Assistant Professor (Chemistry)
SVGC, Ghumarwin, Distt.-Bilaspur, (H.P.)
IMPORTANCE OF FOLLOWING SOCIAL NORMS DURING COVID-19 CRISIS
COVID-19 pandemic came on world scenario when World Health Organization (WHO) received reports of a cluster of viral pneumonia cases of unknown cause in Wuhan, Hubei (China). The date was 31st December, 2019. It was recognized as a pandemic by WHO on 11th March 2020 when Italy, Japan, Iran and South Korea reported increased number of cases. The first case of COVID-19 in India which originated from China was reported on 30th January, 2020; and currently we have the highest number of reported cases in Asia. As everyone is aware that there is neither specific medicine for this disease nor there is any vaccine as yet, therefore, the age old saying must be followed which is “PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE”.
We have to take preventive measures as social norms. We all have been asked to practice social distancing as it will lead to reduced virus transmission, fewer infections, less stress on health care system and ultimately fewer deaths. Yes, it is also true that in recent times it has lead to anxiety, depression and loneliness amongst the individuals, but in long run these norms (such as greeting each other without shaking hands, physical distancing and homeschooling, etc.) will lead to beneficial outcomes. For preventive measures to become prominent and gain footing as a new norm, common knowledge needs to be provided by the health authorities to instill common beliefs.
It has to be understood that when one declines an invitation to a ceremony, wears mask or face shield in public places, sanitizes or washes hands frequently, the person is a responsible citizen and educated enough having awareness how to protect himself and others. It’s not about “living in fear” but to be a part of solution and not the problem. The peculiar fact about this virus is that a person exposed to it may remain asymptomatic throughout without knowing that he is a carrier and in that ignorance he may infect many other persons if he avoids observing social measures.
It is also not like “the government is controlling an individual”, but it will be an individual’s meager contribution to the society; and it is never about an individual’s comfort. If we consider every life important (by following social norms) the whole world would be a better place to live in.
It is widely seen in the rural areas that if an individual is wearing a mask or face shield, he/she is taken as weak, stupid or even “controlled”. This is something to be considerate of, just imagine someone close, such as, a child, a parent, a friend, a grandparent, aunt or uncle, brother or sister- being on a ventilator, alone without any family member allowed at the bedside; so is it risk worth taking??? The answer is definitely no.
Practicing social distancing, wearing a mask, maintaining hygiene, all d there is no coughing and these preventive measures doesn’t make you a coward; but not following them in today’s prevailing emergent situation surely reflects cynical, irresponsible and unruly behavior and mindset towards the society and humanity as well.
Japan, one of the first countries to face COVID-19 infection has flattened its curve without lockdown or mass testing just by avoiding three C’s” i.e. closed spaces, crowded spaces and close contacts. Another addition to this was that Japanese wore masks which led to emitting of fewer virus laden droplets (Japan also has the culture of wearing masks even during seasonal flu).
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA, COVID -19 has very low risk of transmission from surface, outdoor activities but very high risk from gatherings in enclosed spaces like offices, religious places, cinema halls, gyms or theaters.
More precisely, there is low risk of transmission if talking to someone face to face with mask on and for duration less than four minutes in well ventilated spaces and if someone is passing by walking/jogging/cycling.
There is medium risk of transmission while doing grocery shopping (it can be reduce to low risk by maintaining hygiene).
There is high risk of transmission in indoor spaces, restaurants, public bathrooms/common areas (high fomite/surface transfer risk), parties, weddings, business networkings/conferences, arenas/concerts/cinemas.
So in nut shell, whatever happens, the people taking this situation lightly must change their behavior and mindset only then we can hope to minimize the overall impact of this disease without the imposing of stringent measures. We must adapt ourselves to adopt new social norms in order to tackle this challenge faced by humanity and lessons learnt during this pandemic might help societies to coordinate and cooperate better to tackle such pandemics.
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