The long term implications of COVID: When it leaves, what remains?

Mafazah Sharafuddin
June 1, 2021

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The pandemic has swept the world in a panic. It has come with the pervading sense of fear and loss, and completely unexpectedly to the common man. Although environmentalists have been predicting a rise in pandemics as a consequence of the same things that caused climate change, to the layman, it arrived out of the blue. 

The pandemic has taken away several things that make us social beings. Physical touch, gatherings, dining together etc. have all gone from being something one does for fun to something that could be potentially fatal.

It does not come as a shock that people all of the globe are suffering during the pandemic. While they are unsure of how much longer this will go on, the spread of the vaccines make people hopeful that it will soon come to an end. 

When the pandemic ends, what will it leave behind?

The anxiety of being

With fatal illness and massive death-tolls, anxiety comes as an almost inevitable companion. The compulsive act of using hand sanitizer after touching anything in public is slowly becoming second nature. 

A US study comparing the number of adults experiencing symptoms of an anxiety or depressive disorder saw the number raise from 11% in January 2019 to 41.1% in January 2021. It also showed an increase in suicidal ideation and substance use. 

Another unfortunate consequence of the pandemic is a possible rise in agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is a specific anxiety disorder. It is defined by a fear of being in part of a public environment or activity from which leaving or escaping is perceived to be difficult. Due to the frequent and persistent lockdowns and the association of danger with being in public spaces, the slip towards agoraphobia is understandable. 

An integral part of the human experience is physical touch. While some may be isolating with family, there are many people all over the world who are living along in the middle of the pandemic. The pandemic may also lead to an increase in ‘touch-starvation’ as the stress relieving hormone, oxytocin, is released through touch.

The prevalence of mental illness after a calamity is not a new phenomenon. The aftermath of war and natural disasters have left people suffering in its wake. This is, however, a calamity of global magnitude. Like the survivors of war, those who come out of this pandemic alive are going to carry it with them for the rest of their lives.

A state of grief 

Aptly dubbed the ‘grief pandemic’ by sociologist Holly Prigerson, the Coronavirus pandemic has taken away many loved ones. Children are left orphaned and parents mourn their children. The elderly are kept under keen watch by their loved ones in fear that they, too, will be taken away. 

Grief and mourning have become an everyday thing since the pandemic showed its full strength. With entire families being wiped out, and crematoriums unable to process the bodies at the rate at which they arrive, we as a society are experiencing death in high definition. 

The processing of is complex. It is made more complex by the situation we are in. the constant anxiety and fear of safety are severely detrimental to the processing of grief. There is no room to process grief in a situation where death is continuous. As of now, we are in a persistent state of grief.

Money matters 

The economic implications of the pandemic have been spoken about often at a global scale. Small businesses have shut down. Daily wage laborers struggle to find jobs with the lockdowns in place. Several people who, before 2020, believed they were secure in their jobs, have been unexpectedly dismissed. 

Survival in the middle of a pandemic, even without getting infected, with no incoming money is precarious. People are dependent of the goodwill of social workers and people who give out food, donations, etc. People are being rendered homeless because they are unable to pay rent. The inability to properly socially distance or isolate, however, increases the risk of infection.

If survival for the poor without getting infected is precarious, surviving COVID is a miracle. They have to combat steep prices for treatment, trouble with transportation, being unable to afford medication and several other issues. 

Not only is getting infected and showing symptoms a death sentence for so many, it comes with the fear that it will bankrupt their family. 

The state the economy is in right now has no quick fixes. There are small scale industries that have suffered in a way they may not recover from. An alarming percentage of medium and small enterprises have faced permanent closure. The recovery of the economy is going to a long, arduous process. 

On a positive note

While the pandemic has been a cause of suffering for people everywhere, the long term social implications of it are not all bad. 

For environmentalists, the pandemic has been proof that there can be no real solution to climate change until bog corporations stop contributing to it. With the common people staying at home most of the time, hugely reducing the amount of fuel used by the public, there has been no huge change in the state of the world. 

