We are in the midst of a huge crisis caused by COVID-19. Quarantine. Lockdown. Interruptions in sales, production and job losses.
I felt sad reading news about a migrant worker saying, “I will die of hunger earlier than COVID-19.” Equally frustrating is to notice someone sick with the virus and unable to get a bed in intensive care unit. Scientists, leaders and philanthropists are doing what they feel is best.
But what can we – the people who have a job, all meals to eat, a house to live in, and some money in banks – do?
I will propose the following five ideas:
- Embrace social distancing but keep in touch with each other: One of my friends told me that her physiotherapist regularly calls her and reminds her to continue with her exercises. My friend is touched by the gesture. Online/skype /zoom calls with family, colleagues and friends are a great way to keep in touch. Talk to people. This way, all will feel less isolated.
- Applaud health care workers but follow the instructions: Health care workers are at the front of the battle, risking their own life. It is a great idea to applaud them. But this is not enough. We need to reduce the burden on them. We can do this by changing behaviours and embracing safer practices such as washing hands, wearing masks, and social distancing.
- Do what you can: We can all do a few things to reduce the shock on people who are suffering the most. If God has made us the source of livelihood for some like drivers, domestic help etc. we need to pay them even if they can’t come to work. Leaving all to the mercy of governments will not work. We can use our networks and skills to do fund raising and support the work of NGOs. It is heartening to see great acts of solidarity, support, kindness, and care on social media.
- Don’t spread fake news: Social media is full of news. A friend sent a message on WhatsApp saying “I haven’t got any message on COVID-19 in last ten minutes. Am I the only one alive? We all need to be careful. To get factual information, use credible websites such as the World Health Organization, rather than forwarding unconfirmed sensational news.
- Take care of your health: In crisis situations like this, your own health can suffer. Stocking food and groceries may be necessary but do keep the medicines you/ your family needs. Continued teleworking can be stressful. Don’t forget to do your exercises. Realizing that I was not walking as much as I normally do in my office during the first week of teleworking, I have started talking some of my phone calls while walking in my room. It helps. I feel less tired and stressed of sitting in one place.