Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging Pao ]
Over the last one year plus, Covid-19 has spread to all corners of the world and has infected more than 16 crore persons, with 33 lakh plus fatalities. India has more than 2.4 crore persons infected, with over 2.6 lakh fatalities. Arunachal has 18,691 infections with 69 deaths. Presently, India is undergoing a second wave with over 3 lakh daily infections and 3,500 daily deaths over the last few days. India has vaccinated more than 17 crore persons, with about 4 crores fully vaccinated. Arunachal has completed about 3 lakh vaccinations, with over 80,000 fully vaccinated. The pace of vaccination is being expedited and vaccines are being extended to all adults above 18 years of age.
With quarantine, isolation and lockdowns, Covid-19 has created panic and desperation in most people. The fear of getting infected and isolation woes have increased the stress levels and affected the mentality of many citizens. Many industries and businesses are either closed or have slowed down, leading to loss of jobs and earnings. Additionally, fear mongering on TV and social media have created a Covid hysteria. All these have led to increased worries, and it is reported that many people are suffering from stress and anxiety. Covid fears and worries are so high that we have stopped singing, playing, enjoying, and most of all, stopped laughing.
Globally, many studies are going on to identify key areas of mental sickness and methods to tackle them. Mental problems associated with Covid are having a major effect on the youths and the elderly population. Different activities have been identified to remain occupied and busy during isolation and lockdowns. These activities include reading books, pursuing hobbies like music, gardening, art, etc, watching movies, indoor exercises, games with family members like Ludo, monopoly etc. Experts have also advised to reduce watching TV news and stop watching Covid news on social media. Isolation can also be tackled by connecting and sharing with family members and friends.
One way to deal with Covid fears is by creating awareness about the correct Covid-19 facts which counter fear-mongering through a dedicated media campaign. The other could be through societal support by groups of intellectuals, elders and leaders created district-/block-wise. Another could be by opening toll-free 24/7 online counselling centres manned by trained personnel whom the affected people could consult with in privacy. Towards this, the government may consider opening a separate Covid mitigating cell to deal with mental issues associated with Covid.
Covid-19 has no cure presently, and it has to be fought and defeated by our bodies themselves. Body immunity can be boosted by eating nutritious diet, keeping fit by exercising regularly, and by keeping a positive attitude. To defeat Covid-19, we need to remain positive and active till herd immunity is achieved after 70-80 percent of the people are vaccinated. To boost our body immunity, we must continue to laugh, sing and dance even during Covid times. Human enterprise cannot be defeated by a virus. Go, Corona, go! (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)