Monday, June 21, 2021
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Fight the virus, not humanity

I was taken by emotions on seeing a video clip shared on social media, wherein the mortal remains of a Naga lady had to be burnt; a burial rite not in line with our faith. In this case, set aside any intervention from the state administration, but the irrational attitude of those Christian brethren residing in the particular village is appalling and hurtful. Whereas, all that was required for the departed soul was an insignificant portion of land to be laid to rest and a respectful send-off. I am shocked by the exuberance exhibited in speculating the deceased to have died of coronavirus and that survivability of the virus persists even six feet under. Astonishing as it may seem but the disease, at the moment, have even curbed the right to a respectful death. It feels, as though, it is a crime to die at this point in time when fear psychosis has crept in, in every mind.
Following the various restrictions imposed amid the lockdown those family members, who have lost their loved ones, were bereft of the duty to pay a befitting send-off and still for many, even to show up in order to comfort those aggrieved. The inability to give a befitting tribute to loved ones could continue to hurt. What is even more disturbing and painful is that the virus has been stigmatized to such extent that some have even taken the wrong recourse, ending their life…. for fear of being ridiculed and still few for fear of dying hungry. My empathic heart goes out to friends, acquaintances and also to those not familiar, who have lost their loved ones ever since the pandemic took its recourse.
Not having anticipated sure occurence we are still confused about how the crisis is to be tackled? Distancing and lockdown seem to our defence at the moment. But while imposing such measures, undue restriction leverage is being given to certain Mr/Ms A to Z. Vigilantism, to ensure no breach in observance of lockdown,  besides being a wrong practice also causes insecurity. No tribe or organizations per se are above the law and such bold and drastic measures could be curbed. Our approach to tackle the menace needs to be explored for tangible ways other than restricting and avoiding.
A certain article by Mr Jayaprakash Muliyil, India’s leading Epidemiologist titled ‘‘Herd Immunity is the Only Lasting Solution to the Caronavirus’’ presents a very logical reasoning for necessary brainstorming across the board and at all level. In his article Mr Muliyil states that ‘A lockdown only buys time’. By herd immunity he meant allowing country’s young population to expose themselves to the virus and build up immunity. To him, we are not fighting the virus but running from it. Once the lockdown is lifted, the virus, which has not disappeared, will hit again. The only way a lockdown can be an effective defence against the virus is only if it continues for a year or more till a vaccine is discovered. A case in point is that of China – just as all seemed under control, the country is privy to fresh cases emerging, feared by many as a second wave.
As it seems, we are over speculating even before we can fully understand the nature of the virus, even as the frontline workers are devotedly working to find a cure for the ailment; which as stated by Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford should be out by September 2020. So as we wait, with hope, to hear about what would be the most comforting news let not our humane approach get cowed in speculations and apprehensions.
Vincent Patton
Kohima

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