Day 74: ‘This is our time to be kind’
Deaths and infections are rising at an alarming pace in India. It has hit 200,000 infections and more than 6000 deaths. The western region of Maharashtra, with Mumbai, is recording the highest number of infections. In the eastern region, where I am currently located, it is relatively better, and our district is still a green zone. Meanwhile, in Karnataka, the state changed the quarantine rules for visitors arriving in the state from Maharashtra. Business travelers with less than seven days of stay in the state do not need to be quarantined. This is as arbitrary as the earlier arrangements. As I see, administrative functions of the states in India do not seem to be in sync or even making an effort to check with each other if the rules introduced to control Covid-19 are consistent with epidemiological understanding and on ground situations. It is a hard one to balance. But a rigorous coordination and information sharing is the only effective way out given the way infections have spread in the country.
The uncertainty about work and movement in the months ahead continues. It is not in the same intensity as it was in April. We have seem to now come around, accepting the threat and working around it even as we see our governments struggling to respond, contain and protect everyone. It is a tough situation.
Among other readings, I read about a profile piece on Dr Bonnie Henry, a Provincial Health Officer from British Columbia. There have been 2,597 cases of COVID-19 in her province, including 165 people who have died. She comes across as a kind of health officer that the world needs more of right now. She reflects that ‘the keys to an effective quarantine, she came to understand, were communication and support, like food and medical follow-up, not punitive measures.’ What seems to have struck a chord with the people is her message – ‘This is our time to be kind, to be calm and to be safe.’ There are a lot many professionals of her kind who have led efforts in their countries and cities. We need to know more of them and their work. Instead, Covid-19 reporting has been largely about fights between countries, within countries and the toxicity of our current leaders beamed live in print and on TV. We can do better.
For me, changing places has helped in cutting off from the constant stream of information and take the time for slow reading and reflection interspersed with working from home.