Corona Diaries 56: Of New Peaks, Ranges & Human Foolishness

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Six million up, and nothing in the COVID-19 trajectory assures us that it won’t hit ten million in a couple of months. The number of deaths, a few thousands shy of a lakh now, could go up correspondingly. Alarming, yes. It should send us scampering home and tightening the bolts and latches from inside. We have chosen to go the opposite way instead, pretending all is well and backing it up with the devil-may-care attitude. It is visible all-around. If schools, offices and metros operated as normal, we may forget that corona ever existed.

Some are convinced that if the virus has not reached them so far, it never will. Some believe they have a stronger immunity shield than lesser people around and thus can easily brave it out. And for some it is a niggle that needs no more respect than the routine flu. Foolishness and overconfidence often come as a package, usually at the cost of good sense. Many don’t get it.

The situation reminds one of a joke on the internet. It goes – due apologies to the creator – like this: Friends Santa and Banta are walking through a forest when a tiger leaps in front of them. It growls and gets ready to give them the charge. A terrified Banta does some quick thinking. He throws a handful of dust into the animal’s eyes and screams to his friend ‘run, run’. But Santa stands his ground. ”You threw dust into his eyes, didn’t you? Why should I run?”

Well, the point of the joke is some people fail to gauge the gravity of a situation and some feel others would face the consequence of their actions while they would be spared. The virus is the tiger, the simple option is to try to escape its clutches and jaws. Not many, it is apparent from the crowding at public places and the general disregard for social distancing, seem to think so. The result is visible in the scary numbers that arrive in daily blasts.

Maybe the pretension is a sign of resilience and defiance too. Ever since Homo Sapiens, the human species we belong to, evolved about 70,000 years ago and went on to colonise the world, they have been taking on challenges like this. That they have survived this long is a tribute to their capacity to overcome the odds. Their immunity system has coped with viruses much deadlier. The only problem in the case of the novel coronavirus is the data base of the system carrries no experience of it and thus has failed to build a mechanism of defence. It is only a matter of time it did. The more people are exposed, the more are the chances of herd immunity taking shape.

We have no evidence of resilience equalling callousness though. Or the number of the meekest who perished to allow the fittest to survive. Let the matter rest here.

NOT ONE PEAK, BUT A MOUNTAIN RANGE

Delhi, experts say, is witnessing a second peak. There’s a fresh surge in COVID-19 cases after a lull. Interesting. Not because there is a new peak, but because we never knew there was an earlier one. It would have been reason for minor celebration had the government informed us well. A celebration is what we need most in these depressing times, any excuse for it is fine. Now, if there’s a second peak, there could be many more. In that case, we are looking at a mountain range with several peaks. Since the range is alien to us, nobody’s sure where we stand exactly.

This, however, holds true for the COVID scenario across the country, not the capital-state alone. The fluctuation in cases in states such as Odisha over the last several months is confounding. Those who might know won’t reveal the true situation to us. It’s possible they are as clueless as the man on the street. They would allow the numbers to confuse us till some clarity is available.

RUNNING OUT OF SCAPEGOATS

A normal human psychological response to an adverse situation is to shift the blame on someone. The virus is on the rampage, but scapegoats are hard to come by these days. After Muslims, migrant labourers and random superspreaders, we don’t find any. It’s been sometime since the social media erupted in outrage against one target or the other. It’s because the virus has been fairly democratic in its approach. It has treated the accuser and the potential accused equally. Thus allowing no one to assume the holier-than-thou attitude.

Since blaming someone for something is an attribute fused into our genetic code, and we need some, any reason to let it loose, we must thank the drug abuse matter in the filmi world for being of help. People have been busy taking sides and venting anger at people they are hardly familiar with. Livings rooms are alive with a lively discussion.

It all started with the death of an actor and has now meandered into drugs after pit stops at nepotism, politics etc. To refresh the public memory, his name was Sushant Singh Rajput.

IPL: THE PLEASANT DISTRACTION

Thank God for the Indian Premier League. It has brought respite from atrocious television debates helmed by obnoxious anchors and abominable panellists. The noise, at times resembling the howling of a pack of strays in the dead of the night, was getting heavy on the nerves, often leaving many in a foul mood. IPL has been a happy escape from the experience over the last week. There are interesting titbits to discuss and debate on a daily basis. It helps that matches this time are highly competitive what with a few last over finishes and super overs already.

It’s proving therapeutic for jangled, uneasy nerves. Let the show grow bigger.

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