Any Calamity is bad in itself. There are so many different sections of the society that work tirelessly to fight a calamity. But it isn’t the calamity alone that they have to overcome. A million other factors pop-up in between. Some of them might be the direct effects trickling down but some of them are completely unforeseen and mostly man-made.
The initial days of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 disease did see a lot of difficulties that partly contributed to the virus going out of control and not surprisingly, it began in China, the epicenter of the disease. This material has been gathered after going through multiple articles online. If you’d like to go into the details, you can find the links of the various sources from which I compiled these.
- Doctor Li Wenliang – I had mentioned this name in my previous post. This 34 year old doctor, on 30th December, wrote in a private chat group containing medics about 7 cases of patients with SARS like symptoms that were reported. Soon he confirmed that it was a certain type of Coronavirus infection. He asked the doctors and their families to take protective measures. However, the information began spreading and on 3rd Jan, he was summoned by the Police and was given a warning notice for ‘making false comments on the internet’. He was informed that if this was be repeated, he would be prosecuted.
Li contracted the virus on 8th Jan. He published his experience, with the police, on social media and while he had promised that he’d recover and return to fight the disease, he died of it on 7th February. It caused considerable grief and anguish among the people. “The hashtag #wewantfreedomofspeech gained over 2 million views and over 5,500 posts within 5 hours before it was removed by the censors, as were other related hashtags and posts.” Source : Wikipedia.
- After the first act of suppression, for a long time it was believed that the virus was contracted only by the people who visited the Wuhan market. WHO, till Jan 14th, reported that there was no clear evidence of human to human transmission. However on 15th Jan, the Wuhan Municipal Health commission said that the possibility couldn’t be ruled out. After this, on 18th Jan, Annual Wuhan Lunar New Year banquet, where thousands of people gathered, was held.
Clearly, people weren’t warned on time, a lot of information was withheld, and anybody who disclosed any information became a ‘rumormonger’ and disciplined. If the people were warned and measures were taken at least a week earlier, it wouldn’t have come to this. Because it was on Jan 23rd that Wuhan declared a lock-down and precisely on that very day, around 5 million people left the city without being screened for the illness. (Source – nytimes and axios)
- The disease began to erupt in various parts of the world. However considering the population of China and the rate of spread of the virus in the other parts of the world, a suspicion arose as to whether China was under-reporting the numbers of infected cases and deaths. There are several reasons for this, such as:
a) Initially China reported only the severely affected cases.
b) Deaths after being diagnosed with the virus was reported while the reports of people collapsing in the streets and homes before diagnosing weren’t included.
c) There were unofficial reports that several funeral homes were handing out 500 funeral urns with the remains of suspected COVID-19 patients daily for 12 days (Source – TIME)
- Meanwhile, there were some other sections of the society that was suffering; the Asians in various parts of the world. Some Uber drivers in US as well as Uber riders, have reported discrimination. Some riders do not want to pick up riders of Asian origin and some riders cancel the ride as soon as they see that the driver has an Asian name.
In Sydney, a footage of a 19 year old woman yelling at two Asians girls who were crossing the road. She’s heard saying, “Stay away from them, they’ve got Coronavirus.”
In Israel, an Indian origin man was mistaken to be a Chinese and beaten up by two Israelis. They screamed ‘Corona! Corona!’ while beating him up and weren’t willing to listen to him when he was saying that he wasn’t a Chinese.
Who would have thought that during these difficult times, people could harbor so much of hatred!
- Let’s come to India. Mujeeb Muhammed who was an Infosys employee posted on his Facebook page, “Let’s join hands, go out and sneeze with open mouth in public. Spread the virus.” Infosys sacked him after investigating into the matter.
While I am no one to comment on the governance of a country, the last two scenarios of the way people behave during a pandemic baffles me. You won’t believe! I came home from Bangalore well before the number of cases increased in India and I kept wondering if I should go and get myself tested. I wasn’t showing any symptoms. But I didn’t want to take any chances. Not because I was scared for my life, but for the people around me. That’s how cautious most of us are!
Phew! This series is going darker than I anticipated.
Let me end my posts with a movie/series suggestion that you can use during these lock-down days : Five Feet Apart (Movie – Netflix & YouTube)
This post is a part of April A2Z Challenge 2020 with Blogchatter. Every day of April, I will be publishing one post on the Theme, ‘Life in the time of Coronavirus’. If you like my writings, you can also follow me on Instagram at @afew.handpickedthings.