Updated on 3 Aug 2020, 2:18 pm
The news ‘Community transmission has started…’ hit headlines in Manipur on August 2-3. Coronavirus has intruded and claimed our territory! But how did the wheel of pandemic turn when the recovery rate was reported higher than the number of infections? The recovery rate in the state has now crossed 60 per cent. It gave us a ray of hope, some of us celebrating silently with eagerness to go back to leading a normal life; normal office hours, normal schooling, normal activities, and normal fun among other normal-s.
However, the news of "community transmission" came as a shock to many people. Hopes crushed. People must once again brace themselves for another wave of uncertainty due to the pandemic.
In my village, we had to hold another meeting wherein we framed certain guidelines that clearly professed that the time for being ‘normal’ has yet again come to an end, or at least till August 6.
No tuitions, no games, no meetings, and nothing; meaning people have to stay home at all times. The dangers have heightened as certain places have recently been declared as containment zones. With it, many localities have been sealed with no movements allowed.
Whatever the reasons or the failure in policies and programmes to combat the spread of the pandemic, the situation we are in right now is something which has raised several troubling questions that are negatively affecting the minds of the people.
The elderly people I know are always murmuring of ‘end-times’ and the ‘curse of the gods’. Parents are worried about so many things. The youths too are talking about the fun they would miss. The leaders may as well be extremely perturbed by this sudden spike in the effect of the pandemic. One may, therefore, believe that we have come to a sombre state in our fight against the pandemic.
Furthermore, the recent rise in the impact is a matter of concern not just because it has threatened lives on an incomparably larger scale than the first wave, but also because it came as a fire-service to the almost burning political scenario of the state. It came in a time when the BJP government is challenged and the chief minister is questioned.
One may ask whether it is a mere coincidence or the more critical and cynical intellectuals may ask if there are any villainy links between the two.
What is also puzzling about the pandemic is that its stated modes of transmission, in most cases, belie what we witness in reality. The results often come as a shock as two closely associating individuals as that of a mother and child would have different test results of COVID-19. Wherefore the mode of transmission is really baffling. One may ask if the doctors, organisations and government are only jabbering at something which they do not really know.
In addition, everyone everywhere is talking about COVID-19; its remedies, such as drinking hot water, garlic, exposure to sun, and the most recent ‘staying in water’ for a stipulated amount of time without the necessary evidence to support their passionate claims.
No doubt, the entire world wants the pandemic to go. But what do we do when it worsens; when at first you worry about people who are coming home from across the country and abroad but now you have to literally worry about yourself too even while you are staying at home. What can you do when you are only worried about the frontliners and people who are working close to the ‘contained’ and ‘quarantined’ but now you literally do not know where the virus is and it could strike you anytime and from anywhere. One thing is sure, even if the Pandemic does not come to you physically or biologically harm us, it has already started doing great harm to our mental and emotional health. It has rendered us victims of the imminent threat it poses to our health and our entire existence, not to forget to think about the validity, credibility, and morality of our system of governance.
But in the end, we have to live with the pandemic and the new normal somehow. Be it the face of a political conspiracy or be it a real threat, the sudden spike has to be endured somehow. People must be cautioned to take precautions to help combat the spread. We must be ready for any adverse consequences, meaning we must be prepared at all times. The severity must be heedfully realised; and with it the necessity to put our fight against the pandemic into practice. Surely you can’t go shopping anymore, nor go out for fun. The directives clearly stated no outdoor activities except on really serious matters.
Inevitably, the reports in the coming days will worsen, if not a terrible indication towards an imminent havoc. The guidelines will have more lists included. But whatever it is, stay calm. Do something you love at home, discover your hobbies or you could make your parents proud by doing all the house chores. Keep calm because the pandemic will go. It will disappear just as it appeared. It will relieve our hearts as much as it had burdened. Those of us who didn’t go in with fate to the dark dungeon of the pandemic will still be alive. We will once again live a normal life.
And with a light heart: There is no need to panic, my friend, no need to be careless too. Take it easy and just be responsible, be a decent human being. Just stay home, do something you love or if there is nothing you love at all at home, just go out to your backyard or your veranda, but the washroom must remain your last option still, and if you plan to cross your gate, please remember you are on a mission to exterminate the world.
The pandemic will go, and humans will stay. Just make sure you deserve to stay on.
(The views expressed is personal)
Social Activist and General Secretary, International Human Rights Association (IHRA), Manipur