Who could have possibly thought that staying healthy would become a greater priority than making money. Well, here comes the new normal. In times of Covid-19, though, the term we ought to use is physical distancing, not social. Socially we are trying to get closer than ever. We are on endless WhatsApp chats, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook connections. We have video conferences with family, friends, relatives, cousins and colleagues. Man is a social animal. We need human interaction to feel normal. We need to talk, reach out, and connect in some way or the other. Physical distancing is important; we do not have to shake hands or hug, but when our smiles are hidden behind the masks we wear, let us try to make eye contact, wave out to each other, wish each other good evening even from our balconies. Reach out to people around you to let them know you still want to remain connected. I find people have become afraid of each other. We are frightened that someone might be carrying the virus and infect us. Stigma is a simplified, standardised image of the disgrace of certain people who present a threat to effective group functioning. The accelerating spread ofCovid-19 has led people to fear, panic, concern, and anxiety. Thus the disease has come to acquire a stigma.
Among various significant factors, feelings of existential insecurity and aloofness, along with fear, are the prime reasons for the stigma attached to coronavirus patients. A social stigma in terms of discrimination, harassment, and hatred is rife in communities because it is hard to determine who is carrying the virus and who is not. Moreover, a disproportionate fear, arising from a lack of information, an abundance of misinformation, and an absence of trust in the health system, has added to the social stigma. We all need to remove the stigma of Covid-19. The only thing we need to feel is empathy. The fact is that herd immunity will develop when 70%-90% of us have been exposed to the infection. We are all going to get exposed; we will respond to it depending on the strength of our immune response. Many of us will remain asymptomatic; some may develop a mild infection, some with high viral load exposure or underlying disease will develop pneumonia and may need hospital admission. Some of us will need ventilator support. Please remember, if today someone else has become positive, tomorrow it might be you or someone in your family. What goes around, comes around. Treat anyone you know who is positive with love, empathy and compassion. Reach out with words of encouragement and prayers. Let them know you are their friend even in the worst of times. Let’s remember to remain physically distant but close to each other’s hearts. We might be next, make no mistake.