We have undergone unprecedented mental stress and apprehension from the beginning of the pandemic onwards. But if we look back in the past months, a major reason for the difficulties we have encountered in controlling the Coronavirus pandemic is due to misinformation circulating on the disease as well as on the vaccines that have been developed to offer protection from the disease. Instead of letting the state administration focus directly and exclusively on the important task of robustly executing the vaccination programme, as is happening in other parts of the world with conscious and responsible citizens, due to the insensitive and destructive propaganda of gossip mongers who are spreading series of misinformation, much of the energy, time and other resources of the government had to be diverted on dispelling the fear of vulnerable part of the population who have a readiness to believe. A few days back, three youths, incorrigible pranksters or anti-social elements, in a very irresponsible manner uploaded misleading posts depicting exaggerated high positivity figures linked to a mass testing of Covid-19 in an Imphal West district locality. Those who came across the post, including many in the news gathering profession, waited hours going through another episode of anxiety for a confirmation until it was officially rejected by the administrationas a totally false report . The youths were booked under appropriate sections of the state disaster management act and rightly so. A harsh minimum sentence should in fact be enforced with an objective to teach an unforgettable lesson to anybody involved in creating such nuisances. As a committed member of the community extending support to the combined effort to curb the Covid-19 pandemic we should also be on an alert to check that none among our family members, friend circle, neighbours, and acquaintances are engaged in such kind of tomfoolery and disruptive activities and spreading panic.
In fact, let us remind ourselves that we have been invited again and again to take part in the implementation of the world’s largest vaccination drive by our elected leaders in the state and the Central administrations through the print and electronic media and even through the same platform or interaction. The most direct and easy way to show our sincerity to the faith placed in us by the administration in co-opting our participation in the vaccination exercise is to get ourselves inoculated and convince people around us to do the same. It is a very healthy sign that almost all local youth organisations across the state are actively participating in the vaccination process. Individuals who are fully aware about the efficacy and safeness of the vaccines should also engage themselves in the God designed role of motivating people around them who are still unable to break the fetter of vaccine hesitancy. Whenever this happens the vaccination drive will become a movement of the people and see the desired success.
The Covid-19 pandemic has on the other hand taught us a lesson on the need to contribute as a member of the society and spare our time from solitary and selfish pursuits alone. Now, we have in our midst a vivid illustration that we cannot be safe if people around us and our surroundings are not safe. It has also steered our focus on an active lifestyle. Whether we follow it or not to its full execution is another issue, the fact is during the past months we have made so many resolutions to include exercises as a part of our daily routine. Modern lifestyles promote sedentary behaviours and increase manifold a list of avoidable health conditions and diseases. If a mystic power had predicted the pandemic three-four years back, many people would have switched to a more active lifestyle and a larger part of the population would have been in better shape of health when the outbreak actually arrived. At least, we can make a safe prediction now that stress on maintenance of good health will be in fashion hereon. At the same time, the outbreak has taught us the importance of eating healthy food. Instead of following the best health advice of consuming a balanced diet, many among us, particularly the youths have fallen prey to fast foods that are laced with harmful cholesterol, fats and food additives. We have been provided a clear-cut judgment on how to eat our meals but the decision to follow the good way or the bad way still lies at the hands of the individual. It has also taught us to take care of our mental health, have good personal hygiene and adhere to basic sanitary habits to keep ourselves from the attack of disease spreading microorganisms. In a way, the Covid-19 pandemic is a rude awakening telling us to reform our ways of living, rearrange priorities and live-in harmony with our natural surroundings or face the possibility of extinction.