There are worrying signs that the resolve to continue adhering to the dos and don’ts of the times — physical distancing, wearing masks and maintaining hygiene protocol – is flagging. This recklessness, more evident during Deepavali, may lead to a resurgence in novel coronavirus infections and stall the progress in curbing the disease, the experts said.
“Yes, people are definitely getting tired but unfortunately the virus is not,” Prabhdeep Kaur, deputy director at Chennai’s ICMR-National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE) said.
Although there is a decline in active cases and test positivity in India, a large proportion of the population is still susceptible to infection, she warned.
There is a risk of resurgence unless people wear masks, maintain social distance and avoid gatherings.
“The virus is here to stay and we have to adopt certain behavioural changes for the long term. If we become complacent, the virus will continue to spread and we may see a resurgence of cases,” the epidemiologist said.
When the nationwide lockdown was first announced in March, people were charged with energy and there was the desire to actively work towards flattening the COVID-19 curve. However, as the months roll into another with no signs of an end anytime soon, the mix of anxiety and fear has left many people feeling drained.
As motivation dips, people are growing more lax about social distancing guidelines —and potentially putting themselves, and others, in harm’s way.
There are signs across the country with large crowds thronging markets, people getting together for social and religious gatherings and a general recklessness setting in.
Psychologist Shweta Sharma said people have already reached a higher stage of fear and anxiety in the pandemic and this is the reason for their “avoidance behaviour” as far as precautionary measures are concerned.
“Motivational factors are also important to increase any desirable behaviour but in this situation where people are not sure about their motivational factor due to uncertain causes of getting contamination, it’s becoming a forcing factor for them,” Sharma, a consultant clinical psychologist at the Columbia Asia Hospital in Gurgaon said.