We might have misunderstood the term 'Social Distancing'. 'Physical Distancing' seems to be more appropriate for the message that we actually wanted to convey. I raised this issue once earlier and many agreed to my point of view. That is the reason why we started using the term 'Physical Distancing' for what we called it earlier. And, we can see its positive reflections as well. We are no more hostile, inhuman and unsocial now-a-days as we happened to be when the Novel Corona Virus Disease outbreak took place. The term 'Social Distancing' itself contributed in our mental or emotional distancing. We are now trying to bring back the harmony in social bonding while maintaining necessary physical distancing.
We believe that it was safe physical distance but never social, mental or humane distancing from friends, relatives and neighbours that was recommended. Rather, the necessity of shouldering each other is being emphasized during this challenge posed by the pandemic. To be specific, the Covid positive patients deserve more attention, mental support and care during their days in quarantine. They can be cured easily if proper treatment and measures are taken keeping in mind the health policies. We are happy to see that there are still many people to offer help to each other even after 3 months long sufferings due to the Covid. Humanity is still there. Even the tendency of leaving the near ones unattended has decreased to a greater extent. Now people need to contribute to the funerals of the Covid death cases. Many volunteer organizations are moving forward to help. A few of the families preferred to conduct their relatives' funerals themselves without the help of any volunteer. Refusing the government support, they did it all on their own. This was missing in the beginning. Even the number of voluntary organizations have increased to support the funerals of the Covid death patients.
Still, whenever we watch the television or read the newspaper, our heart aches. It hurts even when we go out on the roads. We become emotional when we hear one or two stories, when we hear that a mere touch of one's hand may cause & conflicts among people. I heard a story the other day. The Muslims were coming out of the mosque after Jummah prayers. Among the crowd, one person's hand mistakenly touched the shoulder of another. The person in front reacted in a very rough way. He turned back and started scolding and screaming. After listening to this story, I was thinking like this:the person behind has to have Corona virus, a substance on his hands that spreads the virus (like the fluids from sneezing or coughing), despite that the chances of the person in front being affected through the touch on the shoulder is still very low, because the virus cannot pierce through the cloth, then the skin and get inside the body. If the man goes home, and washes his clothes, that should be enough. If he washes his hands and face properly as well with soap then there should be nothing to be worried about. But if the man at the back is not affected with virus, then there is no possibility for the man in front to be affected. But the situation is such that, we all are suspecting each other. We are thinking that the people near us or around us are Corona positive patients! If this goes on for a little longer we will all intake this into a habit. Any suspicious mind is nothing but one who is mentally sick.
Many people are facing various physical, mental, social and psychological problems while staying at home. At the moment, I will not go into those details. Now is the time to think about the fact that physical distance should not be the cause of our mental distance, so that the distance between the minds and the hearts does not increase. The tech giants are becoming richer overnight. This way people are losing their most precious wealth -'Their spirit'. Many people are thinking that the office expenses have been reduced. But finally, the amount that we will have to pay, might be more than what we can bear. The damage that this 'home office' can cause to our body is irreparable. If the mental and physical states of a person are not right, a very rich person can become penniless in no time. Because, without real social communication, without altruism, without serving others, human mind does not develop or get satisfied. Excessive reliance on technology in daily life is not conducive to the real welfare of human beings. But people have gradually become dependent on instruments and machines Machine-based life is never preferable for a healthy life. Walking around normally is much better than sitting at home; having a social life is necessary for our mind as well as our body. According to cardiologists, they are constantly saying these things to their patients. And the patients are bound to listen to them. But most of the people are in favor of living a comfortable life by depending on these machines. We will have to limit the use of machines and instruments in our lives. We will have to think of an alternative.
The widespread use of social media may have made things easier for the time being, but it will not be fruitful in the long run. Instead it will make life harder and complicated. People have become very much dependent on machines and technology during this Corona pandemic. While maintaining a physical distance, they have created a mental distance too. We are getting examples of inhumanity every day. We are becoming inhuman due to the lack of human interaction. If we lose the quality of being a good human, our hearts will forget most of its functions too. We should keep this in mind. If we do not have love, care, compassion in our heart, our whole body will malfunction, not just the heart. That is why we will have to stand together. We should remember that in order to be careful and cautious, we do not have to be inhuman. Being cautious does not mean we need to hate each other or fill our hearts with hatred. We need to make sure that we do not dislike or insult a person who is a Corona positive patient. We need to make sure that we do not drive them away like stray dogs. We must not throw someone out of the house on the roads, whether he or she is someone who very close or a stranger. We will have to make sure that we are fulfilling out duties by maintaining all the precautions as a doctor, a law-enforcer, or a volunteer. We should not increase the mental distance and avoid our social duties or forget our responsibilities towards humanity.
Dr. Husnain Nanna is Cardiologist and Associate Professor, Cardiology Department, Khwaja Yunus Ali Medical College and Hospital.