Coming together against the COVID-19!!

When the world was busy with its hustle bustle of technology, growth, development, climate taking a beating with the forests on fire, water scarcity, animals going extinct, each one of us chasing our life’s dreams, living away from our homes, racing our ways to the top, running to jobs to schools to colleges, spending holidays abroad, making big future plans etc and one little virus slowly made its way out disrupting all these life events. Like an unseen Tsunami storming its way through every country slowly forcing the world to come to a standstill.

The origin of a pneumonia of unknown cause – COVID 19 (named by World Health Organization) also known as Corona virus first erupted in China in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, which was the epicenter of the outbreak. Until now, in just a matter of 3 months, this disease grew from being just an outbreak to now being described as a pandemic, has spread to every nation in the world causing chaos and widespread fear in the hearts of all. Like the virus in the computer kills your data, like the storm or tsunami that washes off your homes, your belongings, cities or towns when they rage, COVID-19 is raging in the same manner to destroy the world. 

The virus has claimed over 22000 lives already and infecting a hundred thousand across the world. The death numbers have been increasing in major countries like China, Italy, Iran and Spain so far. The symptoms of the coronavirus range from mild fever to throat infection to respiratory illness. Older people and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Remember the times when you sneezed and the people around you always said – ‘Bless you’. Remember how we craved to spend times with our families but were held up with our job, deadlines, special conferences, chasing our dreams or even moving off to other cities – away from our hometowns. Remember how the Amazon forest and Australian bushfires caused thousands of animals to lose their homes, the plants and trees ruined to ashes etc  and pollution levels in the cities and water scarcity were so alarming everywhere that it sent signals that the environment needs our attention to preserve , conserve and protect. May be we were so busy in the rat race and the rush, that nature had to take it’s turn to draw our attention and teach us a lesson and that was through the corona virus outbreak.

What could be the good or bad sides to this wide spread virus that is claiming thousands of lives across the world? – let us explore –

The “Greener” side to country lockdowns – Barring US, every other country has slowly started to impose lockdowns so that the restriction in movement of humans can reduce the spread of the virus. This is a good move.

  • The new – Stay at home logo has helped us get closer back home – to where we belong. Those who managed to move back to their hometowns in the nick of time, managed to be safe under their families’ care, whereas there are many others who are still stuck at their work cities with no sign of moving back home. Lamenting will do no good, rather we could do our best to focus on making the best use of this time for ourselves, for our families, our parents, our kids and partners.
  • With many countries implementing lockdowns and being strict about the new motto – “Stay at home” – the pollution levels have definitely come down. I also read an article that mentioned such reduction of activities is good for global warming which was at an alarming stage. We were getting closer to losing nature and that could have been detrimental for our future generations.
  • The beauty of nature is getting enhanced as an outcome of reduction of chemicals in the environment. The animals in the sea, the plants and trees in your lanes, the beaches etc are now free of plastic and chemicals which were earlier being thrown around or disposed of.
  • Such desperate times also help us realize the importance of ‘standstill’ environment. Citing my own example, I never realized the importance of rising early in the morning, just standing at the balcony, enjoying the highway view (which is now all quiet, thanks to the lockdown), the birds chirping around, the evening sunset, the happy times with my parents – having all the 3 meals together with them, sleeping on time and watching news and telling them the world scenarios etc. I’m sure they must have missed me every day where I just rushed to work with a few hours left in the morning to have breakfast, pack my lunch, get ready and just rush to office – only to return late night where they would just sleep as soon as I got back home. Life was such a rat race before this virus emerged. We should be thankful for such light moments.
  • The spread of virus and the fear has only made me realize that no amount of barriers come our way when have to help others – even country boundaries for that matter. I remember during the Syrian civil war, thousands of Syrian refugees were homeless and running for their lives.  There were countries like Germany, Scotland, UK , Canada etc that opened their doors for the migrants to have a home. Their troubled times helped them find support in other countries. Even at this moment, no amount of differences of race, color, religion, culture or financial statuses can keep us from helping each other out. This virus outbreak has treated us equally and is overtaking us. It is reminding us that we are all equal – I guess we should pay heed to this message and fight back together and in unison.

