I was a bit excited when my country announced home isolation as a key measure to stop the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. It would be comforting to just stay home, or so I thought.
I was wrong! Barely a week into home confinement, I was doubly stressed. I missed being free to move to wherever and whenever I wanted. I suddenly missed travelling by bodaboda and commuter taxi, or running my otherwise hectic daily errands. There were days I woke up angry for no reason at all. It was frustrating.
While I have had to devise ways to cope by including exercises and games amidst my schedule – office work, parenting and house chores – I still involuntarily get nervous. I worry about how much longer we are likely to be stuck in our homes; and how we will be able to put the next meal on the table – if the COVID-19 infection persists. I worry about the economic crisis in the aftermath of COVID19. It is frightening.
From the conversations with friends over the telephone or social media platforms, it is easy to tell that isolation is taking a toll on many people. Families whose loved ones are being quarantined or have tested positive have to bear untold distress. It must be worse for those who are in quarantine centers, receiving treatment. Households that live hand-to-mouth particularly spend sleepless nights with untold fear of what the next day holds. Health workers who are at the front-line have to endure fatigue, irritability, and a sense of helplessness especially as people continue to be infected or succumb to the infections.
What’s worse? The statistics are disturbing. The number of deaths has more than doubled in the past week. As of April 1, 2020, the World Health Organization indicated that the coronavirus has infected more than 900,000 and left more than 45,000 dead. WHO predicted that in next few days, the statistics would reach 1 million confirmed COVID-19 case, and 50, 000 deaths.
Somber as the picture looks, it is important to focus on the positive side, by focusing on what is within our control. Recently, the WHO Mental Health Department issued self-help tips for the general population, health workers, and families It cautioned every individual to minimize watching, reading or listening to news about COVID-19 that causes anxiety ; but seek information only from trusted sources to get facts not rumours and misinformation.