COVID 19 behavioural changes in society

Learning online, from home is still here for a few more months. During the time from March until now, almost December 2000, I have seen numerous behavioural changes in my own family and generally in organisations, where I have a role.

Individuals and families who have experienced COVID, with severe symptoms, and recovered. While there are a few who are cautious because they have experienced COVID, while some would like to believe that they now have life long immunity from COVID, without even checking their anti-bodies frequently enough. Do we know if the Immunity is life long for those who recovered? Science does not know yet!

Some individuals, like @trump, who would like to believe that this is just another minor flu, and it will just go away – throwing caution to the winds, no Masks, no Social Distancing. And most people agree, the Government and the media have been cautioning about the callousness, and how it can impact individuals, their near & dear ones, and the community they live in. Contact tracing has stopped being viable many months ago, and the virus is truly in the community transmission mode. Sadly you can see a lot of people who disrespect the protocols and are pushing us “fast forward’ to a possible second wave here in India.

While the testing facilities and testing capabilities have increased multi-fold, it is ironical that the number of tests has decreased substantially, and also the number of active COVID cases. I am not a Doctor or Pharmacist or anywhere close to it. I am a common man, trying to run businesses, educational institutions, and most important of all a family.

A family comprising of two 85 year olds, My father and my father-in-law. One of them was infected by the Virus, but after a long month of hospitalisation and Quarantine. My Son-in-law and Daughter, who were both infected, and that too when my daughter was pregnant. So my second grandchild was delivered one month premature. All is well now, but looking back the risks were very high. And everyone had to go through the treatment protocol, quarantine and isolation protocols.

Ironically the Pulmonologist doctor who treated my father when he was in hospital was very strict about quarantine, and isolation, rightfully so. 8-10 days in isolation in a small ward can break you mentally – delerium, disorientation, incoherence etc. For an 85 year old, my father was mentally strong and had the will to live and zest for life. He got back home fine, and also back to work. Unfortunately, the same Pulmonologist Doctor contracted COVID, and coincidentally was in the same ward where my father was. After he got discharged, he called and asked me, I wonder how your father could manage? “I thought I was going mad” said the doctor.

I now see, particularly in young people, 20-30 year olds (there are many exceptions), a sense of self-denial that the the virus could even touch them. That is scary. Certain sections of the society do not want to get tested, I don’t know why.

If you have never contracted the Virus, and have had no symptoms at all, you may not need to undergo an RT-PCR test – because it only tells you if you were negative or positive at the time swab was collected. If you turned positive, you see a Doctor. if you are negative, you carry on with your life, with all the precautions mandated.

If you were positive and then healed, you still check your antibodies every week for 2-3 weeks to ensure there is a good build up of antibodies.

For the rest of us, be as cautious as you can and wait for the vaccine!

For children who have almost lost an entire academic year, how much of online teaching and activities at home is sufficient. Lack of social contact, brings about behavioural changes, becoming stubborn, they don’t know how to share, what it means to lose, TV and video games, mobile phones. They have learnt to throw tantrums so you switch on the TV, even as you are saying “too much TV watching is bad for your eyes”! Because you run out of ideas, run out of plans to keep the children at home engaged. And after all, you have to also perform your duties and your role in the family and at work.

Finally, no socialisation, no weddings to got to, no places of worship you can go to, no professional events, since all of them have gone virtual.

If you are working from home it is a chain of conference calls. I work from home, and so do all my colleagues across all locations.

If there was an issue resolution, a conflict, an escalation, a quickly convened meeting at the office would resolve it – this is Pre-COVID times. Today, similar issues sometimes take three calls over 2-3 days to resolve? Sometimes you leave it to be resolved when we gat back to office. when will that be? We don’t know.

Well there are some positives. I have got used to driving by myself, as I feel safer that way. Like the car keys, my office bag, wallet and mobile phone, collecting my mask and a small sanitiser has become a habit. Sitting at a distance in office meetings has almost become sub-conscious. Washing hands frequently with soap water, happens every time somebody in the room mentions Corona.

Videoconferences, have begun to feel more convenient. Particularly if you imagine the travails of travel. Being able to do the meetings across countries and time zones is not anymore a hassle.

You don’t have to plan vacations, that will be uncertain until the last minute, and many times you end up canceling it, and the wrath of the family for doing that.

Work always took higher priority, at times. Today, work is default and family’s well-being is a high priority. Everything else has faded into the background.

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About the author

D Sudhanva is the founder and CEO at Excelsoft Technologies, a globally renowned eLearning Solutions Company. With a focus on transforming education across the world, Sudhanva has steered Excelsoft to be a thought leader in Education Technology with robust products delivering innovative solutions.

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