Are we into the COVID-19 Second Wave?
Frightening; abject fear instilling! That’s the effect of the new cluster of COVID-19. Sri Lanka was so blessed the first time around as it was magnificently contained to a small number of infected persons, sadly from the Navy too, through having had to give chase to runaway, infected druggies. Headed by the President and the Army Chief and Dr Jasinghe with the armed forces and health services behind them and working efficiently and unstintingly, we managed with just 11 deaths and contained infection.
The picture has changed completely in many ways. The dreaded disease is spreading faster than it can be caught and kept at bay. The dreaded social contagion is upon us.
Theories float and still do. One was that predominantly Buddhist countries were spared the worst. Looking around the world this presumption seemed to carry weight. There is an explanation apart from the divine and esoteric. Buddhists are by far more amenable to restrictions. They take curtailments, strictures and the slings of Karma in their stride. They are more self sacrificing and thus lockdowns did not bother them too much, not even psychologically. Also bright sunlight seemed to burn out the deadly virus.
But taking things and the good, too much for granted; getting careless about precautions; forgetting COVID-19 was just around the corner waiting to spring; made us careless. We sang and danced in large numbers. Even catering to bookworms was injurious and too early an event. People went about without face masks, and here our politicians were much to blame. Social distancing was thrown to the winds. We are basically a Nation of companionship and closeness. See how many girls and even men walk hand in hand – mere friends. Queues are always tight with people standing close to each other. This is a habit. Your place in the queue is marked, so why need you stand breathing into the person in front of you? But no, that is the way a queue snakes itself. I have kept my distance from the person in front, but not so the one behind me. I take two steps forward to distance myself. He behind me does the same!
Some western countries subscribed to the theory that the pandemic must be allowed to spread so humans develop immunity. It definitely did not work with this virus. The US President was of this opinion and wanted the economy unharmed by too many lockdowns. But what was the result? The horrendous spread of the disease and deaths in the thousands.
A fact that is highlighted is that countries led by women Presidents or Prime Ministers contained the spread of infection better. This is undeniable, judging by the minimal spread in New Zealand, Taiwan, even Germany. The opposite to this is the United States.
True or false
The question floating around is whether the COVID-19 attack on the US first couple is true or an ingenious hoax? It is difficult to believe that Trump, in his seventies, got such a mild attack that after three days in hospital he was back in the White House tweeting away and having conferences – on line though. He was on Monday stomping on the Election campaign, the doctors having ruled that he is negative and therefore non infectious. He looks to be as strong as a bull! He goes around, now with proof he says, the “Chinese infection” as he never fails to term COVID-19, is just flu. “See, I completely got over it within a week, so why not everyone else?”
We need to take precautions. They are far from impossible and actually so simple. Hand and face hygiene; wearing face masks; social distancing and cutting down social activities. We need friends and relatives keeping close as there is the never seen but ever present danger of pandemics: the psychological effects. These times are periods of strain and stress, to some traumatic. Thus the need to spend more time being religious whether listening to sermons or meditating, radiating metta is superb, for yourself and others.
We hope that as Sri Lanka rubber balls itself and jumps over troubles, it will beat the pandemic soon.