Sunday, July 25, 2021

Safety first

Our daily routine has undergone tremendous change ever since the Coronavirus hit the world last year. Its affect has penetrated into to every facet of our life. From the individual to the global, all spheres of human activity have suffered enormously because of this pandemic. Name any dimension of life, and you find it impacted adversely. One area that is now discussed with full attention is the family atmosphere. Never before in our lifetime we have experienced people remaining confined to homes for such a long time. The disruption in societal relationships has been unimaginable. In the beginning it was felt that it brought families together and infused new life into relationships. In this world of busy work schedule, this was godsend. But as it prolonged, its downside revealed creating problem in families. The tense and toxic atmosphere in families resulted in many mental illnesses. That was one reason, as explained by clinical psychologists or practicing psychiatrists, we had more cases of domestic violence coming to fore during this period. Similarly more cases of child abuse have also been reported. Now, alongside treating the disease, experts are advising to maintain a calm and peaceful atmosphere in families so that this stress can be better managed. At a time when children are confined to homes and parents are facing financial troubles, mental illnesses are bound to increase. In a traditional society like ours, it falls upon the elders in and around a family to play the role of a healer. The wealth of experience that elders are, they can create an atmosphere that is healthy and relieving. At the same time experts in the field need to consistently upgrade our knowledge about how to deal with stress, and how to manage relations within family in a stressful condition. If we fail to manage this stress now, we might have to face various other kinds of a pandemic in future. That said, it is a huge relief to know that after turning almost everything upside down the second wave of the pandemic has significantly waned, if the daily COVID-19 count of declining positive cases and recoveries, issued by the State Health & Family Welfare Department is to be believed. The number of cases that are daily reported has come down compared to the figures we had some weeks back. Although the death toll continues to be high, and every single life matters, but this too has come down drastically from what it used to be some weeks back. Cumulatively, the lock down and other measures taken by the Government appear to have worked, and we are having some relief in terms of devastation caused by the pandemic during the peak of the second wave. The restrictions in place during the lockdown are also getting relaxed, though unfortunately the business community continues to be adversely affected. Nevertheless, it is prudent not to open everything at a go. The incremental way of relaxing the lockdown is always better. And that is what the Government is doing. There are also opinions from experts that a third wave cannot be ruled out, and this has to be factored in. The administration also seems to be well aware of the same, and the sense is that the Government is thinking of upgrading the capacities to fight any eventuality in future. This looks like a wise plan to combat this COVID pandemic. On the one hand, there is a need to take measures so that there is no sudden opening up of public spaces. The incremental opening up of market spaces points towards that. Similarly the infrastructure for COVID care has to be upgraded at a fast pace during the time when we have lower number of positive cases. One significant thing that needs attention this time is to unburden our public hospitals. For many months now these hospitals have remained busy treating COVID patients. This has adversely impacted regular services offered by these hospitals. If there is some respite in the cases, the Government needs to build new structures to manage any future surge in COVID cases. That would go a long way in dealing with this pandemic in case it prolongs.