COVID-19: Fear Versus Self Reliance

Posted by ABHISHTITA ALURU on Sun, Jun 28, 2020  
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What has SARS-COV2 taught us? Has it taught us to live in fear or has it taught us to be more self reliant, compassionate and caring towards nature. While there is no real straight answer to this question, it’s certainly worth pondering on what have we learning from it, if anything at all!


Well, to start with, it is my pleasure to introduce myself to you. I’m Dr. Abhishtita Aluru, a post-graduate General Physician with over 10 years of clinical experience in the field of medicine. Now does my experience really qualify me to talk about this Virus, which has hit us out of the unknown? To be honest, I’ve experienced the same fear and uncertainty that everyone went through when this virus first hit us, especially as a mother of a one year old.  But over time, I’ve come to terms with seeing the half glass full.


And recently I’ve found myself asking the question - what have we learned so far about SARS-CoV2? Let’s start with the medical facts and what we already know or don’t know – so far scientists have not yet fully discovered the genetic profile of SARS-Cov2, and clinicians are just beginning to understand how SARS-CoV2 can infect the human body and spread so rapidly leading to community transmission across the globe. Clinicians have also worked tirelessly round the clock, to understand which drugs can possibly help the critically ill ventilated patients, and researchers are investing similar tireless passion to try and discover a viable vaccine against this unforgiving virus.


At a more philosophical level, however, I personally see a lot of growth opportunities for all us – first to seek happiness intrinsically rather than the extrinsic pleasures we’ve all been chasing, and second is to the self-reliance one needs to develop to be POSITIVE in such adversity. Metamorphosis requires effort & time, but it also offers the power to transform coal into a diamond at the end.


Most governments around the world have resorted to complete or restrictive lockdowns, in order to prevent rapid community transmission & flatten the curve of the virus spread. SARS-COV2 currently has a R0 of 2-2.7, mortality of 2-6% , and there is still no scientific clarity on the long standing morbidity.


For a race that is conditioned over generations to having the freedom to travel – be it work, visiting restaurants, malls & movie theatres etc for leisure. It isn’t easy to overnight get accustomed to suddenly being advised to stay at home & avoid the risk of contracting a deadly disease even by simply stepping out for a walk. It’s a 180 degree reversal from the life we were all used to living - I’m positive everyone (similar to me) took time to get used to this course correction and settle into the new normal.


But with time I’ve started witnessing a slowly but surely positive change, people have started to take basic hygiene principles seriously like our ancestors did, they are learning to prioritize travelling to essential needs only, they are increasingly relying more on themselves, their family, and their friends remotely for happiness, rather than seek external stimuli for gratification. People seemed to have realized to be self reliant not only for their basic needs but more importantly for their happiness; now that’s no less than a metamorphosis at a massive scale for our race.


In the process, we as a collective have significantly reduced our materialistic exploitation of the nature we belong to and live in – pollution has reduced and planet earth has shown signs of recovery from decades of fast-paced impact we’ve ignorantly caused. What climate change warnings couldn’t do for years, the virus seem to have enforced.


The duration of this tunnel of SARS-CoV2 we are in is uncertain - we may develop herd immunity over time but there’s no clear answer yet, or a vaccine maybe developed to help prevent this disease, or atleast a medicine may come into play soon to help the critically ill and significantly curb the mortality rates. While the future is uncertain, what’s certain is that infections can be prevented.


Following basic hygiene practices like regular hand washing, physical distancing, wearing a mask etc can help us prevent the rapid pace of community transmission of this disease. The challenge is no external force or authority can do this for you - it’s an intrinsic shift in each of our behavior that will reap these benefits for us as a collective.


Does this mean we can never truly enjoy the company of our family or friends: No; it just means that these behavioral changes can help keep our family and friends safe. This is especially important to protect our elderly and our children who are more vulnerable to this infection. It’s self-regulation to follow these rules in society that will yield the results, and not our pre-covid reliance on medicines, doctors, nurses & governments. It is we as a community that can combat the SARS-Cov2 virus, which is better known as COVID-19 infection from spreading. The power and authority is now distributed to all of us, and it requires each one of us to act responsibly to help curb the downsides.


Fear only worsens the situation, fear in infected individuals can cause panic which can worsen their vital parameters like their heart rate, rate of breathing, blood pressure rendering them further vulnerable to their clinical condition and make it that much more difficult to treat and recuperate them. It’s well known, that panic never helps us.


Staying calm and composed has always been the answer, staying positive is the right mindset shift, and taking care of self and family is the responsible thing to do.


Be self-reliant, be calm & act responsible: “together, we can win” and “this too shall pass”!!


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