keep people from getting infected.
Many videos on what or what not to do have gone viral on the social media since the inception of the Covid-19. Some were again proven wrong, leaving us, the general population in a maze of confusion, disbelief and doubt.
A report from China, said that the virus obstructs air passage and hence patients need to be on ventilators. Ever since, many big companies started making ventilators, but the testing kit for coronavirus is still very scarce.
Gonoshathya Kendra declared they will make testing kits and got the government nod to proceed. On April 6, they declared the kits will be made available by April 11. Now we are hoping they will come with the kit very soon, and widespread testing will be possible.
By now, most countries have gone into a "lock down". As a result, the roads are free of vehicles and factory chimneys stopped emitting smoke. The vibration of construction has been replaced by chirping of the birds, beautiful blue sky and something breathtakingly beautiful: dancing dolphins on the all beaches of the world.
News of animals leaving their sanctuary and walking around the localities have broadcasted by some television channels. According to one news report there has been a drop in seismic noise, the hum of vibrations on the planet's crust, due to less movement of vehicles and shutting down of factories.
While this is harmful for the world economy, one must understand that mother nature had been giving signs of not being able to take all the frenzy movement by its inhabitants, ruining its natural resources, for a long time.
Hence, who knows the virus that is obstructing our tracheal system, is just to show what the mother nature feels when we were trying to suffocate her.
Some environmentalists said when the outbreak subsides, we may see multinationals and global economies pacing for a faster recovery, hence it may produce more greenhouse gases than before in a short time.
Many countries will not be able to keep up with the Paris agreement pledges to reduce carbon emissions. Even then, for now the mother earth is healing its wounds, reducing its scars, it is breathing.
Let it heal and let us learn the lesson of not hurting it as we did in the past. Let us find better ways to use the resources that has been bestowed upon us. Surely we can. We must.
Jackie Kabir is a fiction writer and a translator.