Ground Zero : Generation of fear psychosis can prove to be counter-productive in decisive fight against Coronavirus
The battle against the Coronavirus is likely to continue till the research succeeds in zeroing in on its anti-dote. Precautionary measures are being taken at the global level mainly by way of social distancing but what needs to be avoided is the generation of fear psychosis as it can hit the determination to fight. The will to fight back is a necessary condition in this crisis.
The assessment by Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on the basis of not so scientific model yesterday that 87 per cent of the population could be hit in the state amounted to creating fear psychosis. What added to it was the announcement after a few hours of continuation of curfew till May 1.
It is being clarified that the intention here is not to question the imposition of curfew as it has produced positive results in this border state till now and the impact of the pandemic is confined to only a few pockets so far.
According to the sources, the ‘study’ was assigned to a senior faculty member of the prestigious Post-graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research here by the state government officials. It was based upon a statistical model.
However, this projection of 87 per cent raises several questions. Was the efficiency or inefficiency quotient of the state government taken into account?
If the projection is despite all the steps taken so far, then to what purpose is the curfew for the imposition of which Punjab had taken the lead and the same was appreciated at the national level?
What is the assessment under the model after taking all the steps including imposition of the curfew? These points should have been qualified.
The PGI denied having officially conducted such study within hours of the figures having quoted by the Chief Minister.
The official spokespersons of the centre at the daily evening press conference today clarified that no study had been conducted by the ICMR but only referred to a preliminary statistical model and the assessment both after and without taking the precautionary measures.
There is one more dimension. Would the state government go in for placing orders for the purchase of medical equipment on the basis of this 87 per cent impacted population?
Capt Amarinder Singh today virtually questioned the study that he had quoted yesterday pointing out “there was huge uncertainty about the likely incidence of the disease and the nation was in for a long fight”. He was speaking at the conference of the chief ministers called Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
However, going by the perception, the announcement yesterday had already generated fear among the people in the state.
Was it a mess up at the official level committee?
Harvesting is on in Punjab and the operation in this state is entirely mechanised. However, machines are operated by men and hence there is going to be massive movement in the countryside.
Not only in the countryside. The procurement operation is part of a large network involving thousands of people both in rural and urban areas. Part of these operations are labour intensive. Relaxations have already been announced in curfew for these operations.
Significantly, hundreds of villages in the state have opted for self-imposed confinement by barring entry of outsiders. This type of lockdown is more productive, better than curfew.
Punjab is one state where the violations of social distancing norms have not been glaring as at many places in the country. There is no problem of feeding the hungry.
The authorities should take the precaution against generating the fear psychosis.
It has to be nation’s united and determined fight against Coronavirus.c