While it may always be the socially responsible option to continue to use environmentally friendly options, the onus truly does fall on large corporations to limit their damage before it is unsalvageable. 

It addition to this, curb-side pickups, online learning, work from home etc. have shown that it is possible to do these actions remotely. This opens up a whole realm of possibilities for people with disabilities not only in employment and education, but day to day activities.

When accessibility has been made possible because there is no other way, employers and management of educational institutes can no longer give excuses for their lack of accessibility for disabled employees or students. 

The pandemic may leave behind a more accessible world. 

Comments

Ramesh Mishra
 - 
Wednesday, 2 Jun 2021

COVID-19, PANDEMIC
Has put the world behind at least 25 years but India, Pakistan, Bangla Desh, and Nepal 50 years. During the coming 50 years, India would face massive internal conflicts dividing the Provinces. India lacks skilled leaders.

Ramesh Mishra
Victoria BC CANADA

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News Network
January 21,2023

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Mysuru, Jan 21: A woman was killed in a leopard attack at Kannayakanahalli, T Narsipur taluk, Mysuru district last evening. This is the third incident of death due to a leopard attack in the district in the last three months.

The deceased has been identified as Siddamma, 60. She was out to fetch firewood when the leopard pounced on her.

Initial reports said that the leopard tried to drag the woman into the bushes, before letting her go due to the commotion caused by the villagers. The woman was already dead by the time the locals could reach her.

A statement from the state forest department is awaited.

On December 1, 2022, Meghana, 21, was attacked by a leopard in the backyard of her house in T Narasipura taluk’s S Kebbehundi village. She succumbed later at the hospital.

Manjunatha, 21, was mauled to death on October 31 by a leopard on the premises of Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy temple hills (Ukkalagere Betta) in T Narasipura taluk.

After an intense search and combing operation for over a month, forest officials captured and relocated a leopard on December 23, 2022, which was suspected to have attacked and killed the two youths.

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News Network
January 17,2023

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New York, Jan 17: The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Monday listed Pakistan-based terrorist Abdul Rehman Makki as a global terrorist under its ISIL (Da'esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee.

This listing comes after China last year put on India's bid to name the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader a global terrorist. In June 2022, India slammed China after it blocked the proposal to list terrorist Abdul Rehman Makki under the Sanctions Committee, also known as the UNSC 1267 Committee.

"On 16 January 2023, the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999), 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015) concerning ISIL (Da'esh), Al-Qaida, and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities approved the addition of the entry specified below to its ISIL (Da'esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions List of individuals and entities subject to the assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo set out in paragraph 1 of Security Council resolution 2610 (2021) and adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations," the UN said in a statement.

India and the US have already listed Makki as a terrorist under their domestic laws. He has been involved in raising funds, recruiting and radicalizing youth to violence and planning attacks in India, especially in Jammu and Kashmir.

Makki is the brother-in-law of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief and 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed. He has occupied various leadership roles within LeT, a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). He has also played a role in raising funds for LeT operations.

In 2020, a Pakistani anti-terrorism court convicted Makki on one count of terrorism financing and sentenced him to prison, acccording to the US State Department.

In the past, China has placed hurdles for the listing of known terrorists, particularly from Pakistan. It had repeatedly blocked proposals to designate Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of the Pakistan-based and UN-proscribed terrorist entity, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

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News Network
January 19,2023

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New Delhi, Jan 19: The country's top wrestlers on Thursday vowed to intensify their protest, saying the government has given them an assurance but no "satisfactory response" and they will lodge multiple FIRs against WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh if the Wrestling Federation of India is not disbanded immediately.

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh is a prominent leader of BJP and Member of the Parliament from Kaiserganj constituency.  

The wrestlers, who have accused the WFI President of sexual exploitation and intimidation, continued their dharna for the second day as more grapplers joined them in what they called was a fight to give "a new life to Indian wrestling."

