Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Coronavirus case in Bengaluru

There seems to be only one topic of conversation - coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes. It all started in a city in China called Wuhan, in late December, and now it has spread to over 1 million people in a good number of countries around the world.

India's first patient was in my home state of Kerala - a student of Wuhan University tested positive on Jan 30. Since then many states of India have been reporting cases, most of them are returnees from China or Italy.

Yesterday, the city I live in currently, Bengaluru, reported its first patient. A computer engineer who returned from the United States on March 1. There are now four patients in the state of Karnataka, of which Bengaluru is the capital. More and more cities are reporting positive cases, and the total must now be around 50 in India. There are no deaths.

NO PANIC OR SCRAMBLE

I have been reading news reports from many countries regarding panic buying of essential daily requirements, fearing a shutdown. Nothing of that sort here.

The only time there is shutdown in India is when there is widespread violence, because of any social or economic unrest. That's when the government imposes curfew, and it's for at the most three or four days.

There are cases in India when people do indulge in panic buying. That's when there is an impending shortage of essential farm commodities, mainly vegetables or grains.

Here as of now, there is no panic, though everyone is taking precautionary steps. Schools have declared early summer vacation. Many public gatherings have been postponed or cancelled.

MISINFORMATION AND FALSEHOODS

Social media is flooded with information regarding medicines that can either protect people from the disease or cure them of it. I have been debunking these claims on some of my WhatsApp groups.

Such messages are dangerous because some people might actually think there are medicines that protect them, and won't take the required preventive steps, endangering their lives and that of others too. Such messages are best not passed around.

I have also been advising my friends and relatives not to believe anything unless it comes from a recognised medical authority or a government institution.

14 comments:

  1. Hari OM
    Wise advice... the media 'beat-up' has been sickening in it's own right. Yes, this thing is highly contagious, but only those who are susceptible (aged, infirm, very young) might succumb to its more serious effects, including death. The simple fact is that many hundreds more are dying each day from other viral infections, or bad effects of air pollution, or simply due to poor hygiene... the madness that is pervading everywhere over this is, as you say, largely due to the plethora of social media avenues and folk with no qualification whatsoever making ridiculous claims.

    I pray for balance to return... YAM xx

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    1. Hi Yamini - Yes, the social media adding to the information overload. It's tough finding the useful in the pile of messages.

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  2. Hi Pradeep - interesting you're in Bangalore as I know it - you in Bengaluru - the dreaded covid19 seems to have stretched is horrible tentacles far and wide ... we just need to be as sensible as we can be - definitely not believe everything that's out there. Thank goodness I don't do FB or TW ... just quietly blog.

    Take care - cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi Hilary - Glad to see you make the distinction between Bengaluru and Bangalore. Yes, we just need to cautious and not overreact in panic.

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  3. Thank you.Except for taking the basic precautions,there is nothing much we can do except praying for the virus to vanish from the world

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  4. Very informative blog post. The only panic buying in USA is that of hand sanitizers. They are out of stock everywhere. The stores that still have them sell at prohibitive price. A small $3 bottle sells for $39.

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    1. Hi Rajan - Here too sanitizers have run out, so too masks, though masks are needed only for those who are ill and those who are working among the infected.

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  5. The misinformation is so constant. I can't believe how insane people are being about hand sanitizers when it can't even do anything to the virus.

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    1. Hi Oneil - That's so true! People should be using soap, and use the sanitizers only when soap and water aren't available, like when one is travelling or so.

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  6. Last I heard there are 3 cases in my city. Although, the testing is sporadic, so there could be more. Locally people are panic buying toilet paper and bottled water. I can't wrap my head around that one. No one needs that much toilet paper at once, and the taps still work...

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    1. Hi Liz - I liked that point you made about taps still working (in the context of toilet paper). I think it's more of a mindset.

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  7. You are very wise. ~nods~ My husband gets nervous at the idea of me going to exercise at the YMCA and I'm torn. I like lifting weights, he doesn't want me unhappy, yet that goes both ways. Infection and poverty are just about the only two things he fears in this life, so I may drop the membership and save a few dollars along with his piece of mind. ~sigh~ Be well!

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    1. Hi Darla - Coming to think of it, it might be a good idea to be a bit extra careful and avoid crowded places.

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