Combating Covid-19: Why Social Distancing is Crucial for India at this Stage

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Combating Covid-19: Why Social Distancing is Crucial for India at this Stage

Chayanika Das | March 21, 2020 11:17 hrs

•    India enters Stage 3 of Covid-19

•    Covid-19 claimed 6 lives and more than 300 cases have been reported so far

•    Indians need to educate themselves on Covid-19 and start maintaining social distancing immediately

•    Prime Minister Narendra Modi declares ‘Janata Curfew’ on March 22

•    The four stages are – imported cases, local transmission, community transmission, epidemic

•    Citizens still gather in huge numbers despite several warnings by government officials, doctors and experts

•    Indians show how not to fight the disease

The entire world continues to live in a nightmare as Coronavirus sweeps through countries and spreads from person to person. The World Health Organization (WHO), on March 11, declared Covid-19 as a pandemic. 

There are a total of four stages and India has entered Stage 3 of Covid-19, where Italy was two-three weeks ago. But Indians are still not educating themselves enough on the disease and are taking the matter lightly. According to reports, a total of 223 cases have been confirmed in India so far with four deaths. In just 24 hours, 20 fresh cases were reported in India with Chhattisgarh and Chandigarh reporting their first COVID-19 patients on early Thursday.

We have been advised to regularly wash our hands, wear masks if we show symptoms of Covid-19 but what is most important for India right now is social distancing. All we have to do is just stop ourselves from large gatherings so that we could plummet ourselves into the next phase of community transmission. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on March 19, addressed the nation on Covid-19 and declared ‘Janata Curfew’ on March 22. With India having a population of more than 1 billion, is one day enough to contain the situation?

Indians are still gathering in large numbers – vice

Despite so many warnings by the government, doctors, experts and seeing what Italy is going through on television and social media, people in India still choose to live in denial. Many have even called out the country for not testing enough.

Most of the states in India, including Assam, have gone into a partial lockdown phase and has shut down schools, gyms, public pools, theatres, malls. Some have even shut pubs and restaurants.Yet, in Uttar Pradesh, lakhs of people are gearing up to gather for the Ayodhya Ram Navami Mela which is being held from March 25 to April 2. However, a section of national media has reported that the mela will be called off and a decision would be taken in this regard very soon. At the same time, devotees believe that “this Ram Navami will be different” since it is the first after the Supreme Court allowed for the contentious plot of the Babri Masjid to be made into a Ram Mandir. Many on the other hand believe that the controversial Citizenship Amendment (CAA) law is more threatening that the coronavirus for which they have come out in large numbers to protest.
 
When India was at Stage 2 of the outbreak, around 5,000 anti-CAA protestors on March 18 gathered at Chennai’s Marina Beach to oppose the law that has been criticized for excluding Muslims — protests for which have been taking place around India since December 2019. While the rest of the country fights to stop the virus from spreading, some citizens come together to make things even more difficult. 

On March 17, a 33-day protest by Muslim women at Washermanpet, dubbed Chennai's Shaheen Bagh, was called off in solidarity with the country's fight against Corona Virus.
The central government requested states to enforce work for home for private sector employees, except for those working in emergency and essential services.

"State governments shall issue appropriate directions so that all citizens above 65 (other than for medical assistance) except for public representatives or government servants or medical professionals are advised to remain at home," the government statement noted.

“Similarly, all children below 10 should be advised to stay at home and not to venture out,” it added.

Here’s how containing coronavirus depends on you

When one suffers from a common flu, the symptoms show up in about two days but Coronavirus symptoms take an average of five to six days to appear. So the virus spreads without one’s knowledge. When coronavirus spreads in a community, around 20% of the cases are severe and may require hospitalization. The numbers can multiply due to which hospitals will start filling up and the severe cases of Covid-19 who can’t receive proper medical attention will be at a higher risk of dying.

It is difficult to stop the virus from stopping it completely but we can slow it down. Here is when each one of us comes in. The only way now to slow the virus from spreading is to limit social contact as much as possible, immediately. This will only work when each one of us understand the gravity of the situation and start social distancing. 

Indian’s teach how “not to fight the disease”

While the rest of the world is working on vaccines for the disease, India makes cow urine its cure. On March 17, a BJP activist was arrested in Kolkata for organising a cow urine consumption party where a civic volunteer fell ill after drinking it.

Narayan Chatterjee, 40, a local party worker of Jorasakho area in North Kolkata, organised a cow worship programme at a cowshed and distributed cow urine, claiming that it will protect people from coronavirus or cure those already infected, according to police officials.

In Dankuni, about 20 kms from Kolkata, milk vendors are selling cow urine at Rs 500 a litre and cow dung at Rs 500 a kilogram.

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