Looking back to the first positive case: A matter of shame

Rejoice. Thank the Almighty but don’t go overboard. This observation is made in the backdrop of the fact that two persons who tested positive for coronavirus have been discharged from hospital and while there is every reason to feel elated that a young girl and a middle aged man have been discharged, this should not in any way mean that the people should go overboard. The threat from the virus still stands and as a number of experts have predicted, the threat is likely to stretch to 2021 or even 2022. This line of thought is all that more plausible given that some people who tested negative, after hospitalisation, have now tested positive even after a gap of 60/70 days in China and South Korea. Plus a vaccine is yet to come. A scary proposition this is and while the virus strand may be different here, this is all the more reason for the people to continue remaining on their toes. It is also worth keeping in mind the initial reaction of the people when the young girl tested positive on March 24. As news of the young girl having tested positive spread like wildfire, it did not take long for some self righteous individuals to take to the social media and mock the young girl, some even going to the extent of questioning why she had to bring the virus all the way from England, the place where she is studying and the place from where she returned before testing positive. There were also so many loose talks with many questioning why she had to return if she had the virus and many more sticking to the line that many could have been infected as ‘she took a bus from Guwahati to Imphal’ !!! Nothing could be more ludicrous and insane than such line of thoughts but these are the talks that dominated many leiraks and leikais, after her status was announced.
Now that the young girl has been discharged from the hospital, after testing negative more than once, she has suddenly become the ‘daughter’ and ‘sister’ of everyone and while this is good, there is still no guarantee whether any lessons have been learnt from the panicky reaction of the people. Much like Manipur but with a more sinister turn is Meghalaya after its first COVID-19 patient passed away. Reports coming from Meghalaya painted the victim as a samaritan, a doctor who gave it all to treat his patients, but this  did not deter some people of Shillong to disallow the last rites to be performed at their cemetery. It was only 36 hours later that a burial ground was found and the mortal remains of the good doctor was laid to rest. It was primarily the inaction of the State Government that led the High Court of Meghalaya to act on a PIL and pass an order that action would be taken against anyone obstructing the cremation or burial of any victim of COVID-19 in the future. It is also the failure on the part of the authority concerned that not much information had been given that dead bodies ‘cannot spread’ the virus as it is transmitted primarily through respiratory droplets (coughing and sneezing) and via bodily contacts. In as much as the lockdown has been imposed and extended to keep people away from socialising and not spread the virus, it also stands that efforts be made to clear the many misgivings about the virus and how wrong readings have added to the woes and trauma of the bereaved families and those infected though this does not really mean the death sentence.