COVID MUSINGS : Lifestyle Changes
Musings on COVID By Veteran Vikram Karve
COVID has exposed the indifference of politicians — the incompetence of bureaucrats — and — the ineptitude of the so-called “experts”.
One example of the cluelessness of the so-called “experts” is their fickleness about the gap between the first dose and second dose of COVID Vaccine. First — they prescribed a gap of 4 to 6 weeks — then — they said 6 to 8 weeks — now they are advising a gap of 12 to 16 weeks. This vacillation not only indicates their lack of expertise but also creates confusion and anxiety in the minds of citizens. Due to their contrarian opinions and fickle views expressed from time to time on the media — these “experts” have lost credibility in the eyes of the citizens. It may not be true but some people have a perception that these inept “experts” tweak their opinions to suit “political correctness”.
Except for a few politicians who were actively helping citizens in their constituencies — most politicians were conspicuous by their absence during the COVID Pandemic. The indifference demonstrated by most politicians to the sufferings of common citizens makes one wonder if we require so many elected representatives have so much power and privileges but seem to have no accountability towards the citizens who elected them.
If bureaucrats had acted proactively and competently — right from the beginning — the severity of the COVID Pandemic could have been mitigated to a certain extent. In early 2020 — there was no Corona Virus in India — and it was known that Corona Virus is carried by persons travelling and spread all over the world. Many persons advised immediate stoppage of international flights into India. However — the bureaucracy kept delaying the decision to stop international travel — and by the time international travel was banned — it was too late — and Corona Virus had already been imported into India by travellers from foreign countries — and COVID cases started rising in India. Inefficient implementation of quarantine resulted in further proliferation of COVID-19 throughout the country. Hasty imposition and ineffective implementation of lockdown are further examples of the ineptitude of the bureaucracy. Though other nations started vaccinating their citizens — slow decision-making by the bureaucracy delayed the start of the vaccination drive — despite India being the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer. Initially — the vaccination drive was going on the smoothly — for “COVID Warriors” and 60+ Senior Citizens — and — to an extent — even for 45+ citizens. Then — there was a sudden announcement of extending the vaccination eligibility of all 18+ citizens (without assessing the availability of vaccines) — which resulted in the collapse of the vaccination system. Also — after the first wave of COVID started subsiding — there was a sense of complacency as bureaucrats probably felt the COVID had been “conquered” — and — suddenly the second wave of COVID engulfed us — further exposing the the ineptitude of the bureaucracy in the collapse of the healthcare system, lack of hospital beds, shortages of oxygen etc — that indicated a lack of preparation for these contingencies.
Now — when it is too late — bureaucrats have suddenly woken up — and have started setting up oxygen manufacturing facilities and importing vaccines — a perfect example of the idiom — “close the stable door after the horse has bolted”.
One may tend to blame politicians for everything — but — it is the bureaucrats who advise politicians and have a major role in decision-making and implementation of decisions.
In contrast to the indifference of politicians, incompetence of bureaucrats and ineptitude of the so-called “experts” — many dedicated citizens have performed admirably and demonstrated Yeoman’s Service during the entire COVID Pandemic are the “COVID Warriors” — Doctors, Nurses, HealthCare Staff, persons working on ground like policemen, municipal staff, railwaymen, transporters and all those providing essential services especially during Lockdowns — and many others like Vaccinators and those setting up and running COVID Hospitals and providing COVID Quarantine Facilities. Many “COVID Warriors” were infected with COVID and some have sadly succumbed and sacrificed their lives for the nation. The entire nation is grateful to all “COVID Warriors” who have performed their duties in very difficult and dangerous circumstances.
COVID has affected each one of us — some have been infected by COVID — some have been affected economically — but all have been affected psychologically.
The psychological ramifications of COVID are discussed in Parts 2 and 3 below…
PART 2 AND PART 3
PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF COVID
We have been enduring the effects of Corona Virus (COVID-19 aka COVID) for over one year since February 2020.
Just when we thought that things were getting better — the Second Wave of COVID has engulfed us — and Pune is already under a partial lockdown from 6 PM to 6 AM — with scary prospects of a total lockdown looming ahead if the COVID situation worsens.
