The current phase of COVID-19 has been christened the 2nd wave of COVID-19 on social media and news channels. It has become a term that is being widely used to spread concern among people. We have seen single digit numbers in terms of daily infected – now the tables have turned and we have been hit once again, harder this time.
The “second wave” has hit us with more variants than are accounted for. The list of symptoms has increased. The virus is outthinking the human brain. The first time the infections began, it was all about locking down the entire economy and having residents shut in their homes with only the essential activities being permitted. Doctors, Healthcare workers, Police, District Administration, Defence, Bankers, fruit and vegetable vendors, food and medicine processing factories, medical and healthcare institutions, reporters, et al have not reaped the benefits (safety) of the lockdown – they were working as usual and most of the time even more than the usual and have risked their lives! People called them privileged as they had the permission to move about in times of strict lockdown or curfew. How privileged they were, only they can tell. And today, all their efforts seem to have been nullified simply by the disrespect for social distancing and COVID safety protocols.
Disrespect for Social Distancing
The administration, healthcare systems and media have been propagating Social Distancing protocols for the last 12 months. Our mobile phone ringtones begin with the cough and end with the helpline number – even super heroes propagated social distancing – they turned COVID positive.
HENCE – it is not social distancing that has kept the pandemic in control in the initial days – it was the lockdown that saved it. Social distancing has been taken to the dogs since June 2020, when lockdown ended and economic activities began. Face Mask is a fashion. We wear a mask but swim in the lakes. We wear a Mask, but attend parties – that can be avoided… both by the hosts as well as the guests.
The government began and ended lockdown. Began, because there was no other option and governments across the globe were caught on the wrong foot; ended because livelihood needed to be addressed and the learning curve came into play. The release of the lockdown was the melting point for social distancing.
Lockdown was disabled in phases to permit a return to livelihood – and not to party
In order to enable a transition from the imposed normal to the earlier normal, the bureaucracy / health care mechanism worked on suggesting a new normal. Permitting but restricting public gatherings. Restriction on public places, restrictions on educational institutions, have been enabled to resume a new normal but the norms are flouted,…once again by us people. Decisions on enabling livelihood once again for the maximum set of people were taken on the assumption that people will adhere to the norms, take all care (as they seemingly did during the lockdown) and honor the opening up of the economy to persist with their livelihood chores and strictly avoid events that promote clusters. This did not happen. The rule of 20 in funerals has been flouted time and again; the regulation of 100-200 in marriage functions has been flouted many a time. We take pride in saying that we managed to carry out our personal events despite the restrictions – COVID then strikes back.
Government is mute when it comes to election rallies, polling booths, counting and results – the crowds and the utter disrespect for social distancing is visible. Polls could be extended to more comfortable periods in the future – but political ambitions did not permit that. The result is apparent – cases are rising. The leaders of the people are busy with their selfies and speeches. The height of hypocrisy is apparent and widely visible during these times – do we as voters have the will power to press the NOTA switch on the EVM? Some ask, why permit political rallies, while blame the public – apparently political rallies consist of some sections of the public itself, so case rested.
Work and study Safe, travel when mandatory, stick to COVID safety protocols, take the vaccine and we will hit normal once again.