From the Viewsroom

Don’t downplay the risk of Covid

PT Jyothi Datta | Updated on July 19, 2020 Published on July 19, 2020

It encourages irresponsible behaviour, which will set us back

It is a plea often heard from scientists when it comes to messaging on the coronavirus (Covid-19). Do not underplay the threat posed by the virus, as that has people behaving irresponsibly and not taking the precautions they need to.

The disastrous consequences of inconsistent messaging are being witnessed as cities go back into or mull another lockdown. Globally, too, countries have denied the impact of the virus only to have it flare up and put tremendous pressure on hospitals and the medical staff.

There is a sense of political one-upmanship possibly at play here, as some States show a “clean” report card of few Covid cases and fewer deaths. But sweeping the reality under the carpet only encourages casual behaviour where people don’t wear masks or take basic preventive measures. And that sets society and the economy back many paces.

In fact, the States to be commended are the ones showing realistic report cards, testing and taking targeted and systematic measures to deal with the virus spread. This is important given the finite resources available. The medical staff is over-worked and tired, and the hospital infrastructure is creaking under the burden of sheer volumes.

A better approach to dealing with the virus is keeping the messaging clear and consistent across States, and have them learn from each other’s successes and mistakes.

It is a serious infection that scientists across the world are trying to understand first, in order to develop a medicine or vaccine to tackle its spread. The scientific community is still grappling with whether a person can get reinfected, what the virus’ impact is on multiple organs, the range of symptoms and so on.

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Published on July 19, 2020
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