The pandemic rages on. It is nearly a year since the Coronavirus infection began.
Exposed to prolonged, sometimes repeated lockdowns, conflicting public awareness messages, fear of loss of livelihood, and in an attempt to go back to life the way it was most of us are suffering from ‘Pandemic Fatigue.’
Pandemic Fatigue is that situation where people are more and more frustrated about prolonged continuous restrictions imposed upon them and are thus demotivated to comply with simple instructions to keep them safe.
The current surge in infections in Delhi is a direct result of that. Shoppers thronged the markets in large numbers throwing caution to the winds. Few were wearing masks, maintaining safe distance was out of the question, and in such crowded places, it was impossible to wash hands with soap and water. This was followed by Karva Chauth, Diwali, Bhai Duj festivals and we found it necessary to socialize and meet each other- another cause for the large-scale spread of the infection.
Pandemic fatigue builds up over a period of time and social, cultural, economic, and administrative factors propel its growth.
In the current instance- opening up markets, allowing full occupancy in buses, permitting up to 200 guests at a wedding – all administrative decisions which allowed the pandemic to grow to such an extent in the National Capital. Our cultural compulsions to make purchases, our social need to meet and greet during the festival, and the shop owners’ economic necessity to generate revenue all contributed to the spread.
Pandemic fatigue is being experienced not only in Delhi, or in India – it is a global phenomenon.
Crowds Protest Curbs in Berlin- pic courtesy dw.com
There are some important considerations for us right now. Please take them seriously –
- The Virus is still around – in some places, it is the worst it has ever been.
- All the earlier advice – go out only if you have to, maintain a minimum 1-meter distance, wear a mask covering your mouth and nose at all times you are outside, sanitize your hands frequently with a minimum of 70 % alcohol, and wash hands thoroughly with soap and water as soon as you reach home – are as relevant today as ever before.
- There are reports of re-infection – just because you got it once there is no reason to suppose you will not get it again
- ‘It is a minor infection- let me get it once then I will be alright’- the most dangerous line of thinking. The disease affects persons in different ways, including healthy individuals suffering from long term effects. Staying away from the disease is your best option.
- Follow your protective instincts – in case full occupancy in buses is permitted but you feel unsafe inside – follow your instinct – do not board. Governments work under compulsions and have many factors to consider – you have to only consider your health.
- A safe, effective vaccine that is readily available and affordable is still some time off- till then please stay safe.