Covid-19: A Pandemic or a ‘Man’demic





















By Dr Zita Lobo 

Mangaluru, Apr 11: Amidst all the nail biting chaos and cacophony of fake and unsolicited material in the social media plus the real seriousness regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, lockouts, isolation, quarantine, unprecedented separation from the families due to travel restrictions and the sense of impending doom, mankind is still evolving while nature is healing itself------As quickly as possible before man returns to it with his dance of destruction.

Epidemics in history have claimed thousands of lives of people in various parts of the world until now. Ironically technological and medical advancement is the very reason for this humanity crisis. This is a ‘Mandemic’, man-made epidemic, nature’s check on what man has made of man.

COVID-19 is caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus2 (SARS-CoV-2) in Wuhan province of China, the epicenter of the disease. Dispersed by Chinese to other parts the world, proliferated by tourism and fanned out to the rest of the world as a pandemic, brought inadvertently by travelling by all means by tourists, pilgrims and business to India.

While the national leadership exhorts citizens for “massive behavioral, social and personal changes” grappling under the enormity of the impending upsurge, administrations are desperately trying to contain the high waves of the pandemic. Police on their part punishing, beating up and when nothing works serenading and dancing to appease the confused and anxious masses to cajole them back into homes.

Life is practically grounded. The worst affected are the teeming masses of migrant laborers, the floating population who drift from place to place in search of food and shelter. Luxury of soap and water let alone sanitizers, social distancing, work from home or being bored at home are luxuries the majority of Indians cannot afford. Shunted to the bottom of the pay pyramid people barely made ends meet with Rs200 to 400 per day have already lost two to three weeks of labour due to lock down. This is arguably 50% of the Indian population the worst hit in any eventuality, facing death due to hunger, malnutrition, other existing diseases, exposure or sheer exhaustion from walking. It is this multitude that requires to be ministered to. Both in India and abroad.

Another worst hit community is the healthcare workers. Their risks are manifold; risk of contamination due to lack of face masks and PPEs (personal protection equipment), ‘Covidiots’, volatile patients and their families, fear of contaminating their own families, indefinite separation from their own.

The nightmare of every doctor, nurse and allied healthcare worker now is how to keep ‘the reaper’ away hospitals become overwhelmed with infected people.

At this juncture it is of prime importance to understand the emotional responses that all of us generally have to any situation which is upsetting or can be termed as bad news. The five stages of grief first propounded by a Swiss psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross model in her book ‘On Death and Dying’ based on her work with terminally ill people hold good here.

Denial: “Oh no” is the most decent expression one might exclaim. You deny the news with shock and fear. The extraterrestrial look-alike with suction tubes, fuzzy ball like corona virus would never alight in our homes. Refusal to accept.

Anger: Once you are cornered into the reality of no escape, anger, frustration and anxiety take over. Where or who can we lay the blame on? China, Italy, Spain? people who travelled outside for work, study or tourism and returned? God? Why me why my loved ones?

Bargaining: “I will change my ways if I am spared”. “I will never complain about work”, I will always love my family”, “I will be good, God please let this not happen to me”. “if you don’t bring it to my doorstep I will……” This stage is of false hope.

Depression: This false hope leads to helplessness and a sense of being overwhelmed. Escapism or hostility takes over. Normally people who are amongst others would withdraw at this moment. In the present scenario where people are forced to be alone and lonely can have suicidal thoughts. If professional help is not sought people can get stuck in this stage.

Acceptance: Let’s face it. It is bad news. Anything that upsets an established lifestyle and gives lesser choices in life is bad news. But this is not a hopeless situation. This is a time for adjustments and readjustments.

Nationally we have seen bomb blasts, terror attacks, natural calamities and epidemics from time to time. Personally we have faced personal trials, travails, losses both financial and personal. For we brought nothing when we arrived in this world, we take nothing out of it.

To preserve your sanity when everyone is losing theirs here are a few suggestions.

Stay healthy: The adage “Prevention is better than cure” will never go out of fashion. Fortify yourself with available herbal drinks. For a change obsess over the virus lurking in your groceries (if the workers are infected with the virus), and everything that enters your home and the fridge. (Soak a clean towel in warm soap water, squeeze out the water and wipe all boxes and containers before putting them by). Act like Shakespeare’s lady Macbeth! Keep washing your hands.

Stay connected: It is times like these that relations and friends lend meaning. There are more ways than one I can list in this space to keep connected in these days of technological explosion.

