Of and for the COVID and thereafter...

Smarajit Jana

After going through  all  different kinds of   policies, strategies  followed by the implementation of prevention programs and major  activities which are steered by  more than hundred countries  all  across the world  to address   COVID 19 epidemic  ,I sat for a while to comprehend the outcome and impact of those  National responses. Finally  I decided to  take my  stand on the side of COVID 19.I may sound like a dumb and idiot but I strongly feel  that COVID  has been unnecessarily  vindicated and has been blamed squarely for all  the ills   which has impacted   life and livelihood of millions of  human beings in the globe. When I look at in terms of loss of human life, morbidity and all different kinds of human sufferings caused due to intervention strategies adopted by the leaders and the technical experts of different countries may apparently be linked with the COVID. But if we dip down   into these issues with an open mind and unfurling underlying factors we may arrive at a different conclusion. COVID 19 has drawn anger from all corners of our society and became the victim of all kinds of jokes and   slanderous comments, criticism and even hatred which to my mind is unjustifiable and unethical to the least.

 Let me clarify my stand,

1. People are dying because there are not enough ventilators in these health care facilities. Even in the so called developed countries there is not enough bed, not sufficient numbers of care givers including lack of treatment facilities.

2 COVID 19 has opened up our eyes pointing to  the fact  how fragile the health care system  is and at which level it operates ?It  has also made it transparent regarding  the  capacity of  these health facilities which are extremely limited  and are incapable of  expanding it even  [which is  in no way  great] in exigencies. These phenomena calls for a systematic and policy level review which can’t be resolved through short term measures or through some gimmick or theatrical performances. Broadly speaking  it has bared open the  skeleton of the existing  health care system which   remind us the era of dark ages .We have to accept that  it is the’ design effect’ of our development program and policies. We couldn’t expect anything better or different with the present health care system which is the by product [even not the product] of our development goals and strategies. We accepted the authority  of this system its values and nuances which out raising a single question rather  we worshiped  anything and everything in the name and science and development  revolving around  us Then why to  blame  COVID for all our present miseries It is meant to be like that. Isn’t that true?

3.Elderly people are dying in the hospitals  because they are least protected .Our society and policy makers at large consider them as least important’ living creature’ who could be disposable .We  in general  put value to  lives of those who are ‘ productive’-the mantra of development .

4. People suffering from other morbidities stands lower in the list of attention. They  has  already consumed pie of the health  care services  so the  common underlying perception is that they have  to be put in the back burner  in all kind of exigencies as no extra recourses could be allocated to protect them . COVID intervention strategies would have been different provided we valued life of elderly and persons sufferings from co-morbidities.

5. COVID is criticized because it spreads like wild fire and moves from place to place, countries after countries in no time. As we belong to human species (we consider ourselves as the king of kings among all species) don’t like COVID’s behaviour, even though we love speed in all of our activities be it in work places, in our mode of travel and transitions, and in the process of creation and destruction of anything and everything on earth. Understandably we would hate to be compared with the behaviour of a virus, but is it not true that we have engineered the route of travel of COVID and laid down all the avenues for its rapid and smooth transmission and translocation?

6. Let’s be little clear on this issue. Slums are not created by COVID where half of cities population are cramped like in rats’ hole with little or no space for social distancing. More than half of our countries population don’t have access to safe water to drink, forget about washing hands with soap and water which is a basic minimum requirement to maintain health and hygienic practices and to avoid all kinds of infection? All these has been created and systematized by out fertile brain and selfish behaviour. Under these circumstances dragging COVID and ostracizing its behaviour is unfair and untenable.

7. To reduce the speed of COVID's movement and ostensibly to buy some times to expand health care facilities, [may be considered as the joke of the year] policy maker in many countries including ours has introduced a draconian strategy called as 'lock down'. This has put life and livelihood of millions of migrant workers and poorer sections of our society into jeopardy and with special focus to India it has not given any opportunity to get people prepared creating a huge mess and in the process indirectly cleared the roadblock for COVID's movement for which the lockdown is attempted. This is the ingenuity of Indian culture or more specifically the behaviour of the privileged sections of our society but in no way it could be linked with the COVID's behaviour, it’s neither communal nor biased towards any specific class, culture or geography.

8. At the Global level it shows the degree of helplessness and desperation across all the countries which has blown the   hollowness of our pride and granger centring on the so called ‘dazzling growth' of science and technology. However we are yet to find out any effective mechanism to combat an epidemic other than adopting four hundred years' old strategies namely quarantine, isolation and its more generalized version as the lock down approach. So what has been done since last four hundred years and where we stand at this juncture in terms of discovery and development of public health sciences? Why this miserable state of affairs in our heath development scenario at large? We hardly engage with these kinds of issues and rarely ask for true changes. It is easy to find a scapegoat to distract all other relevant and important deep rooted issues and problems primarily created by our ethos and policies. That is why the hapless COVID who been targeted so that we can forget the bigger picture and all disturbing issues and questions.

9. We love to swung with all kinds of  jargons and slogans of war and from culture of militaristic approaches which has been mindlessly copied in public health program's vocabulary e.g. war or fight against xyz, disease elimination, eradication etc with no or little respect to policies, programming and rules of the Nature. Secondly it does create a war like situation where people could be thrashed, imprisoned or be shoot at sight with the slightest violation of the ‘daktat’ legislated and implemented from the top and all kinds of human sufferings thus could be justified on ground.

10. How COVID could be made responsible for the lockdown strategy and for all the lateral damages out of it? Putting a huge lock on the front door and keeping all the windows and holes opens in a dilapidated building hardly could bring the desired outcome of lock down. Perhaps this was not unknown to the policy makers. Perhaps it would rather provide ample excuses to the leaders for the failure of intervention and to blame people for their bad behaviour. So long we are reluctant to free our conscience from its 'locked up' situation, any kinds of stricter lock down and for any duration of time are unlikely to bring respite to human sufferings. But for God’s sake Pl don’t blame COVID.Enough if enough.

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Apr 8, 2020

Dr. Smarajit Jana

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