Masks, PPE, Sanitisers and Social Distancing! These are the magic or the golden words of the day. Our motherland along with other nations have been under lockdown for about two months. Yet, the number of coronavirus positive cases has been increasing rapidly over the days and weeks. This shows that there must have been some problem in dealing with the Covid-19. While it might be hard for people, stricter rules of lockdown (or stringent safety instructions for the current unlock phase as of this writing) seems to be the most effective way to deal with the pandemic.
Staying indoors is the key to staying safe as it is now widely accepted that coronavirus can spread through asymptomatic carriers. One may wonder what to do at home. There are many ways in which we can keep ourselves engrossed. This might be the best time to indulge in our hobbies and doing some teamwork at home! Now, even if we are home most of the time, we have to still go out at some point to buy groceries and other essentials. Masks (and preferably gloves too) should be worn while going to the market, and clothes worn should be immediately washed after coming home. We can’t be taking easy on these safety measures; some of the western countries are seeing the result of not complying with these measures. While everybody is hoping the current state of medical science and technology should bring us a vaccine for the coronavirus or drugs to cure the Covid-19, it may not happen at the least for the next several months. Thus, in the absence of a vaccine or a drug, staying indoors, social distancing, and wearing masks might be the only effective solution. Of course, good personal hygiene is also essential but that’s something we have to do it anyway regardless of the pandemic; especially, after learning some hard lessons over the last few months.
While the citizens with steady income and savings can afford a lockdown, what about the poor and people in the lower rungs of the society? They cannot even afford a square meal a day, let alone a proper diet. Every day, there is news about migrant labourers being crushed by a train, unemployed, or getting back to work even if it means their health is at risk. What can be done to stop these? While the government may be doing its best to provide financial and other support to the migrants, the general public must also be sensitive to the migrants’ issues and provide assistance wherever necessary. I believe part of migrants’ issues (whether during Covid-19 or otherwise) is due to a lack of awareness and education among them. When the situation improves, both the central and state governments must develop programs to provide basic education that will improve their standard of living.
The biggest impact of pandemic (besides the loss of lives) is the declining trade and commerce. While some industries such as pharmacies, hospitals and online stores continue to grow, others like manufacturing, restaurants, movie halls, entertainment parks, hawkers, etc. have taken a back seat. With the latest technological tools, some of these businesses can think of getting back to normalcy as there is no alternative in sight given the uncertainty about how long the pandemic will last.
Politics is an integral part of society. It is the pivot around which the entire globe seems to go around. Commoners criticize politicians who in turn engage in verbal duels with other politicians. While it might be a necessary evil in a democratic society, I think we should all put our differences aside for the common good at this juncture. The First Lady of India, Ms. Savita Kovind, has set a good example for others by stitching face masks for others. While we are all aware of the Rashtrapati Bhavan where she resides might be one of the safest places to live away from the general public, it didn’t deter her from thinking about the common good. In essence, we must all think like one big family now working for the common good of society and the globe.
A lot of people in our country, especially in rural areas, do not have good access to electricity and mobile data. Since the schools in urban areas are conducting online classes for their students, the kids in rural areas seem to be left behind due to the lack of a smartphone, laptop, or mobile data. This will create even higher disparity among different sections of the society, even greater than what we see during normal times. Thus, it is imperative that the governments and non-profits come up with ways and means to provide technical assistance to the kids in rural areas. In addition, the privileged, wealthy, and professional workers in urban areas must think about giving their surplus or unused materials to the needy in villages and towns. This would also contribute a cleaner and a greener environment as the wastage will be reduced or recycled.
It is never too late to bring about a change for the common good, and the current pandemic does provide us an opportunity to create a more egalitarian society. Together we stand, and we can combat the Covid-19 more effectively and overcome the current crisis.
-Alina Datta (One of the prize winners of Covid-19 Article Writing Competition in the 13-17 years age group)
Picture Credits: PTI