The situation is extremely grim, gloomy and distressing.
COVID has had a tremendous psychological impact on everyone — the young and the old — professionals and retired senior citizens — students and teachers — businessmen and wage earners — every citizen has been affected by COVID in some way of the other.
All this reminds me of two blog posts I had written during the first wave of COVID last year.
Dear Reader — Here are the stories — in Part 2 and Part 3 of this Blog Post…
PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF COVID
CORONA PHOBIA — aka — COVID PHOBIA and “HIKIKOMORI”
Musings of a Veteran By Vikram Karve
PART 2 — CORONA PHOBIA — aka — COVID PHOBIA
Corona Virus has changed my life forever.
(Corona Virus is also known as COVID19 — aka — COVID — I will use the terms interchangeably)
The aim of the tremendous hype by government and media (since February 2020) on “Corona Virus” (COVID) may have been intended to create awareness — but — it also had the unintended effect of creating an acute fear of getting infected by the contagious virus and contracting the terrible disease for which there is no cure — a terrible fear of Corona Virus (COVID) — that I call “Corona Phobia” — aka — “COVID Phobia”.
This scary media hype highlighting how the dreadful Corona Virus was spreading all over the country — and — the frequent showing of “scoreboards” of COVID cases and deaths — all this sensational hype by media worsened the fear — the “Corona Phobia”.
Then they announced “Lockdown” and locked us inside our houses — while continuing to bombard us with news of the dreaded disease.
As if this was not enough — the way various media portrayed news of COVID victims — and an impression was created — that if you were unlucky to catch the dreaded Corona Virus — you would be treated like a “criminal” and locked up in desolate Quarantine Centres — or confined in isolation in miserable COVID wards/hospitals.
From time to time — there were news items of COVID “Patients” escaping from COVID Wards or fleeing from Quarantine — which exacerbated your fears of COVID and worsened the “Corona Phobia”.
Of course — the continuous bombardment of information of how you could catch Corona Virus and Precautions to be taken — all this made you fearful of even stepping out of your house — or even touching anything.
Even going down to get milk, vegetables or essential items became an agonizing experience — lest there were people who were infected with Corona Virus — and — of course — there were many careless people who did not take precautions like maintaining social distance or wearing masks — who heightened the “COVID Phobia” in you.
Soon — you started suspected everyone of being infected by Corona Virus.
There were constant warnings that Senior Citizens were more vulnerable to COVID — so — they should avoid stepping out of the house — but — sadly — we are two senior citizens in our 60’s and one 88 year old super senior citizen cooped up in the house — so — I had no option but to step out of the house to buy essentials required for survival.
We have been “locked down” in our homes for a long time now — and — this isolated life — living in constant fear of COVID — in a state of “Corona Phobia” — this has taken a toll on our mental and physical health.
(This story was written in July 2020 — around 4 months after the advent of the COVID Pandemic. Now — most people are in a state of “COVID Phobia” for more than one year — exacerbated by the arrival of the Second Wave of COVID…)
Prolonged Lockdown and “COVID Phobia” have changed my lifestyle forever.
I have not been able to do the things I like the most.
No Long Walks — No Eating Out — No Meeting Friends — No Socializing — No Shopping — No Movies — No Going Out at all — it is like “House Imprisonment”.
Due to “Corona Phobia” — I am scared to visit my dentist — and my broken tooth remains untreated.
One doesn’t know the facts but someone said that it was best to avoid dental treatment during the COVID Pandemic since “aerosols” carried the Corona Virus — and aerosols were generated during dental treatment.
I am scared to visit doctor’s clinics/hospitals for overdue medical check-ups and for treatment of Non-COVID ailments after hearing reports of some people catching “Corona Virus” during their visits to hospitals.
So — “COVID Phobia” makes me suffer in silence — rather than risk catching the dreaded Corona Virus if I visit the dental clinic or hospital OPD.
Our house-help (maid) stopped coming to work long ago when the first few Corona Virus cases were discovered in Pune (imported from foreign countries) — and all of them went back to their villages where they felt safer because rural areas were Corona-Free at the point of time.
