‘Right now there are two battles, the one in our heads about the pandemic and 2, the actual pandemic itself.’
As we face this crisis together as a people, we will emerge stronger,” clinical psychologist and medical researcher at Mumbai’s Jaslok Hospital Maherra Desai, co-author of The Coronavirus: What You Need To Know About The Global Pandemic, tells Rediff.com’s Archana Masih.
People are anxious, many are in panic about Covid-19. What should be the proper way to deal with this pandemic by the people?
People tend to polarise into two reactions — one set of people are getting extremely anxious and constantly getting updated with the storm of information — on news channels, wtaspp and sometimes get conflicting information and don’t know what to believe.
The lack of adequate knowledge from reliable sources is causing a lot of panic.
The other reaction is of people dismissing the information. They feel that they will be invincible through this and nothing will happen.
What is required is to tread a fine line between these two reactions. Both these situations — panic or complete oblivion — does not help in dealing with the situation.
There are very few who are calm and collected through this and that number needs to increase.
What should we be doing and what is the best way for citizens to look at this crisis?
We need adequate information about the disease and know how it spreads.
To explain: 1. There is the virus and 2. The disease it causes.
We are heading to a situation where the virus is going to be all around us. You can have the virus on your hand and still not have the disease.
The disease happens when the virus attacks us and the only way it can happen is through our eyes, nose mouth and broken skin.
Till I’m doing everything to prevent that from happening by adequately washing my hands before touching my eyes, nose and mouth, irrespective of where I go, I can prevent the virus from getting into me. The other thing is to keep 1 to 2 metres distance.
One must avoid the sneezes from coming onto you. Hence, keep 1 to 2 metre distance and sneeze into your sleeve. These two things are most important.
There seems to be some kind of stigma being attached to those who have been quarantined or have recovered, also foreigners.
Stigma is coming from half information. Lack of awareness is leading to this kind of situation.
We are moving into survival mode and everyone wants to protect themselves. Anyone seen to be vulnerable or a suspected case, people tend to react as if they have committed a crime.
This pandemic is real and around us, but it is not the only thing in our lives. It is very important to find that balance between being informed about it and being stormed with information.
We are increasingly being home because of this pandemic and every new information comes as a new scare. Our attitude is going to be absolutely critical.
Do what is in control by protecting yourself rather than blaming people.
There are many who are constantly seeing the news, checking their phones — try to maintain a balance.
Keep a routine for the day, get adequate sleep, eat nutritious food to ensure that you are mentally and physically in the best health to face the infection.
Many people feel imprisoned, but make the best of the time on your hands and use it effectively. Read a book and spend time with family, talk to friends on the phone you haven’t spoken to in a while.