"Happiness doesn't come from doing what we like to do but from liking what we have to do." –Wilferd Peterson

The battle for breath

The second wave of the covid-19 has left infected patients gasping for breath as hospitals in some countries continue to face an acute shortage of medical oxygen. Many hospitals are currently operating on the edge due to a shortage of medical oxygen. Over the past few weeks, many breathless covid-19 patients have died due to the unavailability of medical oxygen in hospitals, especially in India. A flurry of SOS messages on Twitter and other social media platforms show the severity of the oxygen shortage. Meanwhile, governments are being slammed for the shortage of medical oxygen, which is necessary for hospitals to keep critical covid patients alive. Oxygen shortages are occurring because a large number of patients require oxygen therapy as part of their covid-19 treatment. Oxygen pipes in many older hospitals are not able to accommodate the increased flow demands due to design limitations. To reduce the draw on the wall oxygen in hospitals, portable oxygen is being used, especially in alternate treatment sites; however, the increased use of portable oxygen is contributing to a shortage of oxygen cylinders of all sizes. Timely oxygen delivery to hospitals has also been a problem, and oxygen flow regulators, which are needed for both wall oxygen and portable oxygen tanks, are in critically short supply. Hospital systems, state officials, and the federal government must act now to avert these problems in additional hospitals. Medical oxygen supplies are already at crisis levels in many countries and now, according to producers, Pakistan might also face an oxygen shortage if covid cases keep increasing at this rate. As hospitals in few cities reach capacity due to surges in covid-19 patients, this crisis is likely to be repeated in other locations. If enough areas are severely affected concurrently, a national crisis could ensue.

Daniyal Yaseen,

Ramadan price hike

While Ramadan is a time for tranquillity and blessing, in Pakistan people have only one thing on their minds – the skyrocketing prices. Each year as Ramadan approaches, Pakistanis fear the spike in prices of common grocery items that are especially used during the month. People blame the spike in prices to businesses taking advantage of the increased demand during the month. Certain commodities such as gram flour, dates and certain other foods especially get expensive. Sometimes retailers blame the rising prices to ‘shortages’, however, people claim that sellers are known to create artificial scarcity around certain products just to justify the increased prices. An average or less affluent citizen cannot afford such expensive commodities. As a result, it creates a feeling of deprivation among the lower income class. In Pakistan, there is no check and balance to see if the said prices are being implemented. Although, the government has issued a price list for Ramadan, the implementation of the price list is the main goal. So, even if the government sends out a reduced price list to sellers, there is no check and balance to see if the said prices are being implemented. With this in mind, stalls located on streets continue to charge hefty amounts for the same vegetable, or perhaps fruit, that they were selling at half the price before Ramadan. However, there is a dire need for the implementation of the price list so that the general public can benefit from the government policies. I believe that the authorities have to be more rigorous with their policies if they expect to implement change. Higher fines need to be imposed, businesses need to be shut down and people need to be jailed instead of being let go after mild warnings.

Beenish Saleem,