COVID-19: Distress Signals

Wednesday, 27 May 2020



COVID-19: Distress Signals

Tinat Atifa Masood | March 21, 2020 12:39 hrs

The coronavirus has taken the world by storm. And there’s only one thing we as individuals and citizens of the world can do; take precautions and help the government while it is trying to help us.

The cases infected by the virus in India have climbed to more than 150 as of writing this article, with Maharashtra being the worst affected.

Though Assam does not have a single case of infection so far, the government is taking all kinds of precautions for the benefit of the people; our duty is to support the government the best we can. 

COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus. This virus is covered in spikes and it uses the spikes to invade. Until December 2019 there were only six coronaviruses. COVID-19 is the seventh. And all coronaviruses go for the lungs. The symptoms are a dry cough, fever and may be fatal viral pneumonia and this makes it all the more difficult to track the outbreak. 

The COVID-19 has travelled person-to-person, the prime reason why it has spread faster than any other virus and global health experts may sound cynical but they say this is not the last outbreak we are going to see. There is more to come in epidemic form.

And when we are witness to an epidemic of this proportion, who should we blame? Us, of course! Over the years, the way we have treated the planet, this was meant to happen. The more we abuse Nature these epidemics will only gather momentum.

Ever since the outbreak in Wuhan, China, my messages have gone up manifolds in my inbox with all kinds of theories, memes, et al. Jokes apart but this is no laughing matter. We have to deal with the situation and we have to bust the myths doing the rounds. 

Myth 1: Coronavirus will go away in summer when the temperature will rise.
The truth is, it is the wrong story going around. Ask yourself: Did previous pandemics follow weather patterns?

Myth 2: In summer, mosquitoes will increase the spread of the virus.
Absolutely not! The infection spreads through respiratory droplets, not through mosquito bites.

Myth 3: Hand sanitizers are better than soap and water.
Nope. Normal soap and water too does a great job of cleaning your hands and killing the virus.

Myth 4: To prevent COVID-19, it is essential to clean every inch of your home.
Give yourself a break. Until and unless you are looking after a COVID patient at home, your home is far from any risk.

Myth 5: What’s this big hullabaloo about social distancing? The virus won’t cause any harm.
Do us all a favour please. The WHO and the Government of India, both, have asked all of us to follow stringent rules and staying away from crowded places is one of them. Think of being more humane and become more sensitive towards other Earthlings.

Assam and the northeast do not have a single case of infection so far. The onus again lies with the people to take care of the situation while the government does its own duty.

Wash your hands frequently. Don’t touch your eyes, mouth or nostrils unnecessarily. Stay away from socialising for a couple of days. Don’t spit around, keep exercising, jog, run and of course be kind, spend more time with your family, read, write, compose songs, sing along, dance, do some gardening, eat healthy food and of course help people who need you the most. Leave the masks for the doctors and nurses. Don’t hoard everything from the supermarket shelves; spare some for others too! And about America and China spreading this virus, don’t believe everything you read. Right now, think of how we can prevent the country from moving to Stage 3 from Stage 2, where we are right now.

In short, slow down and let the Earth breathe easy, while you show some responsibility. Smile, stay calm and take it easy; all this will pass!  

(Tinat Atifa Masood is a writer and poet based in Guwahati. The views expressed are her own)

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