I am sure you might have been very happy and excited at the start of this year and I was too, until the pandemic hit our lives, bringing about huge losses, ambiguities, sufferings, a realization of our careless behaviour towards mother earth and attention towards how important it is to protect her.
Apart from these, there are a few other things to be learnt that are unavoidable, super important and make me think that nothing can be permanent or fixed when it comes to life, death and nature.
You guessed it. Social distancing and not gathering is a thing now, and if you can’t maintain it be ready for the consequences too.
We all know how difficult it is, especially for a Mumbaikar to follow something that we are not at all used to. Because we really feel at home when in a crowd or when there is chaos around us.
We’re now forced to stand in a queue and maintain a distance of at least 3 feet at bus stands or any other public place like a ration or medical store; something that was impossible for someone to teach us just a few months back. A sign of being ‘Atma Nirbhar’, isn’t it?
Now, I believed that this was the best precautionary measure that I could take until I saw a video of a lady who caught the virus even after staying home. She was completely quarantined, without any social contact, but was in direct contact with things she had to touch and use for household and personal use. We are supposed to be dressed up, wearing gloves and masks, and soaking everything possible in water for 1–2 hours.
There is a risk that the virus could find a chance to enter the body and create ways to live there, as an unwanted guest.
We were often given excuses about possibilities of data confidentiality or data breach when we wanted to work from home as an alternative for leaves. And guess what, they were never approved.
Now, a lot of companies have made every possible arrangement, thanks to COVID-19, for us to work from home and this was what most of us had wished for. But, everything comes with a cost and this time it’s our health again. I have heard a lot of colleagues and friends complain about discomfort and poor body posture they have developed.
They miss the office chairs and tables which were made available to us free of cost, keeping in mind our comfort levels. Not everyone has access to tables and chairs while we are working from home, so we spend a lot of time on the bed, which only makes our ‘ass-et’ suffer, and makes us sleepy, especially after lunch!
The Government has managed to make decisions regarding a lot of issues related to the lockdown or stricter lockdown in containment zones.
Thanks to technology, it is possible to find the availability of extra beds for patients, food, make additional screening or checks at the airports and inter-state bus depots, conducting COVID-19 tests for people travelling to their hometowns, keeping them quarantined for few days along with taking care of their basic shelter and food requirements.
Also, we’ve developed apps like Aarogya Setu to help identify symptoms in people and take action to avoid getting hospitalised and forcing home-quarantine at an early stage.
They’ve also made it compulsory for regular people, doctors, and nurses to wear masks and hand gloves and another required wearables.
How could they do it (at some or all levels — for those of you who have different opinions) in such a short time? The majority could be achieved through the way the data was captured, analysed, and how decisions were made. Here are some of the examples of how data and information technology are helping authorities take decisions quickly:
-Collecting public data through the Aarogya Setu app and then using it to make decisions to execute the next lockdown or partial lockdown or unlock
-Manufacturing medicines and vaccinations and testing the dosages, usability, side effects, etc. in labs and medical colleges
We do not realize the importance of something until there’s a risk factor attached to it. And, the same is the case with our health. It is during this health crisis that we are paying attention to hygiene and immunity. We’re doing this either by consuming medicines or natural and organic fruits and vegetables.
For some of us, there is no cost factor associated with any of these at all. There might have been a point where we used to think a lot before spending a penny.
It is now that we have started realizing that nothing exists if we don’t exist. It is now that we should take 100% responsibility for this gift of the human body bestowed upon us by nature and has to be paid utmost attention to.
Only now we are careful about the smallest of things that could affect our health. Hence we’ve been taking precautions like washing hands for at least 2o seconds at regular intervals or drinking only hot water and ayurvedic health drinks or avoiding frequent face-touching, which, earlier, was just a thing to be heard and ignored.
I hope these lessons will not go in vain and we pass this on to our future generations, where they value their health first and understand and use the power of science consciously.