Corona Notes: Pandemic Has Reinforced Humanity Is The Only Religion
As a dreaded virus spreads its tentacles across the world, it is imperative to share experiences and learnings for benefit of different communities. In this Odisha Bytes special series titled Corona Notes, we would publish articles by people residing in different countries and continents on how they are coping with the COVID challenge.
Life is so full of uncertainties.
Who would have thought that the whole human population would be on the tenterhooks one day for a virus outbreak in this age and time? I remember when the virus first appeared in Wuhan, it provided fodder for lunch hour gossip in the office with colleagues coming up with creative jokes about Chinese food habits.
This was till the first case was reported on March 1 in Florida, a state in the East Coast of the USA, where currently I reside. Fellow Indian friends were quicker on the uptake than local residents when it came to following the protocol. We started greeting each other with a Namaste instead of shaking hands in office as an immediate measure. But we still had no idea that it would soon snowball into a global pandemic.
As the numbers kept going up, the panic among the population became palpable. Social events were shunned and public places were viewed with suspicion. Among the casualties was a scheduled socio-cultural gathering of the Odia community in Florida at the local Hindu temple that had to be cancelled.
Today the United States is the most-affected country in the world with over 7,50,000 positive cases and over 35,000 deaths. Looking at the numbers it’s quite evident that the American authorities and the country’s citizens were complacent and under prepared to tackle the corona catastrophe.
However, Indians here have been religiously following social distancing norms and have kept themselves at home much before the state authorities issued official advisories to that effect. We have completely stopped going out except for fetching essentials once or twice in a month.
As a precautionary measure, the leasing office of the gated community where I stay currently has barred access to all the common areas and started addressing the issues of the tenants remotely. Most of the tenants are Indians and have responded to the lockdown rules pretty well. We adhere to all the guidelines set by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the service organization that protects public health in the US.
Even though the virus has spread like wildfire in this country, our mindspace is occupied by the evolving situation in India. We are keenly aware that the healthcare system in our country of birth is not the best in the world and it can’t be improved overnight. But the measures taken by the central and state governments to control the COVID-19 spread are exemplary and have been deservedly hailed across the world.
Let me reiterate that we need to follow the instructions of the authorities so that we avoid community transmission of the disease. A single irresponsible act by citizens will reduce the efforts of the government and all the hard work of the medical fraternity, police and other support staff to an exercise in futility. I call upon all fellow Indians to rise above all differences and put up a united show to defeat the pandemic.
The corona outbreak has undoubtedly re-established and reinforced the fact that humanity is the only religion.
Let’s be responsible. We shall overcome!
(The author is an IT professional based at Tampa, Florida, USA)