There is nothing to fear, nothing to feel threatened about.
Let me begin by confessing that the title of this article may seem to be a little too far fetched given the current times we live in. Everybody around me appears terrified while they consume endless hours of sensational prime time news or clickbait worthy headlines from online news mediums. Everyone is convinced that apocalypse is swiftly approaching and there has been recent news that young and mid-aged individuals are approaching their lawyers so that their “will” can be made. (Borzykowski, 2020 March 25)
While the economic repercussions of the worldwide slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic are undeniable; the mass hysteria caused by TRP hungry-Web traffic demanding media news outlets is reprehensible. Just to put in perspective, consider below-mentioned points:
· Accidents on India’s roads killed more than 151,400 people in 2018, according to official data, compare that to the 3-month casualty figure of Corona. Ever saw news channels crying wolf for road accidents? (Alexandra Ulmer, April 2020)
· Tuberculosis, infected over 1.7 million people and killed over 56,000 in India in the year 2017 alone. It also has a fatality percentage of 3.2% (S, May 2020)
· India’s net mortality rate of its citizens in consideration of all possible causes (natural & unnatural) has lowered during Corona pandemic. (Frayer, April 2020)
There are two parts of a pandemic spread: First is confidence of the general public in the belief that “All is well” and second is scientists’ confidence in the belief that “a cure is possible”. Historically speaking, we have had many deadly pandemics ravaging throughout continents, annihilating cities, making ghost towns, and filling graveyards. Some such diseases can be recollected by our senior readers as measles, smallpox, and plague. Tuberculosis was also a serious disease that killed many when its cure was yet to be found.
It is compelling to note at this point that while the above mentioned diseases wreaked havoc; no city was put under lockdown; no country was prevented from functioning and people continued living their normal lives. Of course, they might have lived in fear but they accepted the fact that death is ultimate truth and can not be evaded. In my opinion, such a realization is lacking in our predominantly young population who were born with landline phones and video games. The simple act of video game figures returning from their death by a flick of a button has led our millennials to believe that they can avoid the act of dying.
Advances in modern medicine is another underlying cause of this “never say die” attitude. From vitamin supplements to body mass gainers, plastic surgery to heart transplants, white coat wearing-stethoscope hanging doctors constantly give us the feeling that medical science is one step away from playing god. And while I have nothing against advances of medical sciences, I am all against shunning away our human traits which make us human in the first place.
Humans are social animals. Our gradual developments from being apes in the African continent to mastering the world and setting foot on the Moon was made possible because we lived together, ate together, fought together, and died together. All such things make us human. To bid goodbye to all these activities and shunning yourself to the confines of your home is laughable.
But my opinion is just mine. What I find “laughable” is “quite serious” for all others and I have an idea as to why things are so. I will confess here that I come from the field of academics and diligently guard myself against the overconsumption of news. So much so, that my smartphone doesn’t have a news application and I checked if my TV was functioning properly around 20 days back. I am a reclusive hermit in this modern age of 24x7 connectivity. And while you might roll your eyes on every small or big piece of news being bombarded at you, I still have the luxury of hearing the same piece from someone else’s mouth even after a week has passed away.
It has been my experience, and many other that constantly being bombarded by news has a detrimental effect on an individual (TommieMedia, November 2019). You start following news anchors, expert pundits, and armchair activists. And while you lose your judgment of what’s right or wrong, the same jeopardy can be taken by big corporations to their advantage. Take for example the initial mass hysteria of sanitizing hands with alcohol sanitizers. While people were buying small bottles of it on obnoxious prices, I was laughing all the time with the idea of sanitizing hands while remaining at home all the time in Lockdown 1.0 .
Since I come from the field of Management and have worked closely with excel sheet consuming, conference call making managers, I know this fact all to well how “demand” of a product is created by “inventing” a new reason to buy. In the above example, demand was artificially created by selling the idea to the people that they were vulnerable to the virus even while sitting inside their homes while no one in their entire house had the dreaded infection with a 2% mortality.
The crux here is that there is nothing to fear, nothing to feel threatened about. The beauty of life is in its inert property of having an unknown future. Live all the time you have on this planet. Enjoy life to the fullest. Take care of your family the best you can and keep humming old Hindi songs I so often find refuge in, like “Main Zindagi ka Saath nibhata chala gaya…”.
Alexandra Ulmer, S. K. (April 2020). Reuters Report. Mumbai. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-india-casualties/mortality-rates-drop-sharply-in-parts-of-india-bucking-coronavirus-trend-idUSKCN2260WM
Borzykowski, B. (2020 March 25). CNBC Report. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/25/coronavirus-pandemic-triggers-rush-by-americans-to-make-online-wills.html
Frayer, L. (April 2020). NPR Report. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/27/845352185/despite-the-pandemic-india-sees-a-drop-in-mortality-under-lockdown
S, R. (May 2020). LiveMint Report. Retrieved from https://www.livemint.com/news/india/how-covid-19-compares-against-other-killer-diseases-in-india-11588675423214.html
TommieMedia. (November 2019). Over-consumption of news can be detrimental to mental health. Retrieved from https://www.tommiemedia.com/featured-news/opinion-over-consumption-of-news-can-be-detrimental-to-mental-health/
The author is research scholar in Mahatma Gandhi Central University, Motihari and is an intern at Academics4nation.