Now — due to “COVID Phobia” we may never hire a maid or domestic house-help again.
(Of course — one positive aspect of the Lockdown is that we have become “atma nirbhar” and we do all our housework ourselves)
Every day — we hear news of how the COVID Pandemic is rapidly spreading and going out of control.
We see the dreaded COVID coming closer and closer — and we hear of Corona Virus cases in our vicinity.
After their initial bravado and “josh” — and their publicity stunts and “gimmicks” like “Thali Banging”, “Lamp Lighting”, “Petal Showering” etc. — politicians seem to have given up hope — and left the citizens to fend for themselves.
Seemingly clueless about how to handle the COVID Pandemic — politicians appear to have stopped focusing on Corona Virus — and started diverting their attention to playing politics — hoping that COVID will go away on its own — and media too has started highlighting other issues.
But — the common citizen is worried about Corona Virus — which seems all encompassing — and is surrounding you day by day.
Yes — “Corona Phobia” is all pervasive — it has affected me — and — I am sure “COVID Phobia” has affected everyone (though some persons may remain in denial).
As I explained earlier — due to “Corona Phobia” and Lockdown — I am not able to do most of the things which were normal routine for me — since outdoor activities are restricted or prohibited.
Even if Lockdown is relaxed — “COVID Phobia” would deter me from doing those activities which were an essential part of my life before the Corona Virus entered the environment.
“Corona Phobia” (“COVID Phobia”) has caused a great deterioration in my quality of life.
“COVID Phobia” has transformed a gregarious extrovert like me into a social recluse — a Hikikomori
(In Part 3 of this blog post I will tell you a story which exemplifies the term HIKIKOMORI…)
Yes — “Corona Phobia” has forced me to withdraw from society — all my outdoor activities and external relationships have been stopped — and I am forced to live a lonely life of confinement indoors — like a “hermit”.
And — this “Corona Phobia” will remain till “Corona Virus” is eradicated — or till a vaccine is found — and we are vaccinated to protect us from the dreaded “Corona Virus”.
Till then — I will have to live a dismal lifestyle — thanks to “COVID Phobia”.
Due to “Corona Phobia” — life may never be the same again.
It may sound fatalistic and extreme despondency — but — a normally gregarious senior citizen — now cooped up in his house for months due to COVID Lockdown — and obviously overcome by “Corona Phobia” — he said:
“It is better to die of COVID than live a miserable life like this in constant fear of “Corona Virus”…”
“Corona Phobia” — aka — “COVID Phobia” is a reality.
“Corona Phobia” (“COVID Phobia”) is a PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) of the COVID Pandemic.
Everyone is focusing on alleviation of the physical health effects of Corona Virus — and the effects of the COVID Pandemic on the Economy.
But — Corona Virus (and COVID Pandemic) is going to have psychological effects as well — which will have a bearing on mental health — and cause mental stress to persons of all age groups and people belonging of various sections of society.
PART 3 — “HIKIKOMORI”
Before the advent of Corona Virus and the COVID Pandemic — I was a gregarious outdoorsy person.
Now — after long forcible Stay at Home due to Lockdown — I seem to have become a Hikikomori — who prefers to stay at home and be alone — rather than go out and be with friends as was the case earlier.
COVID has had psychological effect on me.
From an extrovert — I have become an introvert — or Hikikomori — to be more specific.
I seem to be a victim of Post COVID Stress Disorder (PCSD) — like the protagonist in the story below…
Post COVID Stress Disorder (PCSD)
Story By Vikram Karve
In end January 2020 — the dreaded “Corona Virus” entered India.
Officially — the name for “Corona Virus” was COVID-19.
Corona Virus (COVID-19) did not exist in India — but was “imported” via travelers from foreign countries.
At that point of time — if they had realized how contagious and dangerous COVID-19 could be — they would have stopped all international flights to prevent COVID-19 from entering India.
But — they remained complacent — and travelers from foreign countries kept “importing” COVID-19 from abroad — and spreading the virus in India.
So — COVID-19 started spreading all over India — many people started getting infected by Corona Virus — and soon — it became an epidemic — or rather — a “Pandemic”.