Spirituality: It is significant that the first doors that closed were places of community worship. It has literally made people look inward. When people return to temples, mosques and churches they will find meaning in what goes on there.

Share: According to the World Health Organization (WHO) director general Tedros Ashanom Ghebreyesus “this pandemic is much more than a health crisis. It requires whole of government and whole of society response” as more than 1.3 million are infected and 80,00 have succumbed to it. There is a lot of reverse sharing going on where churches, temples and mosques are giving it back to the society. Generously share what you can with others. Take care of your staff. Pay part if not in full to all those who assisted you and are not able to do so now. Contribute in whichever way you can to the relief efforts initiated for this purpose.

Keep upgraded only through the authentic sources: Stay away from spurious and sensational content of social media and doctored videos. Every person is covid-19 expert now and love to scare the daylights out of people’s eyes and replace them with nightmares. So take most news with a pinch of salt! Better still upgrade your news only through authentic sources. Intense efforts are made by the medical research fraternity to find solutions to the existing situation.

Heal yourself: These are also times when wishes like wanting to spend time with family or to have more time on hand to oneself are granted. Do what you wanted to do when you didn’t have time. A lot of creativity is now expressed through music, art, and humorous takes on life in COVID times.

Just as nature is healing itself with forgiveness to mankind, clearing the skies to breathe fresh air, replenishing the seas with clear water and the mountains with fresh snow, animals roaming freely without boundaries and flowers sprouting on the sidewalks and life rejuvenated both internally and externally.

Just take one day at a time.

Dr Zita Lobo is a professor and chairperson at General Education Department, Rak Medical and Health Sciences University. 




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Comment on this article

  • Sudhir Ghate, Mangaluru

    Fri, Apr 17 2020

    I liked the article. Person living abroad thinking about the country of birth is commendable. The opinion expressed by Dr Zita is like a person having a view from the top of the medical field. The words like mandamic, covediots, etc. I am sure will find a place in the dictionary.

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  • Alex, Mangalore,

    Wed, Apr 15 2020

    Well written piece. I want to add another perspective. Our technological and medical advancement is why this crisis is not nearly as bad as it could be. We have the capacity to develop vaccines now, but if we were more medically advanced we could develop them in weeks instead of months. We understand how viruses spread, so we are able to coordinate on a national and global scale instantaneously to flatten the curve using information technology. Many of us are able to continue to work from home, which would not have been possible even 10 years ago without the advancement of Internet technologies. Thanks to technology, humanity is not totally at the mercy of nature like we were in the past. Now we have much more control of our own fate as a species and as individuals.

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  • Felicita Dsouza, kulshekar

    Mon, Apr 13 2020

    You have explained many aspects about Corona Virus pandemic.What happen to people when they face any bad news.Happy that you are giving suggestions how to cope with this situation.Good to see your observation of suffering.It is an eye opener to mankind.Hope this too shall pass soon.

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  • Sandhya, Mangaluru

    Sun, Apr 12 2020

    Well written and has covered almost all aspects of the pandemic.Especially the fake and misplaced news that causes panic during the pandemic.Wish more people read this article and reach the acceptance stage and maintain their sanity

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  • ad, mangaluru

    Sat, Apr 11 2020

    Indeed its a" Man"demic you are right. Man is destroying the planet earth. Planet earth is healing and have given an opportunity to mankind to reflect and live. You are what you eat and how you live. Slow down in life live local, eat local and die local. And above all take care of the planet earth.

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  • M.R, Mangalore

    Sat, Apr 11 2020

    It is truly nature's check on what man has done. Even when we are suffering mother nature is healing.

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Carol Saldanha, Doha

    Sat, Apr 11 2020

    Lovely article......We need more positive advices...... Reading news is very stressful in these times....
    Keep up the good work madam.

    DisAgree Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • John B. Monteiro, Bondel Mangalore

    Sat, Apr 11 2020

    “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” -- H. P. Lovecraft (1890- 1937), American writer of weird and horror fiction.
    The article by Dr. Zita Lobo is important and relevant; but likely to sink into Daiji archives when Easter dawns. Of course, there are instances of articles hugging the home page for days and weeks. But, the right slot for such an article would have been under “Special” with a shelf life of a week or so.
    Dr Zita says: “Every person is Covid-19 expert now and loves to scare daylight out of people’s eyes and replace them with nightmares”. She goes on to give 12 “responses”. She may be thinking that 13 is unlucky. Taking off from her own article, I will add 13th: “Never Fear” (Panic) . Now the pandemics are fashionably designated. Down the centuries there were, apart from wars, mass killers which went under the omnibus term of “plague”. And I will conclude with an ancient plague-related tale.
    A sudhu was travelling to Banares and on the way broke journey to have rest and refreshments in a wayside inn. The inn-keeper, by way of polite conversation, asked the sadhu where he was headed. His reply: “I am going to Banares to kill 50 people by plague.”
    After 15 days the sadhu, on his return journey, halted at the same inn and its keeper asked him if he succeeded in his mission to be replied: “500 people died – 50 by plague and the rest by fear of plague’.

