It is time to panic

12 Mar 2020

It is time to panic

I sit here breathing.
There’s a gentle breeze blowing in and I am grateful for that.
I can see the evening sky in the distance and the clouds lit up by the last weak rays of the setting sun.

All looks good.
All. Except the threat of the #coronavirus.
It is time to panic.

Yes. Hashtag. Corona. Virus. #COVID-19. #N-COVID-19
(Hashtagged or not, this is going viral).

It is time to panic

Yes, the world is worried. And rightly so. But also, wrongly. Some smart people are saying “Don’t panic”. I am saying, “Panic. Panic. Make others panic. Stay panic-ked till this blows over”. We all know it’s not going to ‘blow over’! The entire world, in fact. But let’s look at this with a clear objective view.

COVID-19 at the airport

Some of it is hype. But some things say it is time to panic

So here’s my take on a constantly changing scenario on this little round fellow from #Wuhan who has suddenly become a globe-trotter.
For starters, we always knew the Chinese liked to travel. We had Fa-Hien and Hiuen Tsang (spellings suspect!) in India when there were no flights from China. Not only did they travel, they, in essence, blogged (maybe even vlogged) about their travel. Coming from that DNA, “Am Chinese, will travel” is obviously little Covid’s idea.

Is it time to panic?

So, let’s start getting to know COVID-19.The name gives him away. I am presuming it’s him largely because his ability to dominate the news right now, is very much like two or three other males in some countries we know (and one that we live in). Then there’s 19 in his name. OMG! A teenager. And you expect him to listen, to stay put, to hunker down and not travel! You will argue, it could also be 19 as in born 2019 which is so silly! It’s like the boomers putting their birth year in their screen names, Martha_1959 or Jason_1963! I’m taking COVID-19 to the teenage section immediately! Teenager he is! Confirmed.

Now, jokes apart, I’d like to look at some of the myths surrounding this fella.

In a recent event I attended, we had a cancellation from someone who said they did not want to be there as the doctor said it was too close to the airport. Well I do understand that the airport is unleashing the COVID-19-affected by the plane-loads but seriously? This place is near the airport and Dude COVID-19 is likely to come to this venue as his first port-of-call? I can imagine this guy landing up with his bag and getting the first disinfected Uber straight into the hotel to cough and spit up on the unsuspecting attendees. In all  honesty, it’s a good thing. Because the person was in a state of panic! Yes, panic is good. Stay that way.

The white thingie like the black thingie

I did not panic

I went for the event. At the entrance, I got a funny white thing stuck into my ajna chakra by supposedly a well-meaning (and rather large) security guard. I’d have protested. But I thought better. Maybe all the security guard wanted to know was how evolved I was, thrusting the white thingie (similar to the black thingie used by Men in Black) pointing to my third eye. I did politely ask him what he was doing when my Ajna Chakra stopped revolving in fear (panic, maybe). He said he was checking my temperature. That really riled me, made my blood boil (and raised my temperature) but fortunately he was done taking my temperature). I thought, Would I have dressed up in a saree, and taken the effort to come to a hotel (NEAR the airport, mind you) if I had fever?!  But I did not protest and, sufficiently en-lightened and goggle-eyed, I made my way into the hallowed corridors of what seemed now a safe place since all had been zapped by the white thingie. (For those who wish to know, in terms of COVID-19 the event was un-event-ful. Otherwise it was great.)

But COVID-19 should not be taken lightly

Now, I am not a doctor. Nor do I profess to be. I am closer to being a self-proclaimed (and much-acclaimed) quack. So, in that capacity, I’d like to bust some myths surrounding this fellow and what we really should be worried about. Oh, oh I forget: at the end of this piece, I will even give you foolproof advice on battling this dreaded teenager.

It is time to panic. Get your verbiage right first!

So, let’s start with some words, some terms that are being thrown around and are spreading faster than the said virus. And before you start, do wash your hands. Here’s a nice vid you can watch so you don’t feel lonely during the 25 seconds you need to wash your hands.
Infection. Contagion. Is it infectious? Or contagious?

Here are two words bandied around and their exact meanings from

C for Covid and Contagious

(of a disease) spread from one person or organism to another, typically by direct contact.
“a contagious disease”

(of a disease or disease-causing organism) liable to be transmitted to people, organisms, etc. through the environment.
“outbreaks of infectious diseases”

So is COVID-19 infectious or contagious?

