Restoring Normalcy in India
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Restoring Normalcy in India

Tinat Atifa Masood | May 30, 2020 22:49 hrs


“The sea, rains, necessity, desire, the struggle against death ... these are things that unite us all. We resemble one another in what we see together, in what we suffer together. Dreams change from individual but the reality of the world is common to us all,” Albert Camus 


After the lockdown, what are the chances that we will be safe from the virus? What are the chances of a safe workplace? The root fear amongst people is whether moving around the city, the town, the village will ever be the same again. It certainly won’t. The lockdown got us used to social distancing. While we always thought human touch like shaking hands or hugging was a gesture of life and had become a part of our style quotient, now we probably would think a zillion times before getting close to anyone.


Remember those days when we would plan meetings at cafés or restaurants and we would spend hours over a meal, discussing and ideating? Now, we would become more wary about sitting for hours at a café and instead look around to see if the AC is from the ceiling, the wall or from the floor up which will be considered safer.


Offices will probably have to be re-designed from having employees sit close together to being more spaced out. Maybe the archaic cubicle could be one option because employees and employers will both now be exceptionally demanding about their health and security while they are at work.


Masks will be the new normal for people on the streets and office-goers. People have already started keeping hand sanitizers in their bags and this is what they will have to continue doing for a pretty long time.


Even during the lockdown, the country has seen a sudden spike in COVID cases and no one is obviously happy about it. The states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu are in for some serious medical activity as new cases are being detected in a matter of just 24 hours. And we have ourselves to blame for it; every time! The government has been reiterating about social distancing, wearing masks, staying at home but then some people feel it’s their birth right to disobey whatever rules have been set by the government. One fails to understand why these people have been showing so much obstinacy. If we have been told we can flatten the curve by doing all those things set by the WHO and the government, then we must understand it is we who will benefit if we obey. If not, then there will be no way out from the lockdown. 


Now, talking about the spike in the three states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, experts believe that this data could be the result of expanded testing or growth in the number of patients because of infection from the community. Either way, experts fear the start of an “avalanche” across the country since a vaccine or drug has still not been found to arrest the spread of the virus. Infections will continue to peak amongst the vulnerable till it reaches the 60% mark, a level at which it will probably stop.


One welcome step by the government and the Disaster Management Act is banning spitting in public places which could be devastating under the present situation. This vile act now carries a fine of Rs. 500. Spitting is a common habit of most people but what they don’t know is that their spit can be dangerous to public health since COVID-19 spreads through droplets. The saliva of an infected person has live germs and can carry the virus for more than 24 hours. Also, apart from saliva, the spit carries mucus, which is a habitat of many kinds of germs. Incidentally, the spitting in India occurs because of the excessive consumption of ghutka, which is a tobacco product. Young and old are addicted to the habit of chewing ghutka and spitting it across walls, streets, and footpaths. Now under the same act of Disaster Management, the government has banned the sale of tobacco and ghutka. 


Having said all this, I feel it is the bounden duty of every citizen to comply with the rules if they want a virus free country and want to resume activities like before. But till the time they continue to behave like immature adults, the chances of the country regaining normalcy are a far cry.
 

(The views expressed by the author in the article are her own)
 

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