The outbreak of Covid 19 has taught us a very big lesson. It has proven that our medical science hasn’t developed fully to our expectations. We aren’t able to prevent the outbreak of such a dangerous virus. We still lack in the development of medical science.
By Leitanthem Seityajit
Covid-19 stands for Coronavirus disease of 2019. The first case of Covid-19 was reported at Wuhan city in China on December 31, 2019. On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared it a pandemic. India’s first Covid case was reported on January 27, 2020, in Kerala. In Manipur, the first Covid case was reported on March 27, 2020, at JNIMS, Porompat, Imphal.
What is Covid-19 Pandemic and how does it spread in Manipur?
Covid 19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. It can spread quickly from an infected person through the mouth, nose, eyes, and even from the contact of hand. The common symptoms are cold fever, losing of smells and taste, difficulties in breathing, etc. This virus is deadliest to patients suffering from kidney problems, heart disease, and other health problems. In Manipur, the first Covid case was found on March 27, 2020, and the second case after a week. After the cases were recovered, our state was Covid free for a couple of weeks. But after that, the number of cases increased day by day. By the beginning of May 2020, employers and students working and studying in other states started arriving in Manipur. They were quarantined. The spread of Covid19 began from quarantine centres. The main transmission of the virus in our state is from contact with the infected persons in the quarantine centres. This is the outcome of things we have done irresponsibly. For instance, many are afraid to test for Covid even after they had noticed symptoms. Such irresponsibility has led to the fast transmission of infection among the people in localities and communities.
How does it affect the people?
Covid 19 has affected day-to-day life, and it is slowing down the world economy. This pandemic has affected thousands of people. Many are either sick or killed due to the spread of this disease. It has affected many regardless of who is poor or who is rich. It hurts all of us equally. But it has particularly badly affected daily wage workers who have been compelled to fight the pandemic as well as hunger. Whereas they are not allowed to work outside due to lockdown, feeding their families became a huge burden. Many of them had to remain starving for days. Even though the government distributed foods from time to time, it was not enough to feed their family all the time. Even when we have money we can’t buy food because the market and all the shops were closed due to lockdown. If a person is infected with Covid, then he/ she had to be in a Covid care centre. Thus, many infected persons were kept separated from their families and loving ones. Many peoples lost their beloved father, mother, husband, wife, son, and daughter due to this terrible pandemic. When this virus infects a person, then our society shows hatred towards him and his family as if he has committed a crime. This made the person demotivated. How can we tolerate such unpleasant behaviour in society? We must change it. A pandemic is when everyone should stand together regardless of religion, caste, and any difference. There should be unity among people while fighting this pandemic.
How are the responses by the government and others to the pandemic?
On March 24, 2020, the Government of India announced 21 days lockdown in the country to help prevent the spread of this pandemic. The government also announced SOP from time to time and appealed to the citizens to obey it. Understanding the situation of this pandemic, the government also distributed foods to the people from time to time. Social workers, clubs, and other organizations also helped the government to do its duties very effectively. The radio broadcast, print media, and TV channels appealed the people to wear a mask, maintain social distance, wash hand frequently, use hand sanitiser, etc. to prevent the spread of this pandemic. The government opened many quarantine centres for the people who came from other states to remain there for 14 days and leave when tested negative in the Covid test. Those who are tested positive were shifted to Covid care centres. For this, the government opened Covid care centres to take care of Covid patients. The government took care of the expenses of the maintenance for quarantine and Covid care centres. The government also provided necessary needs for the patients, i.e., foods, medicine, treatment, etc. Clubs and other organizations carried out awareness publicity about this pandemic among people. Sometimes, they also distributed foods, sanitisers, masks, etc., as people are not allowed to go out. They took it as their responsibility to serve people during these tough times. Many organizations and people also donated money to the government’s relief fund to help the government fight the pandemic. The government invested a lot in the trial of vaccines initially in June 2020.
Trials underwent until the 3rd phase. India began administration of Covid vaccination with an indigenous vaccine Covaxin and Covishield on January 16, 2021. The government started vaccination of frontline workers as a part of the vaccination campaign. One week later, it began vaccinating people above 45 years of age. The government approved to vaccinate people above 18 years of age from May 1, 2021. The honourable Prime Minister and President of India took to vaccination to build trust among people that the vaccine is effective. The good thing about vaccination is that vaccinated people have developed strong immunity compared to those who are not vaccinated. As a result, the rate of vaccination has been increasing on a daily basis. Vaccination shows the least side effects. The number of deaths due to the vaccine is almost 0% compared to the number of deaths that have not been vaccinated. People have to vaccinate till the 2nd dose. Until now, more than 20 crores of people got vaccinated for the 1st dose. Those who are above 18 years of age should vaccinate. In short, the government and organizations are working with the best efforts to fight the pandemic during this critical time.