The “Ugly” side to country lockdowns –

  • The corona virus has claimed over 22,000 lives already. Countries like Italy, Iran, China, US – each of these countries have high mortality rates with deaths in 1000 each day – it has become so difficult to handle such situations that they are finding it hard to take count or even bury these bodies. Military trucks are being used. If precautions are not taken seriously, we cannot stop the virus. So many lives lost is very heart breaking and painful. Imagine losing your whole family or your near and dear ones to the virus. We wouldn’t want to feel the pain that the families in these countries are facing. We have to be extremely cautious and also pray for such people who have lost their near and dear ones. These are extremely tough times for people to be strong enough to overcome their irreversible loss.
  • We see doctors spending hours together at the hospitals catering to multiple patients and risking their lives as well. I’ve seen multiple videos of doctors not been going back to their homes as the cases are spiraling and they are doing their best to cater to the patients and also be safe , so as to not get infected and also not let it spread to their family members. Last month , a video in China showed how a female doctor gave a distant hug to her daughter , who stood at a far off distance weeping and calling out to her mother. It was a very emotional moment. They are doing there every bit to fight the virus and I salute their spirit of saving others’ lives in the process of risking their own.
  • The virus has put a huge risk across the medical forces and military forces of every nation. Everyone is trying their best to fight this virus but failing to arrive at a proper consensus. Lockdown was one better initiative that countries have come up with but the World Health Organization (WHO) argues that lockdowns could not be so effective.
  • One of the headlines that I read after growth in China’s coronavirus cases where how divorce rates increased as well. This is not a good sign for anybody.  
  • ‘Stay at home’ initiatives is causing great hardships to the aged, sick, daily wage workers, poor, homeless and children – it is so difficult for them (mostly living on their own with no dependents to support) to keep stock of essentials or even medicines that they require. Most aged people would not be tech savvy like us to order on mobile apps , neither do daily wage earners have any savings with them to return back home to their families nor wages in hand to continue to buy food to survive or support their families in such difficult times.

In such difficult times, I have come across so many inspiring stories that I want to share with all and also want to give a hint on what can we do to help people, support them, lend a helping hand even without getting in contact – let us salute such initiatives and also explore them as options to help –

