Coronavirus and its outreach is a reality that lies in front of us and around us. The disease caused by it, Covid-19, has been officially declared a pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO) and other health agencies. In ‘pandemic’, ‘pan’ implies all consuming or just simply put encompassing everything and everyone, everywhere. We are made to understand once again that a virus does not segregate people into castes, races, colours, financial status, or anything else. Thus far, the planet earth appeared symbolic of an ailing human unable to attempt a return to complete recovery due to the lack of personal hygiene, political bickering, and failure to follow the government’s instructions on social distancing. Besides combating Covid-19, it is also important to make a society a better place for long term health and wellness. The measures that I would suggest to make this happen include:
-Cycling to the provision store, instead of taking a car or two-wheeler along. If people collectively take it upon themselves to follow this rule on weekends, then it can work as a two-day regeneration technique for the planet as a whole. The benefits would include increased blood circulation and thereby good health, by engaging in the much needed exercise for the body, which is overlooked on weekdays due to work commitments. In addition, a healthy body can combat any illness with great resilience.
-Facilitation of placement of spacious dustbins every fifty metres along the road, so that people follow the rules of hygiene in accordance with the law. This would annul every other excuse from a pedestrian or mobile traveler to throw plastic covers or garbage anywhere they would like. It will also help combat the spread of bacteria or virus that gets accumulated when garbage is dumped alongside the roads. To reinforce this idea, the government must ensure that everybody applying for a voter’s card, driving license or other government documents must mandatorily bring along a certificate stating successful completion of environment-friendly campaigns shouldered and lead individually. Even passenger trains must include trash cans near every berth in every bogey. This will alert people not to throw food packets out of the windows.
-The cleanliness of public toilets must be prioritized effectively as opposed to how they are maintained now. When people use unclean toilets, they might be susceptible to infections to people, which will make way for diseases. The government and health departments must maintain the basic hygiene requirements of the public toilets. Charging a fee to the users of public toilets may not be an effective way to maintain cleanliness and the government must try other means by which the toilets remain hygienic.
-The diet must include healthy food choices, especially for children. They must be presented with fruits and nuts rather than unhealthy snacks when bestowing praise for their good behaviour. In addition, children must be given a wholesome breakfast daily. This would make children sub-consciously inherit a healthy lifestyle and they will continue the same during adulthood. As an initiative to promoting a healthy lifestyle, children in school must be trained in different sporting events and a mandatory test score must be implemented in sports just like other subjects. However, they shouldn’t be forced to pick a sport. Rather, different sporting choices should be made available to them.
-As most infectious diseases (especially Covid-19) spreads primarily through close contact with others, children must be educated about standing in queues with a proper social distance. As they grow up as teenagers or adults, they should be asked not to take an overcrowded bus, metro, or train. Whether or not Covid-19 remains on our planet in the future, these habits help them get attuned to proper social distancing in public places. It also shows care for public transportation, fellow passengers, and most importantly for oneself. The government must also work toward a public transportation system that will provide for the proper distribution of masses in different vehicles.
-Now that we have seen the travails of migrants during the lockdown in April and May, the government’s budget allocation should be such that the lower rungs of the society are accounted for, especially in times of crisis. The government must re-allocate subsidies to support people below the poverty line and migrant workers. The current subsidy system is flawed and quite a few people with a good lifestyle seem to get perks from the government.
-The workplaces can provide their employees with an additional benefit of “pandemic relief” funds that they can avail with a return policy one year post the date of availing it. It would give them enough time to split a small percentage of their income each month without burdening themselves over managing daily expenses. In addition, all companies must train their new employees well in advance for “work from home” to avoid loss of work in an unprecedented crisis scenario. Furthermore, digitization of most workplaces must be the new norm so that the employees do not feel a sense of abandonment when at home. If possible, corporates must provide online meditation or yoga classes during work breaks. Such wellness classes also help team bonding, which will generate creative ideas among them besides improving productivity.
-Most of us find pleasure in indulging ourselves in social media offerings to find entertainment and moral directions in our lives. The entertainment industry is powerful in terms of its followers and therefore can influence our minds and alter thoughts in a specific way, which is not good for society from a long term standpoint. The bigwigs of this industry should take some more responsibility, and promote producing content with the agenda of hygiene and cleanliness rather than just doing only during Covid-19 times. The movie producers should also exhibit more social responsibility by placing proper disclaimers in their video and audio content for the benefit of current and future generations. On a related note, news channels should also avoid reporting unnecessary content on celebrity lives, vacations, and relationships.
-In times of crisis, the commoners look up to government and political leaders for guidance. At that moment, the depiction of unity would give strength to the people. The political parties must work in a coalition to make the best use of their ideas, and merge minds to provide effective strategies for governance. Mudslinging makes the people lose confidence over the leaders and therefore, shatters the societal bonds that are crucial in the functioning of a state or nation. The politicians could run joint political campaigns on wellness and personal hygiene.
Thus, as listed above, there are multiple ways by which we can counter covert illnesses such as Covid-19. While all the steps mentioned above may not relate to the current pandemic, they present a general perspective on how to lead a healthy and moralistic life. More importantly, they focus on the most commonly used phrase, “prevention is better than cure”, which is especially during the Covid-19 times. Let us remind ourselves that humans have faced similar situations before, and they survived by being united when dealing with a common enemy.
-Athira TP (One of the prize winners of Covid-19 Article Writing Competition in the 25-34 years age group)
Picture Credits: Pixabay.com via Pexels.com