Doing your Bit: Coronavirus and Social Distancing

by Sarvesh Jhanwar

It all started about 5 weeks earlier and I wasn’t very serious about the situation, but gradually I did as someone close to me got infected.

Five weeks earlier I was all okay celebrating my friend’s birthday, planning a trek into the Himalayas and then escaping out of college after the exams are over. But life doesn’t work that way.

This was a while before the “shutdown” was declared all over the country. We were aware of the spread and were taking precautionary measures but the excitement for the trip was always there. With all the bookings done we were all set to leave the next day, and then suddenly I received a call saying “Trek has been Called Off”. And at that point, almost every conversation included the word “virus”.

I decided to isolate myself and asked everyone close to me to do so and start Working From Home. A week later everything went to the hibernate mode. The nationwide lockdown was declared with only essential and emergency services up and running.

I have always been a person who loves going out, meet people and now when I had to stay at home it felt like I was in some kind of prison. I mean… I could relate to birds in a cage. The virus was everywhere now, and I was not able to concentrate on the work and used to check on everyone daily.

Going through the news for any updates every 2-3 hours was like a hobby now, and in few last flights from the US, one of my cousins came home and was found positive with the virus, which hit everyone hard. Though she was under observations now this was when I discovered how dangerous the virus was and how easily it can spread.

And here we are today almost 3 weeks into lockdown and waiting for things to get better so that we can resume our normal lives.

There are times we have studied about or seen documentaries on but living through one is like a disaster. I am glad that we were able to stock some supplies, food and essential for a few weeks. But still, I didn’t want anyone to be right about this. I wanted this to be a bad dream which gets over the next morning I wake up which I am still looking for.

After a lot of steps taken by the government and WHO I thought it was clear to everyone that we all have to come together and fight the virus by staying at home and maintaining social distancing. But I was shocked to see some people still taking COVID-19 lightly and risking it for all.

To be honest, I am not sure what makes me furious more:

  1. Despite knowing what happened in places like China and Italy and given hundreds of warnings by the government and the World Health Organisation (WHO), people still not taking it seriously.

OR

  • The fact the there isn’t more outrage about the above.

As much angry as it makes me and the people I speak to, at this point, we do have to focus on other things.

This is the time when there is no ‘you’ or ‘me’, There is only ‘us’.

If you are still taking it lightly and think it can’t affect you, then might the time to change and take a leap into reality.

What is that we are dealing with here?

The thing that we are dealing with here is not normal flu and hence we have to follow the instructions passed by valid sources and make sure of our safety and others too. Generally, people have different reactions to this.

  1. The government put a lot of trust in people and asking for their support and most of the people do stand up to whatever instructions are passed down and understand them.
  2. Then there are people of don’t understand things going around but follow what the government is passing as an instruction for their well being. Even though they may not like it.
  3. Then some are not at all concerned and still want to follow their normal routine.
  4. And last but not least people who don’t even bother. Why? Because it’s just a flu?

Lucky for us the majority follow in the first and second categories.

Getting familiar with what is happening?

Albert Einstein once said “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”

What we have to do now is put trust and understand the information coming out of official government sources and WHO and ignore all the rumors spreading around on social media.

The fight is not small as it is a new enemy we are facing and hence need to get our defenses up till we learn how to fight and win.

As it is a novel coronavirus, there’s limited information on it. So we must follow what doctors and scientists have for us in the past few weeks.

Flattening the Curve

Credits: Siouxsie Wiles and Toby Morris

You must have heard this phrase of “Flatten the curve” a lot in the last few weeks. The reason why we hear this a lot because it being that important.

Depending on the graph we can see how it can increase rapidly if precaution not being taken at the right time and as it crosses that line of “Health Care System Capacity” it will be hard to control. So keeping it under that line is the best chance to get through this. We all have witnessed what happened in Italy and New York City, and it’s terrifying.

The only way to protect the curve from reaching high is to follow the precautionary measures and support the government in keeping the graph lower than that line with their implementation of lockdown at an early stage of the outbreak. This is why most of us had to go into the hibernation mode, so we can avoid the termination phase.

Why is Social Distancing so crucial?

It’s become clear weeks ago, that how rapid the spread is and its containment was simply no longer possible. You don’t have to travel to the infected areas or be in contact with anyone who has it, just getting out of your home and you will be risking it all.

The only way we can contain the virus is by containing ourselves, which will include enforcing social distancing and reduce the demand in healthcare needs. We can’t ignore this and be delusional, as it dangerous and can transfer to anyone.

The government has closed all the public places, schools, universities and imposed a ban on public gatherings with the closure of all non-essential services and has advised “Work from Home”, “Stay at Home” and curfews to cope up with the situation.

This illustration is a good explanation of how we can save the spread by staying at home.

It is best for us, our families, healthcare workers, police, sanitation workers, and all the people risking their lives out there fighting this virus, that we stay at home.

Hard to Act on Is It?

Yes, it absolutely is.

I personally don’t like the idea of staying away from friends and family, as it sucks.

But making sure we all stay healthy until all of this is over, is more important else it will take us all.

Individuals Decisions don’t play a role anymore, it is we who have to take it now.

We all have a role to play in this.

Stay Informed And Avoid MisInformation

Other than corona, people falling sick of something that we call ‘fake news’. The amount of misinformation going around now Is much more than ever before so the only sources that can be trusted are the ones given to us by Government and the World Health Organisation.

People from India can install Aarogya Setu App to help the government keep a track of infected and follow the authenticated portals for any news updates over the virus.“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

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