Three-time CWG medallist and BJP leader Babita Phogat came to the protest site with a "message" from the government and assured the grapplers that their demands will be met as the athletes took turn to share their bad experiences.

Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Ravi Dahiya pleaded for more support while young Anshu Malik narrated how WFI President's presence in the players' hotel in Bulgaria during the world junior championship last year made the women wrestlers uncomfortable.

It may be noted that 21-year-old Anshu had not competed in that championship as she was injured.

A team of wrestlers, including Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Anshu, Sakshi Malik, and her husband Satyawrat Kadiyan, was then called for a meeting with the government as they discussed their issues with Sports Secretary Sujata Chaturvedi, Director General SAI Sandip Pradhan and Joint Secretary (Sports) Kunal.

During the one-hour meeting, the wrestlers were asked to end their protest and assured that their grievances will be addressed.

However, the wresters wanted a concrete and immediate action and decided to continue their protest unless WFI President is removed and the national federation is disbanded along with all the state wrestling associations in the country.

Later addressing the media, Vinesh did not disclose what transpired at the meeting but said, "Unfortunately we did not get a satisfactory response."

"Yesterday, we had 1-2 victims amongst us but now we have 5-6 wrestlers, who were harassed (sexually). We can't name them now, after all they are daughters and sisters of somebody. But if we are forced to disclose their identity, it will be a black day," said Vinesh, the two-time World Championship medallist.

"It's not just about his (Brij Bhushan) resignation. We will send him to jail. We did not want to take the legal route, because we had hoped for resolution but if a proper solution is not provided, we will lodge FIRs against the President.

"We are World Championship and Olympic medallists, don't suspect us, we are telling the truth, believe us."

WFI Emergency General Council in Ayodhya

It has been learnt that the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has called for an Emergency General Council in Ayodhya on Sunday to discuss the issue.

"Yes, a meeting has been called and future course of action will be discussed. I can't say if WFI President will resign or not. It needs to be discussed," said a WFI official.

It may be noted that Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh's third term as WFI President is ending soon and he is ineligible to contest again. He was elected WFI President for the third time in February 2019.

According to the National Sports Code, a person may serve as President, and thereby on the Board, of the NOC/NSF for up to three terms or 12 years with or without break, after the completion of which tenure as President, the person shall not be entitled to return as an office bearer or Board member of the NSF.

Trust us, we are not lying

Bajrang said,"The entire wrestling hub (fraternity) is here. We have proofs, we are not lying. We want wrestling to live, start a new life."

The 28-year-old Vinesh claimed that she has got calls of appreciation from Kerala and Maharashtra woman wrestlers for taking up the cause.

"At least 5-6 girls will lodge FIRs tomorrow and it will be a black day if it happens in a country like India where 'Durga' and 'Lakshmi' are worshipped. Then I would say that no woman is safe in this country and no daughter should be born to anyone."

Asked to give details of the meeting they had with the government representative, Vinesh said,"They did not give any time-frame, just gave assurances."

"Everything is at stake now. We have not even taken police protection and (are) sitting here. But where is the WFI President; his office (is) locked. Where are those eyes that used to scare us."

When reminded that London Olympics medallist Yogeshwar Dutt has backed WFI President along with Asian Championship medallist Divya Karan, Vinesh said, Yogeshwar is definitely sitting in the lap of the WFI and that Kakran herself spoke against the President in the past. We have proofs."

"All the videos (in support of WFI President) are being made where he has that "aatank ka adda' (hub of terror), people should come and make videos here at Jantar Mantar while sitting in front of the public.

"We want the government to take control of WFI and we will not compete in any competition under the current President."

Sakshi Malik said all state wrestling associations should be disbanded in the country because the WFI President has all his men in these sports bodies.

Brinda Karat asked to leave protest

Earlier in the day, CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat, who arrived at the protest site in support of the wrestlers and wanted to speak, was asked to leave by the grapplers, saying they don't want anyone to give their campaign a political colour.

"We request you, madam, please don't make this political," Bajrang said.

Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women (NCW) said that the wrestlers can approach it with their complaints.

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