COVID TIMES

The morbidity of the current phase the world is experiencing needs no introduction. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect something like this. As a child, my Social Studies teacher explained, in detail about a disease, an epidemic and a pandemic and the impact of an epidemic on the economy. The teacher insisted that these topics are important from the exam point of view.

Those long, sleepy, boring afternoons were gone writing down notes about all these topics. I always wondered why Social Studies class was during the after-lunch session. I cursed the Ministry of Education for including these topics in the syllabus.

“With all the advancements in Science, Technology and Medicine, is it even possible to have a pandemic? Why are they making us learn all these definitions?”, I complained to my friends. Today I have to eat my words.
“How did we get here?”, sometimes I wonder. How did we forget to learn from the experience of other countries suffering from this crisis? Why did some national leaders get complacent and what on earth convinced them that this deadly virus will not reach their shores? With a plethora of social media platforms like Whatsapp, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and what not filling up our airspace and phones with a tsunami of information from every far corner of the earth, how did we not take care and proper precautions to avoid the spread of this deadly disease? Did we really need the government to lay down an iron-handed rule before we take things seriously?

While some people took the required precautions, some of us took to the beach. While some headed to the supermarket to hoard up supplies, some used the time to party with friends and family. I don’t blame any of them, in fact, I never expected the world to come to a standstill, nor did I believe that so many innocent lives will be lost.

Today the hospitals are like a war zone and all the hospital staff are the brave soldiers fighting to save humanity. The police force that normally is engrossed in fighting crime is playing the roles of either a kind mother begging people to stay home or a desperate father who does not hesitate to serve a few hot ones with his cane just to keep people safe. The internet is flooded with sad stories, the newspapers are crying out woeful figures of fresh new cases and news channels on T.Vs, show videos and images that bring tears to the eyes of even the hardest hearted person.

My heart is filled with pain for those who are suffering and fear for the safety of my family and friends. Doubts loom large in my mind about how long will it take for this dark spell to break? When will the economies around the world heal? Is there any use in the blame game that is making rounds in the world of rumours? These dark times forecast a bleak tomorrow. As the world is choked with desolation, all we can think of now is to get down on our knees, look up to the sky and pray.

Pray for hope, pray for the lives that are battling for a breath of air, pray for a safer tomorrow for all of us. Stay home and stay safe.

Lessons Learnt From COVID-19 Pandemic.

Today, all headlines are dominated by information about or related to COVID-19. Social media too is inundated with the same topic, even comics and jokes are not spared. I don’t blame them for this. If one looks at the latest updates, a staggering number of people are infected in different countries around the world. There are close to 200,000 people affected in 146 countries and the number of fresh new cases continues to rise.

According to the World Health Organisation website, “Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that causes illnesses ranging from a common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).”

In light of this, it is very easy for people to panic. More than fear of our safety, we are concerned about our loved ones who are elderly and vulnerable. It scares us to hear about all the people in China, Italy, Iran, Korea, Spain or anyone in any other country who are suffering and live in fear.

Thinking about what we can do to help the situation has motivated me to write this post today. Here are a few precautions and measures we can take up to help our family and friends, in improving the situation (many of these things we already practice in our daily life).

  • No more handshakes and hugs to greet people. From now on, join your hands and say “Namaste”. 
  • No more touching or rubbing the face unnecessarily.
  • Washing our hands frequently is an excellent habit. Especially after we visit the washroom, before and after meals, before and after we meet people and lastly, after we cough or sneeze.
  • Cover your nose and mouth while coughing and sneezing, preferably with tissue paper or fabric as the germs die after some time on the surface. Always,, dispose of used tissues carefully, so that the infection does not spread.
  • Some of us have the habit of touching different surfaces, even when not required. For example, we run our hands along the railing or rest our hands on a table etc. Try to reduce touching unsanitized surfaces when you are in public places.
  • For now, until we get a grip over the current situation, avoid crowded areas and maintain an arms distance from people.
  • This particular one is important for the current situation. If possible, stock up the pantry to last for two weeks, so that you can avoid going out frequently. I don’t recommend panic buying, but this is just a way to minimize the need for frequent visits to public spaces. 
  • There are many herbs and spices, that boost immunity and help alleviate the problem. Tulsi (basil) tea is said to relieve and prevent respiratory illnesses. Turmeric boiled in milk helps relieve irritation in the throat. Eucalyptus oil helps to ease out nasal congestion. There are many other such small remedies which are worth trying.
  • Take vitamins regularly. A healthy body has a better chance at fighting infection. At the same time, I want to stress the importance of a healthy and balanced diet. Fruits and vegetables supply the body with the required nutrients to build our immune system. 
  • Sleep is as important as a healthy diet. Being deprived of proper sleep can hamper the body’s chances to heal itself. Get a good night’s rest and by that, I mean a full eight hours of sleep. The results will be excellent for your health.
  • Everyone should adopt a mild exercise routine. Yoga has many exercises that help keep the respiratory system healthy. Some very useful yoga asanas are Bhastrika, Kapalbhati, Bahya Pranayam, Agnisar, Anulom Vilom, Bhramari, Udgeeth etc. We can find step-by-step instructions on these asanas, on the internet and Youtube.
  • And lastly, do not panic and stress about what might happen. Watching continuous news updates on the spread of this virus can add to your stress levels. We all know that stress kills, so do not lose your cool over the Coronavirus. Take all precautions and have faith in your preparedness.

These are some things that came to my mind. If you have more suggestions to add to my list, I will be extremely happy to hear from all of you. However, I would like to add here that the above precautions are something that will help us in life, irrespective of a virus pandemic or not. Cultivating these habits will keep us safe in the long run. Wishing you all good health.