Things to do when the social distancing norms are relaxed, and we resume normalcy?
People have a complex psyche. We do diametrically opposite of what we are told not to do. Psychologist opine, humans are born independent and want to be in control of our life. Whether you live under dictatorship, liberal democracy or where individuality is encouraged, we all want to be in charge of our life. We loath to follow instructions.Enter your text here...
There are too many conflicting numbers floating around. For this article I used the Whitehouse coronavirus task force data (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html). As of April 5, 2020, ~1.6 million people who exhibited CoViD-19 related symptoms were tested. 304,826 (~19.00%) of them tested positive. 7,616 people (2.5%) died of this disease.
More than 97% of the positive patients recover(ed). Imagine, about 94% of the total US population has not been tested for CoViD-19. The existing data gives an idea about CoViD-19 prevalence. In the absence of quarantine, CoViD-19 carriers will spread the disease in the general population infecting unsuspecting individuals.
CoViD-19 has severely restricted freedom of movement. Self-quarantine (social distancing) is in vogue as a measure to control the spread of this dreaded viral infection. We are forced to remain indoors, locked up with our near and dear ones for an extended period. Given the circumstances, everyone is looking forward to an end to this nightmare. We all hope that these restrictions will end soon.
The natural tendency will be to resume normal activities in full force, as though it is another ‘regular’ day after a long weekend. Expect people to resume partying, clubbing, hugging and social cheek rubs, kisses and more. If personal economic conditions permit, we would want to patronize restaurants, crowd the amusement parks, shop at mega malls and more.
We would celebrate waving the Flag, belching out patriotic songs, beating our chest as though we have won a war.
Though we are waging a war against an invisible enemy, we have not won the war yet. Just we bought some time, it is an uneasy truce, each side ready to breach it anytime.
Take it slow
Social distancing helped reduce the spread of community infection. It did not eliminate the disease. Healthcare facilities just bought precious time to cope-up with the rush of CoViD-19 patients. Though epidemiologists sufficiently warned we failed to prepare. We just learnt to manage to ration our resources.
Schools will be open, children will be carefree (that is what we want), fill the playgrounds.
Businesses that survived will restart ever so vigorously to recapture the customer base and the lost revenue. Expect extended operating hours, throw welcome back parties and more.
Passenger transportation services will resume normal operations. Commuter trains will ferry passenger across the cities, intercity buses and trains will be as crowded as ever. Airports will be teaming with ever eager to travel passengers.
Soon, we will forget about maintaining social hygiene. As soon as we let our guards down, we will lay the red-carpet welcome mat for the second wave of infection to set in. This will make all the trouble of staying indoors, ruining our economy will be lost. We do not want yet another extended lock down. It is our collective responsibility to prevent the return of this dreaded disease.
The ‘new normal’
If you do not want the return of this proverbial apocalypse, here is what we can do:
The need of the hour is to realize the seriousness of the CoViD-19, and the individual measures needed to contain this disease. Charity begins at home. We can eradicate this disease one individual at a time, starting with the pledge “I will be part of the solution”.
This too, shall pass.
About the author: Subbarayan R Pochi Ph.D. is an accomplished infectious diseases researcher. At the National Institute of Health, Tokyo, Japan he led a research project to develop vaccines against Enterotoxic E. coli (ETEC) that causes economic devastation in pig farms. Currently, he is the director of Full Potential Learning Academy (https://FullPotentialTutor.Com) a one-on-one tutoring center located in Miami Lakes, FL, where students learn one-on-one onsite and via live online. Take online tutoring, Beat the coronavirus. You can email Dr. Pochi at director@FullPotentialTutor.Com.