COVID-19 Pandemic: Is there a silver lining in the clouds

Smriti Sharma
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry,
Miranda House, University of Delhi, India

SARS Cov-2/COVID-19 has been recognised as a potential global health threat due to its high mortality, extraordinary basic reproduction number and lack of clinically approved drugs and vaccines by World Health Organisation (WHO). According to Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report – 98 by WHO, this disease has spread all over the globe with 2 8,78, 24 196 confirmed cases and 1,98, 668 deaths as on 27 April, 2020.

All over the globe people are affected by COVID-19 and it is being recognised as the worst pandemic of this century. There is no sphere of life that is not impacted by SARS-CoV-2, be it economic, social, physical health or mental health.

The isolation and physical distancing is extremely distressing for Indian populace where social relationships are a way of life. The lockdown has to an extent taken form us the support and comfort that socialising provides. This pandemic is shaping the behaviour of Indians like no other. Also, most important problem in quarantine is exponentially increasing barrage of misinformation which is leading to health anxiety, sleep disturbances, panic attacks, depression and loneliness. There is so much scare of stigma associated with the disease that people are not revealing their travel histories and symptoms. In India, like other countries, there is hoarding of hoard food, essentials or medical supplies such as antibiotics, analgesics, anti-allergic medicines, face masks, sanitisers. This is because of the increasing panic and unpredictability about the future which increases day by day due to all forms of media. It is very important to realize the importance of good mental health because it is directly proportional to the immunity of the body.

In these times of uncertainty and unpredictability, the need for positivity becomes even more critical. What are the positives we can take from this situation? It is very important that a sense of positivity in the community is maintained. Misinformation or discouraging news should be avoided. One should limit the use of social media and news so that one is not continuously bombarded with negative news. One should try to take heart in the fact that India’s growth rate for the curve is not very steep right now. The reason given is early announcement of lockdown and our universal policy of BCG vaccination. Countries without universal policies of BCG vaccination like Italy, Spain, UK, Netherland and USA are more severely affected compared to countries with long established BCG vaccination policies like India in spite of being so populous. One should appreciate and spread news like this. Family relations have become all the more important in this time of distress. We should appreciate our family and those who are with us and should try to maintain an attitude of thankfulness and gratitude. Change your perspective towards the mundane chores of household and take pride and joy in spending time preparing something for the family. In fact, in a broader sense coronavirus has brought families together.

One cannot stress enough the importance of exercising and pursuing hobbies like singing, or playing an instrument to achieve focus, calmness, and satisfaction. Exercise releases endorphins that are feel-good hormones and help in overall strength of the body. Very important point is to maintain physical distancing but not lose the social connect. One should not hesitate in approaching one’s neighbours, friends or work colleagues over the phone or at a safe distance, to enquire about how they are coping up. Also, one should try and catch up with the elderly population in one’s area especially if they are living alone.

Most of the companies are offering option of work from home in order to keep everyone safe and healthy. This is proving to be very good for the environment. This is evidenced specially in a polluted city like Delhi where it was impossible to spot blue sky but now plants are greener and sky is clearer and has turned from grey to blue. There has definitely been significant improvement in air quality. Other benefits of working from home are improved work/life balance and decreased traffic congestion. Also, one must recognise the combined efforts of all the scientists across the globe. The coming together of scientists all across the world to find a cure, sharing of resources and knowledge has never been seen in the course of humanity.

There is more sophisticated and flexible use of technology, people are relying on apps to connect them to their loved ones or for office meetings. Those who were unaware or simply reluctant to learn new technologies are learning it. There is a revived appreciation for the outdoors and life’s other simple pleasures and people are realizing how many things they took for granted. All this gives a perspective and bigger picture in life. There is definitely a greater national solidarity and functionality as we have to deal with this common enemy. Society is finally realising the futility of over relying on materialistic things. It is evident who should be our real heroes and ideals; the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, teachers, caregivers, utility workers whose sacrifice should be hailed as true patriotism

One must realise that this global pandemics and it does not discriminate across religion, country, caste, social status. This shared vulnerability of human race against this virus has in fact united us all and reminds us of the Indian way of life, the basis of which is वसुधैवकुटुम्बकम् meaning "the world is one family". Hope humanity learns its lessons and comes out stronger from this crises.


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