TODAY -

Lessons from the pandemic

Mingyashin Shaiza *



As the restriction eases, are we relaxing on taking precautions ?

Our daily activities are almost getting back to normal. Streets are busier than they were a month ago. Students are getting ready for new admissions. Business owners have started to venture into new ideas. Main roads are filled with automobiles running nonstop.

Almost everyone is going about their own business. Shops, hotels, departmental stores, restaurants, salons, public places are bustling with chatter and laughter. Life looks pretty regular right now.

The only thing that looks different is the mask on our faces. It's the only serious precaution that the public maintains. Yet there are some who roam about without a care. Neither do they cover their mouth and nose nor do they care anything about getting or spreading the virus. They roam about as if nothing in the world can touch them, as if the virus will not reach them.

They are not only putting themselves at risk but what they don't realize is that their action and ignorance is going to cost them a life. The people who are doing everything they can to stay safe are at risk because someone chooses not to care.

It's funny that the invisible but dreadful virus is teaching us how to care for one another. It is teaching the world in many ways. I guess until we learn to respect one another, it will never leave us. And the hard truth is: we have a long way to go. This thing that we cannot see seems to see us clearly. Metaphorically, the virus is watching us.

The world survives by staying busy. We could not be kept inside for too long as the world cannot survive by sitting at home doing nothing. We have to move, connect, network and travel to really survive. This is what we humans have designed our life to be. As the restriction gets more relaxed, our life looks almost normal now. Is it actually normal ? Of course not ! Nothing is normal.

There is this eerie feeling in the street. Friends we used to meet regularly on the way to work don't greet us anymore. They don't exist in our daily life anymore. The seat in front of you in your favourite local hotel is empty; your chai partner could not get through the 2nd wave. When school starts, there will be an empty seat in the staff room, empty period in the classroom. Some teachers fought the battle brave and strong and passed on.

The street is filled with people going about their business but if you look closer, it's more empty than full. If you take time to look deeper, everyone has lost someone, a father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, wife, husband, grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, fiancé, best friend, good friends, mentor, teacher and so much more.

Look deeper and you will see that everyone carries a certain kind of pain in their eyes. Make the right conversation and you will see them unravelling their feelings and emotions taking over them. This virus had made some softer, some got stronger, some have stiffened up, some got more bitter than they ever were but one thing is common, it has made everyone a little kinder. Everyone, every household has got their fair share of struggle, pain and loss.

We have all learnt something from this experience, so should we still be careless ? We have witnessed what this virus can do, should we still remain dumb, ignorant and stupid enough to cost us another life of our loved ones ? The virus may be invisible to our naked eyes but we have seen its effect and it is everywhere.

The steps to prevent COVID-19 are simple and still the same as it was advised from the beginning. WHO's advice for the public says, 'If COVID-19 is spreading in your community, stay safe by taking some simple precautions, such as physical distancing, wearing a mask, keeping rooms well ventilated, avoiding crowds, cleaning your hands, and coughing into a bent elbow or tissue. Check local advice where you live and work. Do it all!'

Getting together with friends and family is an important part of life. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our ability to safely gather with others. Many people have been forced to cancel or reschedule meaningful events, such as weddings, parties and family gatherings.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no "zero risk" when it comes to any kind of gathering–especially events that bring groups of people together. Regardless of the size of the event, you are at risk from COVID-19 whenever you get together with people. The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily indoors, especially in poorly ventilated settings.

If you don't feel well or show any symptoms of COVID-19, stay home.

If you choose to attend a gathering, practice prevention measures, regardless of your COVID-19 vaccination status:

o Keep at least 1 meter distance from others;
o Wear a mask;
o Avoid crowded or poorly ventilated areas
o Cover coughs and sneezes with bent elbow or tissues; and
o Wash your hands frequently.

These measures are a good idea to protect yourself and others, even when the event or venue doesn't require you to practice them. (www.who.int)

Let's take a few seconds to think…Are we really following these simple steps ? We may do a lot to increase our immunity and do everything else to avoid COVID-19 but unless you are following these few simple steps, you are putting everyone around you in danger.

Are we waiting for new instructions from WHO to follow because we are too familiar with the old ones ? When the new instructions come, one thing is for sure, it is getting worse. COVID-19 is still with us active and stronger than ever. Let us not take it easy. We need to be in this together to put an end to this.

'COVID-19 is not taking a timeout. Neither should you. We are all on the same team in bringing an end to the spread of COVID-19.' - World Health Organization


* Mingyashin Shaiza wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on September 14 2021.



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