It seemed that they had woken up to the threat of COVID-19 — but — by the time they actually took action — it was too late.
One expected that the first thing they would do was to prevent further import of Corona Virus by stopping all incoming air travel by suspending international flights.
But — surprisingly — the first thing they did was to announce a “Janata Curfew” on the 22nd of March 2020 — which included a 5 minute clapping and utensil banging session at 5 PM — by all citizens standing in the balcony.
On the 24th of March 2020 — they announced a 21 day “Lockdown” from the 25th of March 2020 to the 14th of April 2020. This was called “Phase1” of the Lockdown — or — Lockdown1.
Then they kept extending the Lockdown — Phase 2 (Lockdown2) from 15 April 2020 to 3 May 2020 (19 days) — Phase 3 (Lockdown3) from 4 May 2020 to 17 May 2020 (14 days) — Phase 4 (Lockdown4) from 18 May 2020 to 31 May 2020.
The Lockdown was very severe and strictly implemented — with citizens confined to their homes
Then — they started slowly “unclocking” the Lockdown — they called it “unlockdown” aka “Unlock1”.
By the time this story happened — the “Unlockdown” was almost complete — and — things were back to normal — except for a few COVID precautions like social distancing, wearing mask and maintaining hygiene.
And — just as things were becoming normal — the Second Wave of COVID has engulfed us — and Pune is already under a partial lockdown from 6 PM to 6 AM from early April to end May 2021 — with scary prospects of a total lockdown looming ahead if the COVID situation worsens.
Story by Vikram Karve
There was a “Senior Citizen” couple — both Husband and Wife in their 60’s.
The husband was a retired “Veteran” — a gregarious “outdoors” type person.
The wife was a “Career Woman” — presently “working from home” due to Lockdown.
The wife kept busy during the Lockdown — working from home all day — and then — doing the housework in the mornings and evenings — and the husband too helped out in the housework — since there was no house-help (maids/cooks) during the lockdown period — due to the strict curfew enforced outside — and — also because their residential society had banned outsiders from entering the society complex.
For the “Veteran” husband — the lockdown was a terrible time.
His wife had strictly forbidden him to go outside — once she saw an “advisory” on TV that “Senior Citizens” were more vulnerable to “Corona Virus” and should avoid going outside — especially to crowded places, shops and markets.
The wife made arrangements with the local grocery shop to home deliver milk, vegetables and essential foodstuffs twice a week.
When the husband broke his tooth — she did not allow him to go to the dentist — and when he had eye infection — she didn’t allow him to go to the ophthalmologist.
She had gone paranoid — and she had ensured that both of them were strictly “locked-in” during the “lockdown”.
After more than two months of strict lockdown — the “unlocking” of the lockdown began — lockdown restrictions were gradually relaxed — and — at the time of the conversation below — “lockdown” had been substantially relaxed — the “unlockdown” was almost complete — and — things were practically back to normal — Offices, Malls, Markets, Shops, Restaurants — everything was open — and — public transport was running normally.
It was at this time that the wife called up her school classmate — a renowned psychiatrist.
Conversation between Wife and Psychiatrist is narrated below:
Wife ( W ) : “Are you free…? Is it a good time to talk…?”
Psychiatrist ( P ) : “Yes. Yes. I am absolutely free. Go ahead…”
W: “It’s about my husband…”
P: “Your husband…? What’s wrong with him…?”
W: “I don’t know — this two months lockdown seems to have affected him badly…”
P: “What happened…?”
W: “He is refusing to go out of the house even though lockdown has been relaxed…”
P: “That’s surprising. I remember you complaining that your husband hates to stay inside the house — and — he is always roaming outside…”
W: “Yes. I had a tough time making him stay inside when lockdown was imposed — and now — he is just refusing to go outside. I told him to get some stuff from the shop below — but — he refused to go…”
P: “That must be because he didn’t want to do the chore. Tell him to go out for something he likes to do. Like walking — eating out…?”
W: “I tried all that — but he says he doesn’t want to go for a walk — or eat out — he says that he is quite happy to stay at home…”
P: “What about golf…? He is addicted to golf — isn’t he…?”
