Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Suggestions to sail through tough times of COVID-19

While the whole world battles out the COVID-19, I thought I would pen down some of my thoughts to my Indian readers, to reduce anxiety and to support in containment of the spread.

'News' about the spread:

1. Don't get bogged down by the increasing number of cases in India. The first case reported in India was on Jan 30, 2020 and the first case which was not linked to China was reported on March 2, 2020. This person might have got infected around 10 days ago, at the time when the cases in Europe and Middle East were on the rise. The number of travellers arriving in India in January was 3,81,267. Averaging out to 3 lakhs, we can assume that around 3 lakh people came to India in Feb and March (and equal number travelled back).
2. Of 3 lakh people, assuming 1% of the people being infected, the total number of cases will rise to 3000 only by people who have travel history.
3. There will be a certain number of locally transmitted cases here, much more than the ones from outside. Lets keep it equal for now. Maybe total of 6000.

Will lockdown/curfew help?

1. Yes it will certainly help in containment of the spread, provided people are sincere in following the Govt's orders.

Will we see a decline in the numbers?

1. Not immediately. On the contrary, we will see a massive surge in cases for sometime even during lockdown since there might already be several unreported/un diagnosed infections acquired over the last 2-3 weeks.
2. We may see a sharp decline in the cases after 2-3 weeks of lockdown, when the existing cases peak out.

Do we need to panic?

1. Not really. But need to be careful and safely confined to your place. Avoid elderly people venturing out.
2. Do not spread rumours/news which don't seem authentic.
3. Keep away from negative posts on social media. Blocking the friends on Facebook who always post negative may help.
4. Don't keep track of each and every new case on the TV. This increases anxiety. Be mentally prepared for a big number before the numbers reduce.

Can we go out?

1. Only to go out to buy groceries, medicine or any unavoidable work. But its safer to return back soon and have a shower and wash your clothes before interacting with people inside your house.
2. Do not hoard groceries and household items.

Can we invite guests/housemaids/unknown people?

1. No. Its better to isolate yourself from social life.
2. Housemaids should be given paid leave for a month or two if it is possible. Elderly people can employ 24*7 maids who do not work anywhere else.

How can we help people who are not privileged?

1. Central and different state Governments are trying hard to provide sufficient help to people who are not privileged enough to afford food/medicine. For example, Karnataka Government has directed Indira canteens to provide free food for the poor. Keep an eye on such initiatives and inform the needy.
2. Some religious institutions like Tirupati Tirumala Trust, Velankani Church, Gurudwaras and Wakf boards can use their space and money to contribute during these hard times.
3. There are some voluntary organizations who are inviting the youth to join them in helping the poor/elderly. This is the right time for the healthy youth to commit to this cause and help the already strained cleaners/drivers/doctors/nurses/police/journalists and many more. However this is not recommended to people who are suffering from any illness or those who already live with elders. Mostly well to do people who mostly live alone or do not have much interaction with too many people daily.
4. Some voluntary organisations are also collecting money to help those who need assistance. Contribute if you can.
5. If you have any unoccupied house, please reach out to the concerned authorities if that can be leased out as a quarantine facility temporarily.

What should we do at home?

1. Now that we are confined to our homes, we can try cooking meals for ourselves.
2. There are recommendations from doctors/hospitals/experts on different kinds of fruits/vegetables to boost your immunity. Try to consume those.
3. Try to learn new languages
4. Give your maids a break and learn household chores.
5. Learn new technologies through e-learning'
6. Learn Yoga, meditation
7. Maybe try to relate to your grandma's words on health and cleanliness.
8. Try to look back at what you have achieved and maybe realise that life is not a rat race. Maybe money and building assets are not the only things that help you in crises :)

What if we suspect an infection?

1. Do a self assessment through apps available in the market, consult your family doctor and follow his/her guidelines. Do not flood the hospitals without your doctor's consent.

Can we travel?

1. Travel is the last thing one should think of in the current scenario. Unless one has a strong reason, please avoid travel. For travel freaks, go through your previous travel photos/videos and try to create content which can help future travelers once the situation normalizes.

Will this be the end of the world?

1. Not at all. We still have a long way to go. This might just be a warning by nature not to abuse her resources and show empathy and concern towards your fellow humans. Also let other species on the planet live their lives peacefully.

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