CoronaVirus: Social Distancing is Vital

By Rakesh Ahuja
Above is a photograph (from SMH) of crowd-filled Bondi beach in Sydney on 20 March 2020. It is clearly business a usual for people thronging to the beaches – and not only to Bondi. They are completely ignoring the Government and international advisories to keep social distance. They are, in fact, a menace to the population at large. And that too in a highly developed and educated country.
In India, the problem is magnified for two reasons. One, it is a ‘touchy-feely’ culture. Casual touching, hugging, holding hands is part and parcel of Indian social discourse. It is not going to be easy to teach people to maintain distance in social situations. The Indian middle class and above do not help with ostentatious behaviour (Weddings etc.). The celebs, including Bollywood and sporting stars, and hypocritical politicians, certainly do not set a model example for the populace at large. And who knows what message is being given to, or being absorbed by, the rural population, which comprises 69% of the total Indian population.
Two, the population density is almost overwhelming – 428 humans per Square Kilometer compared to 148 in China, 35 in the United States and 3 in Australia. Italy, which has unexpectedly become the epicentre of Covid-19 overtaking China, has 201 per Sq Km, a density which is contributing to the exponential growth of coronavirus.
So what awaits India?
An article from The Washington Post 14 March 2020 graphically presents the value of social distancing as one of the most effective measures against the spread of CoronaVirus. It concludes: “…moderate social distancing will usually outperform the attempted quarantine, and extensive social distancing usually works best of all”.
The article can be accessed at: https://wapo.st/corona-simulator?tid=ss_mail

 

 

#CoronaVirus, #health, #social distancing, #quarantine