December 2019 will go down in history as a turning point for modern times. For all the advancements we have made in medicine and technology, the world was brought to a standstill by a microscopic virus. In a matter of months, the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) had caused a global pandemic and nations across the planet went into lockdown mode. People stayed indoors even as the numbers of those infected rose at an alarming rate. The only thing that was important was to flatten the curve! World Health Day, i.e., 7 April 2020, is the day to celebrate doctors, nurses and midwives and remind world leaders of the critical role they play in keeping the world healthy!
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Side-effects of lockdown
It is human nature to fear what we don’t fully understand, which is why a deadly and fast-spreading virus was quick to cause a panic. In this state, only one thing mattered: survival. Being faced with this situation, it’s easy to understand why people rushed out to stock up on essential (and non-essential) commodities. But to an outside observer, the scenes were likely nothing short of bemusing. In a time when physical distancing was paramount, people were crowding in stores to buy toilet paper. And not just enough to get through a month of lockdown, but rolls to last a year!
The 21-days lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a step in the right direction which has helped in safeguarding our immunity. Though our mental health has gone for a slight toss with the feelings of anxiety, fear and uncertainty, it has given us the opportunity to introspect and realize revelations about the world. Some of us now have ample time on our hands to eat and sleep healthily, but it’s not an escape from Work From Home! On the other side, daily wage workers, househelps and people with odd jobs are suffering to the dropping economy and curbed transport facility.
It wasn’t just toilet paper that was being hoarded, but any and all available items, perishable or not. Which brings us to the question, what causes panic buying even at the cost of our health? The answer, of course, is not that hard to understand. We are driven by what we know. Everyone at some point has run out of sugar, toothpaste, or pencils, exactly at the time you really need them. We know that uncomfortable feeling of needing and not having, and we don’t want to feel that.
On the flip side, much fewer of us have been seriously ill in hospital, in desperate need of a ventilator. We don’t know what that is like, it doesn’t stir up a feeling of unease within us. In short, it is not real to us. We also have a firm belief that bad things only happen to other people. So, when faced with the choice of staying home and staying safe, versus rushing up to stock up for the future, we choose the latter. After all, running out of stuff is a far worse situation in our minds than catching the virus. We also prefer situations where we feel in control.
It’s #WorldHealthDay and perhaps it’s time to take a step back and consider our priorities. Yes, being prepared for unforeseen circumstances does matter, but not at the expense of our health. By being fully aware of the situation and taking the right precautions, a plan can be devised to stock up and protect ourselves. A little effort can go a long way in keeping you and your loved ones safe and ensuring that we not only have groceries but also good health when the pandemic has passed.
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