Kashmir is a different entity, the more you try to understand it, the more surprises it throws your way. COVID19, initially when India announced lockdown 1.0, was a dreadful disease.
People would tremble if a case surfaced in the locality. My time in the health surveillance team was an eye opener. People would take precautions once a village was declared a red-zone. People would maintain distance from the house, wearing masks was mandatory and COVID19 was feared of. Comparatively cases then were meagre than now. But the picture now is different.
It is no longer feared of. People here seem to have beaten this dreadful disease. We seem to have overcome the toughest phase. We no longer look at the number of infections.
They are purely stats for us now. No emotion, no fear no sympathy, but news. People hide their contacts and those who are suspected are literally being dragged for COVID19 tests. Even tests are doubtful for them.
They doubt the results if it comes positive. There are ‘n’ number of theories doing rounds now. Majority of the people sense conspiracies, believe in rumours and subscribe to myths. COVID19 is no longer feared.
Even though the cases shoot up day in and day out and fatalities due to the virus are closing-in to 80 but people have no reason to be frightful. People are seen unnecessarily roaming on the roads, crowding shopkeepers and throwing precautions to the wind.
Those who could teach and lead by the example are the ones who shoulder least responsibility. What a bizarre explanation that COVID19 doesn’t kill people, it’s actually those other diseases that kill people and administration labels them as COVID19 victims. Another theory doing rounds is that Kashmir is used to cold, flu and fever and our immune system had adapted to it, thus nulling the effect of COVID19 , if any.
This is in contrast to the Doctors Association Kashmir’s (DAK) apprehension that more than 98% of populace is susceptible to COVID19. People generally don’t pay heed to expert advices and guidelines, nor do we listen to radio or TV advisories.
Therefore, what’s the epicentre of our novel information related to novel Coronavirus?Unfortunately, the roadside meetings and shopping places. We hardly listen to the genuine voices but believe in hearsay. We love myths, rumours and spicy chats.
This habit of ours may lead us to our doom. In this 21st century led by rationalism, science and technology, ignorance, myths and rituals have no place. We must change our style of thinking and condition our mind to the scientific outlook, or else, we don’t fit in and Darwin’s ‘Survival of the fittest’ fits in.
Farooq Yousuf Lone is a Health Surveillance Team Member.