Mon, 25 Jan 2021

by Xinhua Writer Zhang Xin

BEIJING, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- The global COVID-19 caseload surged by another 10 million within three weeks' time, hitting 60 million worldwide as of Thursday afternoon, according to the World Health Organization.

With winter setting in the Northern Hemisphere, the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is apparently hitting the still struggling world another crack.

While the new grim milestone has sounded the alarm once again just how strenuous it is for the human race to tame this highly infectious and cunning pathogen, it is all the more imperative for the international community to urgently take stock of what has to be done to improve the world's fight against this microbe enemy, or at least to hold back the spiking infections.

For starters, governments around the world need to try harder to promote a fact-based understanding of the deadly virus and a more rational perception of prevention and control measures.

Around the world, countries like China, Japan, South Korea and Singapore, by carrying out such moves as mask-wearing, temperature monitoring and virus tracing, have proved that this pandemic can be contained effectively.

Furthermore, as the human race is becoming increasingly experienced in battling the disease, restrictions such as social-distancing and lockdowns can be tailored to a specific situation so that their impact on people's lives, as well as social and economic undertaking within a country or a city, can be cushioned considerably. In recent weeks in Europe, which is fighting hard against the second wave, Germany and other nations have taken effective measures and achieved positive results.

However, the United States, whose coronavirus infections and deaths remain the highest in the world for months, still lacks real actions. And as the anti-pandemic fight drags on, the COVID-19 fatigue has grown into a real concern, making the already hard fight tougher.

As the Thanksgiving is arriving, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration and American Automobile Association have recorded and forecast spikes in the number of travellers over the holidays.

After almost a year under the shadow of the pandemic, aspirations for family gatherings are understandable, yet the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and many medical experts have advised against such trips.

"I worry that the Thanksgiving Day surge will then just add into what will become the Christmas surge," warned Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Recent advances in vaccines research and development are indeed encouraging. Yet if infections would continue to surge at the present pace, health-care systems in certain countries might already get overwhelmed before the vaccines become readily accessible.

What is more daunting is the recent rise of anti-vaccine sentiments in countries like the United States, which are highly counterproductive at this testing hour.

"A vaccine with a high degree of efficacy is of no use if nobody gets vaccinated," senior U.S. infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci said, calling on the government to persuade people to get vaccinated.

The 60 million cases have blown a jarring siren that the pandemic will not fade away unless the necessary actions can be taken and the global community can work together. And in this epic fight, governmental guidance and personal responsibility are equally important and mutually irreplaceable.

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