Global confirmed COVID-19 cases have been rising since Omicron replaced Delta as the dominant variant. Due to the mild symptoms of Omicron, in addition to the fact that many infected patients can recover on their own, people's attitude toward both the seriousness of the pandemic and the acceptability of restrictive measures have been changing dramatically.
From an individual perspective, besides cooperating with the local government's measures against COVID-19, being aware of personal protection, such as wearing a surgical mask, getting vaccinated and social distancing, may well be the only factor we can control. Nevertheless, one may find three noteworthy elements throughout the process of confronting COVID-19, namely humility, reflection and gratitude.
Since the end of 2019, mass spread of COVID-19 has been reported around the world. In view of the unexpected crisis, on one hand was the worry of people living in the infected areas, on the other hand was the ridicule from some who lived elsewhere. Various concepts were noticed along with the pandemic development. Not only did it reflect the ignorance and arrogance of those who said such words, but it also revealed the fact that they were not prepared for the possibility of going through the same catastrophe.
Soon after, we all witnessed the United States, who has the most advanced technology and developed medical system, almost totally failed in the face of the spread of COVID-19. According to statistics provided by Johns Hopkins University, as of April 9, 2022, over 80 million total cases and over 985,000 deaths were recorded there. If we take a look at the most recent data from the World Bank, the entire population of the United States in 2020 was 329 million.
Instinctive feelings aside, are we prepared for the same situation in order to avoid making the same mistakes, or just simply seeing oneself as smarter and more exceptional? For instance, some of the following typical problems may still be found in different cities, including but not limited to the problem of the collapse of the medical system, the problem of insufficient quarantine facilities, the problem of epidemiological investigations lagging behind, the problem of formulating appropriate emergency plan (e.g. timetable for mass testing), the problem of adjusting restrictive measures (e.g. the criteria or indicator) and the problem of the supply of daily necessities. While watching numerous examples of pride going before a fall, one should stop and look in the mirror.
In this regard, being humble is important, because we may encounter the same challenges, may make the same mistakes and may need the same assistance. Humility allows one to learn to let go of pride and put oneself in the other's shoes.
As a famous online quote said, "There is indeed no carefree time, but someone has been shouldering the burden for you". In light of COVID-19, a significant number of medical staff, law enforcement, cleaning staff and logistics staff, have been working on the front lines subjected to varied extent of infection risks. Although the phenomenon of the so-called anti-pandemic fatigue is not surprising, some misbehaviors may in fact break the law, moreover jeopardize the efforts of those who have been keeping up their good work silently.
One should realize that, no matter how others behave, it cannot be an excuse for abandoning one's responsibilities in the battle against COVID-19. Keep blaming others or saying that all are the policies' faults have little effect in making the situation better. Furthermore, each country or region should design its anti-pandemic strategy with reference to its context. In terms of policy advice, we need to avoid falling into meaningless comparisons.
While facing the internal desire to criticize, we should all learn to restrain ourselves. This does not mean self-censorship, rather, bear in mind that criticism may not bring forward any contribution at all. From the perspective of fighting COVID-19 together, self-reflection encourages people to turn their focus, from finding fault with others to discovering one's potential, by thinking in what they can follow the example of front liners. If you think something is wrong with the current anti-pandemic work, apart from passively commenting on their limits and the possible causes, you may also actively participate in it, thereby improving the quality of work with your own efforts.
Although the end of the pandemic has not been seen yet, a considerable number of people are still willing to dedicate their time and effort to the work against COVID-19 in their respective cities. In addition to the city-wide passion and the sense of mission, such willingness is also backed by the factor of gratitude.
At the local level, taking Hong Kong as an example, "Hong Kong Volunteers Against Coronavirus", political party teams and civil organizations have taken an active role in supporting and caring for the local community. At the national level, Chinese people always have the spirit of "when one place suffers misfortune, help comes from all quarters". When Hong Kong suffered from the serious challenge of the fifth wave of COVID-19, the mainland immediately offered its support without hesitation, for instance, manpower in testing service, food supply and assistance in building "fangcang hospitals"(makeshift hospitals).
The recent outbreak of COVID-19 in Shanghai drew nationwide attention as well. In response, multiple provinces have lent a hand to the city. At the international level, the World Health Organization advocates the idea of sharing vaccines with those in need, and some of the countries are willing to undertake more missions in international aid.
Despite no professional training in the medical field, we can still devote ourselves to community services, and packing, delivering or distributing anti-pandemic materials can be a good start. Individuals may seem trivial on many occasions, however, remember that society is built on the unity of each "trivial" person. When everyone in society is willing to take a step forward, each tiny output will gradually gather into a mighty force. Together, we shall conquer.