I am writing this one week prior to my posting in a Covid-19 intensive care unit.
Feelings: Trepidation, anticipation, a sliver of hope.
Pros: We have equipment and Dr S (if anyone can help us get through this, it’s him).
Cons: Life (yeah, it’s a big one.)
To be honest, I didn’t want pots clanging after the first Mann Ki Baat. I wanted equipment, for everyone who was risking their lives in this war. The sound of pots clanging was only deadened by the silence of those who stood by while doctors were thrown out of their houses.
The second Mann Ki Baat made me understand that I was an idiot to hope for equipment for all. In fact, as diyas came alive and crackers exploded, I understood that since the Indian spirit was alive, how could coronavirus ever beat us? I wondered how many of the diya lighters would step inside the hospital with me at any point of time.
A week from today, I will step into the intensive care unit, where we’re taking care of the patients suffering from coronavirus and need mechanical ventilation. It’s a daunting thought. After all, no one willingly flirts with death. However, we, like so many others, made a choice. Sheer idiocy, says my mother, if I had taken maths the way she wanted me to, no one would be in this situation.
What hurts the most is that we could have been better prepared and made more of a difference. That is what nightmares are made of, that we will be the reason our families fall. Through all this there’s hope, and my parents’ omniscient belief that failing the provision of personal protective equipment, what I eat will make all the difference. For those who want my mum’s recipe for dry fruit laddoos, let me know. Ingredients include, but are not limited to, pepper, ajwain, and saunth. – Sawani Shiraz
The strategy for rapid testing by Arvind Kejriwal is a good one (Covid-19: Delhi to conduct rapid testing for 1 lakh people in infection hotspots, says Kejriwal). South Korea, as the data shows, has conducted perhaps the highest number of tests per million people. However, we must also consider that it has a lower population compared to India before we make the comparison.
In India, rapid testing is the need of the hour so we can know where our country stands. It seems Kejriwal added two more Ts – team work and tracking – to the existing three Ts – test, trace, treat. It is important to note that the two additional Ts play a crucial role in the overall management of the crisis. The efficacy of the programme lies in providing the needed personal protective equipment for the frontline warriors in the fields of medical, health, hygiene and law enforcement.
The other side of the coin is effective implementation of the lockdown, which is the only tool to contain the spread. Hefty fines may be imposed on those who come on to streets without valid reasons. It is sad to note that even the so-called educated people are seen on streets without masks, which is one of the easiest preventive steps in one’s hand.
The success of the programme is not dependent only on unilateral measures by the government alone, but also on public participation. Needless to say that if the lockdown, at such a huge cost of an inevitable economic pain, is not a success, the nation has to face a whipsawed effect. Meanwhile, it is learnt that the Indian Council of Medical Research is likely to get about seven lakh rapid antibody testing kits by April 8 and is going to carry out the tests on a large scale. I hope this allows us to draw the roadmap for future action. – Ramana Gove
Despite prior announcement of the 21-day lockdown, many states are demanding its extension to allay fears and mitigate the spread of virus (Coronavirus: Odisha becomes first state to extend 21-day lockdown till April 30). The impact of the lockdown has affected the economy drastically including slowing the growth, migration, closure of public transport and rising unemployment. But considering the current situation of the economy amid global recession, the government should take a quick decision on whether it will extend or lift the lockdown, and dispel fake news and rumours. An early decision will not only help citizens gear up for upcoming days but also help the agencies fight the pandemic by staying abreast of the situation and procure necessary personal protective equipment kits, ventilators and medical supplies, if the need arises – Varun Dambal
The article written by Raghuram Rajan is extremely relevant and covers most of our anxieties post lockdown (Full text: Raghuram Rajan on how India can get back to work after coronavirus lockdown). The government and the Prime Minister must shed past differences and invite Rajan to help combat the crisis. The need of the hour is to contribute maximum to reduce hardships that may follow lockdown. Hope wisdom prevails at all political levels. – Chirantan Joshipura
The current situation has worsened due to the irresponsibility of citizens. But it is also equally important to reflect on the crossroads the country is going to be at the end of the lockdown. On the one hand, ending it may result in the citizens desperately heading out of their homes, causing the virus to spread in a more drastic manner. On the other hand, not loosening up on the lockdown is dangerous to the economy as well as shortage of resources to sustain in a lockdown for another period of time. The second issue is that as testing kits are available and the number of cases will be on the rise, it is important to ensure that the medical team is ready. It is a very crucial moment for the country and we have to take it seriously. There are more important issues which need to be spoken about from the authorities’ side as well. The active count will shoot up and if that is not alarming enough for the citizens, then I don’t understand what is. – Upasana Sarangi
A timely and immensely useful article, giving practical tips on how to deal with these emotionally testing times at an individual level (How Buddhist teachings can quell our anxiety about the coronavirus pandemic). This is the role of religious leaders and scholars at this time. Your decision to choose this article at such a time is commendable. – Rajratna Jadhav