It’s contagious – because you need to come into contact with the virus-carrying mechanism – largely the droplets of an infected sneeze or some such. So that’s the snotty part out of the way. The trouble is, is it out of the way? The ‘contagion’ is very easily spread. Imagine our hygiene habits. Sneezing. Coughing. Spitting. Yes. That too. Limiting contagion is the only way this teen spirit can be halted in his world tour.
Unlikely to happen.
Not in our country.
Not with our hygiene habits. Or lack thereof.
So… panic!
Because the latest reports from scientists in New York now say that the virus is able to stay alive for 3 days, yes 3 full days on any surface! Wow! That’s one strong and sturdy fellow.
Panic? Yes. Now.

Stock up on sanitizers. But wash your hands with soap

Have you had a chance to see the video doing the rounds of how to wash hands accompanied by some classical music? No? Here it is.
But wait?
Do you have hand sanitizers? No? Oh well, the WHO says soap and water is good enough. There’s a requirement though. Even with soap and water you’ll HAVE to wash your hands. Frequently. Very very often.
Sanitisers are cool. But soaps are good enough. And yes, soaps and sanitisers are useless if you don’t wash your hands often enough. I’d suggest you have a hand-washing fest out of sheer panic and spread it around.
Here’s a serious no-nonsense vid on Covid19. Follow it to the T. It tells you to… yes… wash your hands!

Do you need to wear a mask?

When to wear a mask

I’d start by asking, “Are you planning to rob a bank?”
Then you probably, and I am saying probably, don’t need a mask.
So why are people wearing a mask, or lining up for masks or fighting for masks (and toilet paper but that’s another Covid-19 trail)?
Firstly, you need to wear a mask if you HAVE contracted the coronavirus!
You say you don’t have coronavirus?
No? Sure?
Then don’t wear a mask.
Secondly, you need to wear a mask if you are looking after someone who is infected with the virus.
You are? No?
Then don’t wear a mask.
Are you likely to go to places where there are likely to be carriers of Covid-19. Are you a paramedic? A medic? A nurse? A healthcare volunteer? A caregiver?
Final analysis: Carrier? Or Caregiver?
Panic again and wear a mask.

Which mask? Well the phantom one won’t work. Neither will be the one used in V-for-Vendetta. The N-95 or some such number(sounds like a National Highway to me) is the one. And yes, the trick in wearing a mask is also wearing it correctly. Covering your mouth and nose rather tightly, not loosely hanging around like a scarf. This is where panic will help big time.

It is time to panic

Are you going to run out of toilet paper? How about you focus on whether you’ll be able to run out or not? And when you run out where will you run? To the hospitals? They are not equipped to handle you.
Don’t panic for non-issues. This time we really need to get panic viral! Are you ready for it? It is serious. And if you don’t agree, comment below.

The final bit of advice

It is time to panic. This is indeed inside stuff. From my limited medical knowledge, the difference between infection and contagion, the understanding of COVID-19 and his wanderlust, there is a foolproof way of dealing with this pandemic.
A three-step process.
1. Panic.
2. Isolate yourself and

Agree? Or disagree? Comment below to tell me! Or share the post so others can.

4 thoughts on “It is time to panic”

  1. Hey Vaishakhi,
    I’m just getting to read what you wrote about COVID-19.
    I’m aware of so much craziness going on with all this involves and yes the panic.
    Since I live in preparedness and teach emergency/disaster preparedness through my e-books I’m as prepared as I can be so don’t have to look at empty toilet paper and hand sanitizer isles in shopping areas in my vicinity but I still see enough of it online. Funny there are still times I have little thoughts that creep in, “Am I really ready for this”? Prepared as I think I am for anything doesn’t mean I don’t fear and become unsettled by the unknown.
    I don’t what else to say other than I appreciate you addressing COVID-19. I am getting notices in my groups on social media to share more with my people and I have began to do so. I encourage people to prepare and not live in fear. Interestingly no one is responding one way or another just yet. Maybe their out looking for toilet paper or hand sanitizer.

    1. Hi Cindy!
      I don’t think any one of us is ready for this unprecedented challenge. But if you are a health worker I would urge you to write about it. I worked in the healthcare advertising space for over a decade and one thing I have realised is that information is king. People need to know fact especially from people who DO know the facts. It would help to talk about it – even though you and I feel no one is listening. (Believe me, even I think they are looking for toilet paper!) Thanks so much for engaging in this conversation. It has to get bigger and wider and you must add to it.

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