Habits to be Changed for Avoiding COVID-19

Gautam Kumar Das

A man of regular habits cannot get out of his bad habits of taking liquor and tobacco-products as habit is a second nature. The persons, at present pandemic of Corona virus, must avoid these habit-forming drinking and smoking. But the people, even our lawmakers, depend heavily on such habit in the present crisis of the outbreak of Corona virus. In all seriousness, Mr. Bharat Singh Kundanpur, Congress MLA from Sangod Assembly Constituency in Kota district of Rajasthan wrote to the Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in urging to open liquor shops in the state pointing out the reason - when alcohol-based sanitizer can wash the Corona virus off hands, it will dislodge the virus from tipplers’ throats.

Mr. B. Kundankar’s Communist Party of India-Marxist colleague Balwan Singh Punia, MLA from Bhadra Assembly segment, in a similar plea, supports too in this move stating that the closure of alcohol shops had led to spurious liquor business flourishing, affecting people’s health. The liquor and beer makers in the country make another plea writing letters to Chief Ministers of all states, barring those under prohibition that the alcohol beverage industry contributes over Rs. 2 lakh crore in taxes, sustains the livelihood of 40 lakh farmers, and employs 20 lakh people. A prolong shut down of industry is forcing lakhs of farmers and workers into joblessness and poverty. But the habit of taking liquor have a strong presentiment it’ll prove a success on contamination of the COVID-19 particularly in the countries where people are generally habituated with drinking, as because it is Corona virus. The world has called it a Novel Corona virus, but in fact it is a saga of the wanderings of COVID-19, one of the family members of the corona viruses in almost all countries in the globe. Therefore, every individuals of the world have to take necessary safe guards against the contamination of COVID-19 into the innocent persons, particularly in their day to day habits like smoking and drinking. They must be concerned about the safety of the themselves first and the question arises - are the persons sure about the safety of the drinking or smoking, or that habit of them is a good safety-valve for their pent-up frustrations during the span of social distancing in the lock down period in the country or all over the world. All these are for early in the corona virus crisis, some people claim that drinking strong alcohol kills the virus in our stomachs, just as using hand sanitizer with high alcohol content kills it on our skin. As the WHO is quick to point out, this is not true and drinking alcohol does not prevent or protect against the corona virus. Again, it is another fake news appearing to be from the health services sectors circulated on social media stating consuming alcohol beverages may help to reduce the risk of infection by the novel corona virus - this was just one of the many examples of misinformation circulating about corona virus. Globally different sources found 21% of persons between the ages of 18 and 34 and 25% between the ages of 35 and 54 reported an increase in the amount of alcohol they consumed during isolation period as experienced since adopting physical distancing measures. WHO reminds people that drinking alcohol does not protect them from COVID-19, and encourages governments to enforce measures which limit alcohol consumption globally?

The global research of late states that the corona virus spread in the air and transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks and last in the air for several days. Even the WHO does not confirm how many days COVID-19 may persist on surface or air as corona virus is detected on particles of air pollution. The behaviour of COVID-19 is unpredictable as the COVID-19 is undergone rapid mutations and it does not seem to behave like other corona viruses. So one shouldn’t smoke in a public place or even in this phase of physical distancing as it results smoke nuisance and leads to no smoke without fire for infection into the innocent persons. Smokers likely face more severe symptoms if infected, leading to hospitalizations and premature deaths. Presently, owners of the tobacco industries globally have tried to get tobacco shops listed as essential and offer free delivery of tobacco products to people in quarantine period. Specialists of health services have warned that smokers with COVID-19 likely suffer more serious conditions that could lead to premature deaths. WHO further warned that the using tobacco products can increase chance of getting COVID-19 by bringing person’s hands to their months can transfer the virus into their body, sharing tobacco products can transmit the virus between people. Tobacco weakens our respiratory systems making us more vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. Using tobacco and drinking alcohol to cope with boredom during the COVID-19 lock down can affect immunity as well as mental health - the Union Health Ministry of the Government of India urged the people amid rising cases of the novel corona virus.

But the people don’t lend their ears to such government’s utmost efforts, they are seen to form a huge queue before a foreign liquor shop elongated about 200 meters on the road at a certain area of Kolkata south metropolis in the morning of the day before announcement of lock down in order to store more bottles with wine improving stocks of their own. The Chief Minister of a state asked to the Prime Minister to give approval for home delivery of foreign liquor, but the Prime Minister’s refusal cut the Chief Minister to the quick. Of late all the citizens of the country including the  Chief Ministers of the states and the Prime Minister of the country should be remembered that the COVID-19 pandemic is showing that no country or region is immune and the immunization is a shared responsibility in this pandemic crisis of COVID-19 outbreak in the country. Recently, West Bengal government has allowed liquor shops to be opened in certain localities. People found to be thronging around those areas.   

May 8, 2020

 Gautam Kumar Das

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