W: “His golfing friends had called him to play in the morning — but — he refused to go…”
P: “That’s really surprising. I thought golf was his first love. Maybe he is not feeling well. Is he well…? Did he have any health issues during the lockdown…?”
W: “He seems to be fit and fine. A few weeks ago — he wanted to see the “eye doctor” — but I didn’t let him go because of the lockdown — and then — he broke his tooth — he had called the dentist — but the dentist told him to come after the dental clinic opens after the lockdown was over…”
P: “I am sure the dental clinic has opened now. Ask him to go to the dentist and get his tooth fixed…”
W: “I told my husband to go to the dentist — and since he didn’t do anything — I called the dentist and fixed up an appointment — but — my husband refused to go…”
P: “He seems to be depressed. Did you ask him the reason why he doesn’t want to go outside…?”
W: “I asked him a few minutes ago. He said that he was not going to leave the house till he died — he was going to remain inside the house till his death — death due to Corona — or death due to natural causes — whichever was earlier…”
P: “What…? He is talking of death…?”
W: “I felt extremely scared after hearing this — so — I called you immediately…”
P: “Bring him to my clinic — I will see him…”
W: “I told you that he is refusing to leave the house. How can I bring him to the clinic…?”
P: “I think he is suffering from “Corona Phobia” — fear of getting infected by Corona Virus…”
W: “I think it is something worse than that. I haven’t got Corona. But he doesn’t want to be near me — he has stopped talking to me — he locks himself in his study room most of the time — and he has started sleeping there too. He wants to be alone all the time…”
P: “Oh. That’s strange. Let him be as he wants. Maybe — he will get over it. Meanwhile — I will talk to my colleagues — whether they have seen similar cases. I will call you back in a day or two…”
W: “Thank you — I will wait for your call…”
The psychiatrist “P” discusses the case with a colleague — (this same story of the “Veteran” described above who is refusing to go out of his house).
The colleague says:
“As you suspect — it may be a case of “Corona Phobia” — but — I feel that this one may be a case of “Hikikomori”…”
“Hikikomori…? What’s that…?”
“Hikikomori means “social recluse”…”
“Social Recluse…? How is that possible…? He was an extrovert — a gregarious sociable man — an “outdoors” type who loved going out and mixing with people…”
“That’s what happens sometimes — first — they imposed a lockdown — and they forced him to live inside his house — in social isolation — and now — he has got used to living in his house in social isolation — in fact — he has started enjoying living like a “social recluse” — so he wants to live a solitary life away from society — he has become a “Hikikomori” — a modern day “hermit” — he has withdrawn from society…”
“Hikikomori — a sort of “social phobia”…?”
“Yes — you can say that. Hikikomori may be an unintended effect of lockdown — you “lock” a person into social isolation for a long time — and then — he gets so used to social isolation — that he doesn’t want get back into society once you “unlock” him from his isolation — and be becomes a “social recluse” — a “Hikikomori”…”
You have heard of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) — haven’t you…?
Well now — thanks to “Corona Virus” aka COVID — and the consequent Lockdown — you better be ready for PLSD (Post Lockdown Stress Disorder) — or — in general — PCSD (Post COVID Stress Disorders) — of which one manifestation is “Hikikomori”.
And now that the Second Wave of COVID is here — there may be a proliferation of psychological effects on COVID in everyone.
Copyright © Vikram Karve
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
- This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
- All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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PART 2 — COVID Phobia
Link to my source blog posts in my Blogs:
http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2020/07/corona-phobia-aka-covid-phobia.html and https://karve.wordpress.com/2020/07/19/corona-phobia-covid-phobia-ptsd-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-of-the-covid-19-pandemic/ etc
PART 3 — HIKIKOMORI
Links to my source blog posts in my Blogs:
http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2020/06/unlockdown.html and https://karve.wordpress.com/2020/10/28/covid-psychological-effect-have-i-become-a-hikikomori/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2020/12/05/psychological-effect-of-covid-i-have-become-a-hikikomori/ etc.
and detailed article posted in this blog at url: https://karve.wordpress.com/2021/04/04/covid-psychological-effects/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2021/05/14/covid-musings/ etc
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.