The pandemic has brought out different reactions from different people. While some are terrified and are taking extreme measures to protect themselves, some seem unfazed by the virus. The following is a conversation between three friends discussing the changes in their lifestyles.
HATASH– terrified of COVID-19
NIRASH– has 0 fears in life
SUBHASH– is rational
Here they go…
*HATASH and NIRASH are on a video call on a conference app*
NIRASH: We could have just met in real life. I don’t understand why we need to use an app to talk.
HATASH: What do you mean you don’t understand? You do watch the news, don’t you?
NIRASH: Yes, of course, I watch the news. All of this is just the public overreacting.
HATASH: Overreacting? People have been dropping dead like flies!
NIRASH: Can you please stop being so dramatic? They have ended the lockdown. We don’t even live in a red zone! I see no reason to not go out. When was the last time you stepped out?
HATASH: Uh… it’s been a little over two months? I haven’t stepped out since they announced the first phase of the lockdown,
NIRASH: That is such a pathetic way to live.
HATASH: Excuse me?! The moment I step out, I am going to contract the virus. Do you even realise how dangerous that can be? And at least I don’t go grocery shopping at the most crowded stores in the neighbourhood. Um, social distancing knocked, it wants in on your lifestyle!
NIRASH: That is the only place open that has everything I need! And I don’t really believe in this social distan-
*A third screen appears on the call*
HATASH: It’s SUBHASH. I asked him to join. Since we are having trouble talking two lines without shouting at one another, I figured it would help to have a third person. Hopefully, after this, you will act more sensibly.
SUBHASH: Hi Guys!
NIRASH: Hi SUBHASH.
SUBHASH: So what’s the issue?
HATASH: Well, NIRASH right here thinks he is immortal. You know all the guidelines that have been issued by WHO to keep ourselves safe? He follows none of those!
SUBHASH: Oh wow. That is… reckless.
NIRASH: No it’s not. Last year, I was doing the same things I am doing right now. It was perfectly normal then and it should be so right now!
SUBHASH: But don’t you think the situation has changed drastically since last year?
NIRASH: Not really. I mean, sure, there’s a virus. But it’s a tiny little thing. Also, I read that it only kills old people and people with low immunity. I am a very healthy person. I don’t have any ailments. So even if I DO get the virus, I will only be sick for like a week or two. Moreover, they have made the lockdown restrictions more lax. It’s not like I am doing anything illegal by going out.
HATASH: Have you seen the stats? Plenty of young, healthy people die of the virus too!
NIRASH: The chances of me contracting it are very, very small.
SUBHASH: That is true NIRASH. Even if you get sick, you will probably not die. And yes, lockdowns are slowly being lifted.
NIRASH: Exactly. And we are Indians, our immune systems are so much stronger than the people in Western countries.
SUBHASH: If that were true, Indians would be the healthiest people on the planet. Last I checked, that wasn’t the case.
NIRASH: But it is such a waste to not live your life the way you want to just because of a tiny little virus that isn’t even deadly to you.
SUBHASH: But think about it this way. The second you have the virus, you also have the ability to spread it. You might not even know you have it for a while. During that period when you have the virus but don’t know about it, you might go visit a grandparent or a sick friend or your baby cousins. You will be putting all of those people at risk. And unlike you, they probably don’t have their immune systems in tip-top condition.
NIRASH: Oh okay. Maybe I will try avoiding going to crowded places then. But what’s the point of a mask? I have read multiple articles that say that only the medical-grade masks help protect against the virus and those are reserved for doctors and nurses. I don’t understand all these people with their cloth masks.
SUBHASH: You are absolutely right. Just a mask isn’t going to save you. But it can help when it is combined with other precautions like keeping a 6 feet distance between people. If you have the virus, a mask will help contain it. It helps reduce the distance the virus can travel. Any mask is better than no mask.
NIRASH: Okay.. but it’s summer right now. The temperatures are on the rise. The virus will die on its own anyway.
SUBHASH: I understand why you might believe that. Viruses usually spread more during the colder months. But that doesn’t mean they go away completely in summers. They are just slower. Even researchers don’t know how the COVID-19 virus will behave with temperature changes. So, it is best to take the WHO guidelines seriously.
HATASH: See? SUBHASH agrees with everything I said. I don’t want to say that I told you so but I told you so!
NIRASH: I somehow don’t think he agrees with everything you said. I agree I was at fault but what you do is too extreme.
HATASH: A little extra caution never killed anyone.
NIRASH: You live alone. Can you say that this extreme isolation thing that you are doing is not taking a toll on your mental health? And your physical health?
HATASH: Well, I do get lonely sometimes. And I have gained about 10 pounds in the last two months. But all of this is worth it. If I just keep doing this until a vaccine is found, I will be fine.
SUBHASH: HATASH, I am so proud of you for following all the social distancing rules. But you are letting it get to you. Panicking is not going to help. The goal is not just to be safe. It is to be safe and sane. Try something that will calm you like meditation or yoga. Don’t listen to everything on the news.
HATASH: What kind of advice is that? The news is important! How else will I know what is happening around me?
SUBHASH: I said, don’t listen to EVERYTHING on the news. Not ignore the news completely. Selective intake of information is key in times like these. Call your friends once in a while and have conversations that are preferably not like the one you were having right now. Talk about things that are not COVID-19 related. It should help you get your mind off of things.
NIRASH: HATASH is also about to give away his dog of 5 years because he thinks animals spread COVID-19.
HATASH: There was an article in the newspaper about a dog that tested positive!
SUBHASH: It is right that there are some cats and dogs that became mildly sick with COVID-19. But no evidence suggests that they can spread the virus. If anything, it looks like those animals got the virus after being in contact with infected humans. So don’t do anything rash like giving away your pet.
NIRASH: Can you also please tell him how dangerous it is for his health to drink alcohol every day?
HATASH: Hand sanitizers have alcohol in them and they disinfect well. It only makes sense that drinking alcohol regularly can disinfect my body as well.
SUBHASH: Using alcohol on your hands is different from consuming it. Yes, it disinfects your hands but that isn’t how it works inside your body. In fact, consumption of alcohol can weaken your immune system.
HATASH: And what about steam? I inhale it because I read somewhere that it can protect you
SUBHASH: There is no proof of that. You should be careful. You might end up with a burn.
HATASH: So what should I do? I mean, is there anything I can do to protect myself better?
SUBHASH: You are already doing a fantastic job. Just don’t take it too far. It is not good to be on either extreme. You might not be scared but don’t underestimate the virus. The same goes for NIRASH. And if you read something about the virus somewhere, research about it. Don’t just implement it into your life without knowing the facts.
NIRASH: Got it.
SUBHASH: Well, I need to go now. Let’s talk again later?
HATASH: Sure, bye.