MyVoice: Views of our readers 11th March 2020

MyVoice: Views of our readers 11th March 2020

Stop spreading panic over coronavirus There is an unprecedented panic over coronavirus at all levels from individuals to societies to governments...

Stop spreading panic over coronavirus

There is an unprecedented panic over coronavirus at all levels from individuals to societies to governments to global level organisations. The print, visual, and most importantly, social media, have undoubtedly contributed a major part in perpetuating the scare.

In the wonderful book 'Panicology', the authors say that there is a general difficulty in accepting that natural events still have the power to occasionally overwhelm us. Simultaneously, there is a near obsession with human race to blame ourselves for things that may not be our fault, like a new virus or freak weather events. We tend to believe that we have unleashed the forces of nature through arrogance of scientific optimism.

And then we start disbelieving at the limitations of medical science and governments, panicking on a global scale at the possibility of mass extermination by chemical, biological, or nuclear wars. There also starts a round of abuse for the deficiencies of medical science and governments.

Most viruses and bacteria want to survive and not kill. Rapid killing would prevent any form of symbiotic relation required for long survival. Most pandemics are because of organisms with high infectivity but moderate pathogenicity only.

The human immunity, evolved over hundreds and thousands of years, is capable enough to tackle most biological threats evolving naturally. In fact, such is the level of symbiosis, that only 10% of our total cell mass are human.

90% of the cells are alien to us, living peacefully in cooperation, filling each other's needs. Some of the microorganisms in our guts belong to a notorious 'who-is-who' list of villainous bugs. Only during some immunological compromise, do they become pathogenic.

Bacteria sometimes get the term of a 'global organism'- a mutation in one part of the world can reach the other end of the Earth within 24 hours, without any human agency too. More important than closing borders, hounding affected people to the point of shooting them (if social media needs believing), a more open policy of education, self-reporting, surveillance, and quarantine will surely help in tackling the crisis which is bound to end in some time.

The social media is uncontrollable, fortunately there is no longer a blind belief in its content. The print and visual media have a huge role in containing the panic by staying balanced and helping to maintain the same in society too.

Good poultry practices, washing hands and avoiding open sneezing are always good practical health measures and those are still the cornerstones to protect ourselves in this latest round of 'virus attack.'

Dr Pingali Gopal, Warangal

Pitiable plight of girl child in India

Even as the world celebrated International Women's Day with much aplomb, unwanted girl child is India's greatest shame. The fixation for a male child transcends socio-economic status, religion, education and gender.

A girl is dispensable in the world's largest democracy. She is a product of misconception that has filtered through homes, places of worship, schools, the media, government buildings and her workplace. She is a target in utero. Illegal sex determination may ensure that female infanticide ensues.

The genocide of a girl child places India fourth globally in skewed sex ratios: 1000 male to 943 female Indian babies. This ratio may be further biased due to underreporting. A girl child is more likely to go missing, suffer sexual or domestic abuse, or drop out from school compared to a male child. The girl causes great financial distress to the family at the time of her marriage as the dowry system still prevails in all classes of society in India.

A male child performs the last rites at a Hindu funeral, ensuring that his parents obtain salvation. The Indian woman is blamed for her inability to produce a male child when scientifically, the Y chromosome of a man determines the sex of a child. Many women are subjected to multiple pregnancies until she gives birth to a male child, perpetuating a series of health-related issues to both the mother and the child.

Postpartum depression, anaemia, complications related to repetitive pregnancies and abortions are medical sequelae. Pre-term infants, malnutrition, and health issues with the new-born are common.

The times are changing in States like Meghalaya and pockets of Kerala. But, unfortunately, Indian society just doesn't favour the girl child.

Dr Shusha Maheshwari, Hyderabad

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