Summarising India’s Current COVID situation

The past few weeks have been turbulent and traumatising. We've been feeling so helpless and overwhelmed, but even now, there is hope.

The past few weeks have been turbulent and traumatising. We’ve been feeling so helpless and overwhelmed, but even now, there is hope.

It’s heart-breaking to see the recent developments in India. In the first phase of the lockdown, people were making dalgona coffee and baking cakes. This time around, there are hundreds of people dying, hospitals are still issuing urgent pleads for oxygen and people dying from the lack of timely medical attention. Twitter continues to serve as one long obituary page. My timeline is either filled with people asking for prayers for their loved ones who are in a serious condition, or people searching frantically for medical resources. People are begging for help. I dread receiving calls these days, out of fear of hearing the worst. The sheer depth of India’s needs right now is unbelievable

This second wave has left lot of children orphaned and many have had to say goodbye to their loved ones. So many people I know have lost someone. The other day I came across the term ‘Covid orphans’ and it sends jitters down my spine. No one deserves to live with the guilt of losing someone because they couldn’t find a bed or an oxygen cylinder on time. It’s heartbreaking that they did not even get a fighting chance.

There are some who stand up and decide to help

There is a community of people mobilising help, fundraising and finding leads of hospital beds and oxygen for complete strangers. If you are one of them- thank you for doing this, you are a blessing.

If you have the time and the bandwidth, take one tweet or one case at a time, make the necessary calls, do your verifications and get back to the family with the details. Just forwarding numbers and links does not seem to be helping and in most cases the forwarded numbers don’t work. It will take a few minutes of your day to verify or simply do a google search for resources but it would be overwhelming for someone who has a covid patient at home.

With every problem, one group of people is always cribbing and criticising, while others will spring into action and contribute towards solving a problem. You decide which group you want to belong to.

Read, educate yourself and be aware. Look at what’s happening around you. Don’t stop watching the news even though it can be too distressing. There are people who will tell you to keep away from the news as it spreads negativity. Closing your eyes to a situation doesn’t make it go away. Don’t live in a make believe world. The death numbers are not just a statistic, they were people who were someone’s love and family.

Demanding our government’s responsibility

Don’t stop demanding things from your government, both state and central. We elected these people and they are accountable to us. I hear people saying “Oh it’s a pandemic, what can the government do ?” or “It is not the government’s fault, it’s the peoples fault for not abiding by the rules“ or even, “The government is inefficient, what’s the point in demanding?”.

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Let me remind you they are currently in power, you voted for them and they need to deliver. Yes we have a large population and it is difficult to handle. That is no excuse for their incompetence – when they came asking for votes they knew that this was the case. An ordinary citizen should not have to beg and suffer in search for beds, oxygen and medicines. It is the government’s job to provide and organise, and they are not doing it. If they want the rewards for being in power, they need to be prepared to take the responsibility too.

Over a period of time I’ve learnt voting in India is about choosing the lesser evil. It doesn’t matter which party comes into power, they are all the same and we are doomed either way.

The medical community deserves endless gratitude

Stop blaming the doctors and the medical staff. They are tired, overworked and are going through immense stress and pressure. They risk their lives and their families everyday, just for us. What can doctors do when there are no hospital beds, oxygen cylinders or important medicines? Imagine working tirelessly, wearing a PPE suit in which you can neither eat nor use the bathroom without having to use a fresh one. It’s difficult to endure so much and keep sane when you see so many people dying in front of your eyes each day, knowing even your best didn’t help them. They are your heroes working relentlessly with scanty resources and no state support.

If you lack empathy at least don’t be ungrateful.

Do as much as you can to help

Ask people around if they need help. There are many who have lost their jobs and have no source of income. Help them in whatever little way you can.. Money, groceries or even mental support. Continue supporting your local vendors. Your bhajiwalas (vegetable vendors) and doodhwalas (milkmen) need your help more than ever. Maintain precautions at your end but please do not stop ordering from them.

Before you donate to any of the charities/ funds, please ask around if any of your relatives, household help, acquaintance or friends are in need of money. The government can’t help them but you can.

If it is not important then please do not step out of your homes. There is nothing that can’t be done online. If you are not tech savvy please do ask for help.

Unlike what people may think, COVID is passed through family and friends. If you love your family please do not put them at risk. Not everyone has great immunity. It is your responsibility to take care of your elders and kids. Ambulances are constantly out on the roads, patients are waiting for beds, and hundreds of people are lined up outside crematoriums. Consider yourself lucky and blessed if you can be at home, have a family and have money to take care of your needs. Do not take it for granted.

We must normalise asking for help. Reach out to family or friends, even to people you might not be close to. Use social media effectively.  You will be surprised at how many people will be willing to go out of their way just to help you. I have seen complete strangers on social media platforms go out of their way to ease off someone else’s burden a bit.

Vaccine trials are still underway for kids. We do not want to send our kids to school because we fear they will contract COVID but somehow we are okay sending them to play with their friends where no social distancing is followed. Globally there are fewer cases of kids being admitted in hospitals with COVID but the numbers have increased in this new wave.

Let’s give each other, and ourselves, a break

Don’t stress about exams or their studies. They have been home at for a year now. In the last year, I have seen teachers put in double the effort and have gone above and beyond their duties.

Take care of yourself. Most of us are exhausted emotionally. It’s okay not to get things done, it’s okay to want to go back to sleep, it’s okay to feel sadness and despair. Leave some work for another day. Read, paint, take that nap, listen to music – whatever works and helps you keep sane. It’s okay if you haven’t mastered any skill in the last year or learnt anything new. I have no qualms that I haven’t really done anything much in the last year besides mastering the art of speed cleaning my house for the few times I had someone over. Take a few minutes off or the day off because you need to be in your right mind and calm before you can help someone else.

The situation may improve in a a few weeks and hopefully things settle down in a year or two. But it will never be the same for many families. Their world has changed forever.

There is a tornado of emotions – despair, hopelessness, grief and dismay – that we are all going through. In spite of everything that’s going on I still see hope. Hope in the eyes of people waiting for their loved ones to get better, hope in the eyes of doctors who refuse to give up, hope in the eyes of children waiting to go out and meet their friends, hope for a better time, where we can hug the people we love and not have a constant fear of losing them. Don’t ever give up on that hope.

Here’s to hoping that everyone has someone to lean on, to help you through this turbulent time and that you and I can be that one friend to someone.

Image Source- Canva

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