Friday, May 24, 2024
Editorial

Response-ability

We know the COVID-19 outbreak is really a tough time for all those who are at the helm right now. Those in homes are faced with difficulties, is also not lost on anyone. We are actually all sailing in one large ark, and the tides are raging from all sides. But the doctors, paramedical staff, and others in administration are faced with double difficulty. They have families back home, and themselves, they are out in the field, thus more vulnerable. What adds to their trauma, while they are wrestling with the crisis, is the lack of resource. It is important to understand the difference between managing a humanitarian crisis, and dealing with a law and order situation. Unfortunately the third world bureaucracy has walked into the trap of a psychological perversion, and that is to all the time think of people as a problematic lot that need to be controlled. This controlling mindset is a huge impediment in understanding what people say. If the administration, even in these tough times, applies a clam mind, it will find dozens of ways this crisis can be better managed. It is also time that our administration relies more on expert advice from doctors and engages with volunteers to manage the potential COVID population. Rather than herding them to some quarantine centers where there are no facilities, isn’t it better to put them in home-quarantine and ask a local team of doctors, health-workers, and volunteers to monitor them. If this crisis lingers, administration needs to tell people how they are going to manage the associated crisis, and how people can be taken along. This is the time to shun ego, and stop thinking in a power frame. We are dealing with a humanitarian crisis, and it is time to discover our individual humanity. Yes, we are usually unprepared! And it often doesn’t matter in normal routine. For we usually think life isn’t any formula. We go the way that suits us. But in times of COVID-19, bleakly abnormal, we are stepping blindly into the unexpected, unknown; leaving the inscrutably “normal” world far behind. Perhaps shifting to embrace a world where there will be more wilderness, more pain, with a little clear light of hope and faith. In a scenario like this, addressing our responsibility, or, our ‘response-ability’, we seem behaving like self-styled sentries who have an absolute right to castigate and ostracize people unreasonably. A crazy lot of nutcases who see patients as criminals! Haunt and hound asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19 as desperados. If majority of people in our State hold such perception, then thousands of casualties to this virus around the globe stand scandalous! Getting infected by this virus is not an outcome of any sinful activity. From Boris Johnson to any underprivileged – the virus is indisputably indiscriminate in whom it infects. Its mechanism is controlled by nature, and that’s what we know and understand as of now. A small microorganism, 500 times smaller than the diameter of human hair, has punctured many ideas and illusions about our life. Perhaps, this small invisible virus is making many things visible to us. The way we condemn those who distorted or concealed their COVID-19 contact/ travel history is also displeasing. Many of them have a reason to do so, though not entirely justifying. Given the COVID-19 response system here, it seems more of a reaction. Our ‘response-ability’ is repulsive. Beyond the abuses we have failed to create a robust sense of health security among the masses. Of course, this entails proper impartial screening and scrutiny of travelers flowing in besides professional quarantine and testing facilities without putting our under-equipped medical fraternity at risk. And all this, undeniably, could have been managed better by incorporating health experts, who are more acquainted with local population, topography and existing health infrastructure. Most appalling is the failure to test widely for the virus. There is a highly unreliable measure of spread as days pass. Yet the figure out of this sparse testing is still tweeted, quoted and published. It paints a partial picture. Nonstop ebb of grim statistics, and the fact that we don’t know whether or not they reflect reality is the scary thing about the situation!

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