  • All the doctors who are catering to thousands of patients everyday across the world are being very strong fighters in this war. They are ensuring to work round the clock and give proper treatment to the patients and also ensuring not to come in contact with their family members or other people with the fear of spreading the virus. Salute to such doctors for their selfless service to save the humanity – they are definitely our superheroes without capes.
  • All the governments are doing all they can by sending airplanes to get back their citizens. All the crew members are taking good precautions to isolate themselves after such missions, so that they don’t affect others. Such crew members are being ill-treated, thrown away from their homes. At this moment, we have to help people out, not create hatred amongst each other. The enemy is the virus, not humans who are doing their duties as well as taking care by self-isolating themselves.
  • Most people are losing their jobs, facing pay cuts, delayed bonus payments etc – Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos has taken an initiative of calling out to all the employees who lost their jobs elsewhere to join Amazon as employees and work for it. That is a very noble initiative that Jeff came up with. We have to be mindful to safeguard the interests of employees during these difficult times. US as a nation is currently facing unemployment at the most extreme level with around 3 million who have currently lost their jobs. Every company/country should take initiatives to safeguard the people’s jobs, employment and their well-being.
  • Everyone is coming forward to provide monetary help and support via donations to help their nations come out of this crisis. We all should donate whatever we can to fight this virus and win over it. There are multiple donation camps or sites set up to help the daily wage laborers, roadside vendors, poor people etc – please ensure you verify these sites and then commit to donate money to charity. Do not fall for fraudulent sites and accounts. Verify how they are going to use the money, what current initiatives have been taken, which sections of the society they are catering to etc. donations are also being made for making masks, sanitizers and other medical aid equipments to be purchased to cater to the high rise in the cases across the world. Let’s do our bit to save the world.
  • The Chairman of Mahindra group in India, Anand Mahindra has converted his resorts to health care facilities centres. This is a very good initiative. Another similar initiative I came across is the venue of Cannes, Palais des Festivals being turned to a homeless shelter amid the nationwide lockdown. A nightclub in London has turned its venue space into a temporary food bank/storage and distribution center to help the most vulnerable during the coronavirus outbreak. Each of us could keep our business mindset aside and come together to help the needy with all that we can.
  • ‘Stay at home’ option can get boring after a few days – why not explore your talent , start your hobbies that you have kept pending for ages like reading books, learning art and craft or dance via different channels. Spend quality time with your families, with your parents watching movies of their times, playing games with kids, do yoga or short exercises etc. It is needed that you create some positive vibe within your home when the world outside is full of tension and fear. Like I am spending my time making my parents watch old movies, making meals for them, helping them out, cleaning the house etc.
  • We could also create a healthy and positive environment in our society as well. I read an article which said that the Casoria community in Italy, living in the southern city of Naples leaned out of their windows and broke into singing songs together in harmony from behind closed doors. It is beautiful how we can still cheer our neighbors up and create a harmonious place to live in.
  • Staying at home would also mean you are constantly watching news and living in fear. You should use your time wisely. You could watch the news say twice a day, like at my home we either watch in the afternoon or at night just before dinner. It is important to focus on better things at your end or at least pray for the world at large when you just cannot do anything else.
  • Reading fake news on the social media and spreading them could be detrimental to all. Let us be cautious when spreading any news you read on the internet. You may be trying to make your loved ones aware by sharing a few cases but be cautious that you do not spread it unless it is verified and the source is known. Do not fall prey for such fake news or claims on medicines that could cure the virus.  
  • Rumours could also be within your own society. If you know of someone who has returned from abroad and needs to be isolated, do not treat him as an untouchable or begin to create fake news about that person. It happened in my society, where a middle aged man returned from Germany and apparently he was sneezing, coughing at the tennis court in the vicinity – this led to the people discussing on the messaging groups on how to keep away from him, which block he lives in, when did he return, what are his whereabouts etc. You could be sensible enough to advise him to get a check-up and follow doctor’s prescribed medicines and precautions rather than treating him as some murderer living in the society. We are all educated enough to draw limits to how we should behave.

Numerous groups have been formed across the UK to offer practical support for those in self isolation as well as phone calls. Volunteers are also organizing social media groups alongside dropping postcards bearing the message – “Hello! If you are self-isolating, I can help” at people’s doorsteps.

  • Reach out to your neighbors if they need help like getting essentials or monetary help for time being as they are aged, single parents, handicapped etc. Try to help them out by getting the list of essentials they need. The same would apply to your colleagues or team members who could be new to the city, living on their own for the first time etc – reach out to them and help them in whatever manner they could. I had my managers reaching out to us and asking if we require any help or any support and I am aware of some colleagues receiving help as well. One person, Mr Bickerdike posted the idea on Facebook and received more than 800 people sign ups with a new voluntary group in Cork to help deliver groceries and other essentials to the elderly and vulnerable people who cannot leave their homes during this outbreak.
  • Ensure your maid, drivers etc are safe in their homes. Most people now fear for their jobs because of the lockdowns imposed by countries. Ensure to give them paid leaves and not be indifferent to them. Without them, our homes would not have been clean or our lives would not have been easier. They also have families to look after. They leave their children home just to ensure they clean our homes, wash vessels etc so that we live our lives easily. Ever since I have started to clean my home, I have realized how thankless we are to our maids/servants. We have to respect them and their dedication to work for us. Ensure to call your maids/drivers to check on them if they need any help.

Like I mentioned no amount of boundaries or tariffs between nations, differences of color, race, caste, creed, language, culture or financial status can come between us during such difficult times. The virus has reminded us that we are humans first and humanity is above any barrier in this world. No amount of ego, no amount of can come among us to all help each other during this crisis. It is a very difficult situation but it is wonderful to see how we all are slowly forgetting these invisible barriers and coming together as one to help out one another and that is what makes this world a better place to live in. Reach out to the needy as and when you can…. Together we can win against the pandemic.

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