The Financial Express

Bracing for a fraught winter  

| Updated: December 13, 2020 21:31:55

Bracing for a fraught winter   

Winter presages a dreadful time in the European and North American countries. In those regions, many people simply cringe in fear at the very mention of this dreadful season. To them, the season stands for snowfall for weeks in a row, blizzards and disrupted road communications leading to confinement at home. All these are parts of myriad ordeals for the people. There was a time, when the common people didn't have any heating system large enough to keep a home tolerably warm in cold regions. This situation has now changed radically. Fireplaces or room heaters these days are common facilities at home interiors. But many other woes continue to plague the lives of many in these countries. Homeless people sleeping by night in cardboard shelters under roadside shades are common spectacles.

This year's winter portends other dreadful realities. Dominant of them is the feared increase in the incidence of the ongoing corona pandemic. Medical experts and epidemiologists apprehend fresh bouts of hospitalisations, deaths and movement restrictions. Many large cities have already been brought under the coverage of lockdowns. In short, winter-dominant countries have started bracing for a pandemic-ridden bitter cold season. The countries in the warmer zone this winter are also not free of the woes afflicting the winter-dominant regions. Notwithstanding the sunny weather, no snowfall and seasonal festivities, these veritably warm countries have also been alerted to the winter bite in the coming cold months. When it comes to Covid-19 vaccine drives, antigen-based rapid testing and other diagnoses, Bangladesh presents a messy picture. The grim episode begins with the general people's indifference towardsabiding by the universal corona-time health guidelines, which begins with wearing face-masks and maintaining physical distance. Most of the people in the large cities, including capital Dhaka, do not care a figabout these elementary preventive measures. A suicidal nonchalance, at times bordering on recklessness, rules the roost.

According to people dealing with these situations, the chaotic and slapdash corona negative-positive tests provide a faint cue to the anarchy in the making. As they apprehend, once the Covid-19 vaccines begin arriving in the largely unprepared country, another round of cabalistic and corrupt activities may overwhelm the whole scenario. As a consequence, those who badly deserve vaccination may find themselves left back in a miserable situation.

Winter is the season of dozens of festivities in Bangladesh. Except the biting cold waves in the country's northern and south-western regions, the general people have traditionally been used to passing the season in joy. Although winter this year has announced its arrival a little earlier than in the past, people with common wisdom do not detect anything ominous in it. In reality, the seasonal cycle in the land appears to have reverted to its age-old style of arrival and exit. It may not be surprising if climatologists discover an extraordinary pattern of climate change in this seasonal punctuality. In spite of conjecture,the now-dreadful season of winter has made its timely onset in Bangladesh. As the country's name has appeared on the corona-linked list of the mildly worse-affected countries, there are cogent reasons to remain prepared for facing the pandemic's second wave. Precautions coupled with awareness do not require people or the health authorities to spend extra money. As could be found throughout the globe, to many developing countries the looming catastrophe in the form of a pandemic is just business-as-usual.  

Warnings are already in the air. It may not give the carefree people much time to revisit the space of preparations to stave off the period of pandemic woes. In such cases, this dawdling may lead to terrible fatalities. After the cataclysm is over, there may be few people around to feel sad about theirfoolhardiness.


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