How does it affect the students in Manipur?
Students are the future pillars of our nation. It is a period when one is full of energy and strength. It is a period in one’s lifetime when looking forward to mobilizing abilities in a good way. It is a crucial formative period when a man is making a career, whether good or not. But the outbreak of the pandemic has put an enormous burden on the heads of students. Students constitute a bulk of the section badly affected by Covid 19. Since the 1st week of March 2020, the government has ordered the shutting down of all schools and colleges as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the pandemic. To compensate for the loss, many schools and colleges started imparting courses through online classes. But online class has many drawbacks. It could not be effective for all students. There are many students who could not afford to possess smartphones due to the financial problems in the family. They could not attend an online class. There are also other problems related to the online class. It has come to my notice that many students faced problems due to bad internet connectivity or poor browsing speed. In such a situation, the quality of video and audio is very bad at the receiving end. Many of us could not correctly see video classes or listen to an audio lecture from our teacher. It is a big pity for us. On the other hand, it is not good to let immature students enjoy mobile phones freely without any check and regulation by parents and seniors. Instead of focusing on their study, many of them are distracting their minds and wasting valuable time playing virtual games and using social media. On the other hand, learning from the classroom and online classes are qualitatively different. Online classes are a big blow in the students’ academic career as it is not as effective as regular classroom learning during the normal days. The postponement of the exam, especially of classes 10 and 12, would delay the academic carrier. This delay affected many innocent students aspiring to become doctors, engineers, scientists, and many more in the future. All these are causing a great loss for our state and country.
What needs to be done by and for the students?
Students must obey the sop announced by the government as responsible citizens. We should take care of our education as well as our health. If one of our friends is infected by the virus, we should communicate with him/ her virtually to encourage and motivate him/ her to remove negative thoughts. This type of positive stuff will help him to defeat the virus. We should take very seriously online classes conducted by our school. We must attend it regularly. We must manage our time very wisely; we must not waste our valuable time on inappropriate things. While interacting with our teachers in the online class, we should cooperate with them. We must ask questions to clear our doubts. We should do all assignments given by our teachers and school. We need to give our best to ensure learning. We can learn a lot and improve by doing our duties honestly and with strong determination.
Government should address the needs of the students for attending online classes. Parents and guardians should ensure that their children understand the Covid pandemic situation and obey guidelines. School management should ensure that regular and proper online classes are reached to each and every student easily. School management must monitor attendance and performances. They should supply proper class notes to the students. They also should conduct online exams for the students. They should penalize those students who do not attend class regularly. While conducting classes, teachers must advise the students to avoid bad habits and to obey the sop announced by the government. The school management must organize a periodical meeting with parents/guardians of students to evaluate and discuss the students’ performances. All these efforts will help build a competitive environment among students as if it were during normal days.
The outbreak of Covid 19 has taught us a very big lesson. It has proven that our medical science hasn’t developed fully to our expectations. We aren’t able to prevent the outbreak of such a dangerous virus. We still lack in the development of medical science. The pandemic has taught us a good lesson and reminder about remembering to maintain personal hygiene and health as the priority strictly. The pandemic has reiterated to us to believe that “health is wealth.” It has also taught us a valuable lesson to fight for a common cause against anything that affected human beings. To fight the pandemic, we must obey all the guidelines and sop announced by the government from time to time. People above 18 years of age should vaccinate if vaccines are available. Researches have proven that vaccinated people have stronger immunity against Covid 19 than those who haven’t vaccinated. We must fight courageously and win so that we arrive at a day when people across the world would live happily without any fear of Covid-19. My utmost respect for and salute to the doctors, health care workers, and other frontline workers for working tirelessly to save mankind.
(Seityajit Singh is son of Leitanthem Surchandra Singh and Leitanthem (o) Sorojini Devi, of Thoubal Wangmataba, is a student of Class XII, New Era Higher Secondary. This essay was an entry in the competition organised by the Campaign for Peace & Democracy (Manipur) with the support of KanglaOnline, Yaol Publishing (London), journal Beyond the Horizon, and Gateway Trading Academy Imphal.)