LATA GULLAPALLI

In the weeks before the end of the school term, it was easy enough to prepare for the Easter break. Schools were set to close, and we were off to Poland to attend the annual fencing competition. The news about the growing number COVID-19 cases in China was talked about in the news, but people were not taking it seriously, as the spread had only affected one country at that time. That changed in what felt like the blink of an eye. The situation escalated with numerous cases popping up in every major country, which led to the mobile world congress getting cancelled in February.

That was when we ordered our first set of masks as it was the beginning of a pandemic. When the lockdown in London was officially announced, people began stocking up on food, schools closed and our Easter break became permanent until further notice.

It felt like an apocalyptic cliché- all hell broke loose. Hospitals struggled to manage the overload of COVID-19 cases and medical staff needed full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits to protect themselves from the contagious infection that was spreading rapidly. We did not know what to do with ourselves at home all day. Keeping calm became a tough challenge to achieve sometimes. To add to our fears, I fell seriously sick and became very weak too in the days that followed. It was hard to think straight when you are overwhelmed from all directions.

To snap out of our constant state of worry, the first thing my family did was to stop watching the news all the time. They focused more on climbing numbers of cases and deaths while mentioning that they don’t know what causes the virus and emphasized the lack of a cure. Without the constant bombardment of this bleak information weighing down on my mind, I decided to stay productive at home and signed up for online courses, music sessions and even watched some amazing videos of Christmas lectures at the Royal Institution.

I got involved in community services and volunteered to make visors and stitch surgical gowns. I also prepared and sent food (snacks) to hospitals that catered food to the staff and frontline workers.

Unlike most people, I don’t think that the lockdown was nature’s way of forcing a pause on humanity or anything like that. Change in life is normal and should happen otherwise one stagnates in mind and in life. And if the pandemic had brought about some permanent positive change in the way people acted, then that was at least something we could have been thankful for.

But not everything changed.

We soon had more proof that humans are the only species that kills for pleasure unlike all others. While the initial weeks were calm with everyone following the lockdown rules and going out only for essentials, soon people decided to ignore the rules and take everything for granted. People threw large house parties, visited each other regularly, and roamed around without following the governments’ rules of wearing masks or sanitizing. Despite knowing that this virus was extremely contagious and may kill the vulnerable population, people selfishly ignored all the rules.

Due to my experience of fear of getting infected, I wish that people were more sensible and would do more to protect themselves and others. How can people see the haunting images of those selfless frontline workers (the doctors, nurses, staff, drivers, pharmacy assistants, cleaners, cooks, helpers and so many others) who work tirelessly to save lives and not do their own part to defeat virus? The least we can do is stay home and follow the rules of the government.

Copyright © 2020 New Horizon Hope Foundation