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  • Max and Jessie Rasquinha, Mangalore, Houston/Dallas, Texas, U.S.A

    Sat, Apr 11 2020

    Thank you so much, Dr. Zita, for your kind msg of inspiration and faith during this time of Holy Week. It is a very heart warming message, a timely contribution to the world that needs a desperate word of consolation and courage so that we may continue to cherish our faith in God and hope that the life of peace and tranquility will prevail at all times.
    We all have our daily challenges in life, but so long as we have our faith in God, let us trust that He will guide us and help us today, tomorrow and always. A Happy Holy Week to one and all of you, and God bless.

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  • Cynthia, Kirem

    Sat, Apr 11 2020

    Good article... Thank you Dr. Zita. At least we can read this article and know the contents. Other articles on health, which appeared here on daiji Portal, were unable to open. We could read only the heading... Humble request with daiji, such articles should be reachable to the readers... and not closed type...

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  • Sabitha D'souza, Surathkal

    Sat, Apr 11 2020

    I appreciate your article very nice explained

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sabitha D'souza, Surathkal

    Sat, Apr 11 2020

    I appreciate your article very nice explained

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sunil D'Souza, Mangalore

    Sat, Apr 11 2020

    Anyone heard about the BSL4 Laboratory at wuhan city?

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ashraf Twait, UAE

    Sat, Apr 11 2020

    Thank you Dr. Zita this .A great description of what we are facing nowadays and what we can do to in this period .

    DisAgree [1] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Juliet Mascarenhas, Bejai mangalore

    Sat, Apr 11 2020

    Aare Eric. BRILLIANT Comment re. After all Bejai Maam na

    DisAgree [6] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Eric Coelho, Mangalore

    Sat, Apr 11 2020

    I am not bothered of this Pandemic or 'Man' demic, Whatever disaster happens in this world is man made whether world war 1 or 2 or several other wars thereafter. I am more concerned about 'Hunger' demic that is going to happen till the lockdown is lifted and 'communal' demic that happening now.. India is a young country and I wish the young indians wake up and work hard for the country and bring it back on its feet. I hope wish and pray that the young Indians hard work and fruit is not benefited by a few individuals. It should be a equal share to all. India and Indians have enough potential and I am sure we will come back stronger.

    DisAgree [6] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Anoop Jacob, Mumbai

    Sat, Apr 11 2020

    Good article- Pandemic or Mandemic... time will tell, there are various theories about this virus being man made in a laboratory as a biochemical warfare weapon. Whichever way this is natures way of levelling mankind when humans started destroying everything in sight and in a way reminding us that we are mere humans after all who can control nothing not even a virus.

    Hopefully we should find a vaccine in times to come but a lesson for mankind taught the hard way

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  • Gulshan, Mangalore

    Sat, Apr 11 2020

    Zita maam u are still so beautiful remembered my college days ,nice advice

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  • John, Mangalore

    Sat, Apr 11 2020

    Bill Gates has been prophecising this since 2015 in one of his Ted talk videos, Microsoft, other extremely rich elites promoting ID2020 block chain control business, being a old friend of Chinese people, holding lucrative ebola patent and having Billions in software business now wants more from health business ? That to in the name of philanthropy also do lucrative vaccination business ?

    All these, is it not indicating it is Manmedic?? a very few trying control rest of the world bringing down business of others, small and medium pushing their digital business??

    Time will tell.

    God only knows if this mandemic and coming vaccination is for population reduction or to say world is belonging to a few extremely rich and to their clan.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • I wish I was There, Bahrain

    Sat, Apr 11 2020

    STAY STRONG, For those who have been affected physically, emotionally, and financially by this terrible pandemic, Now for some positivity. People talk about the replacement to the hand shake. Some say bow like they do in Japan and other say a wave and still other Look it is going to get really bad. know that. but also know that you are strong and you got this and the new world after, it will be awesome. you'll will see. Remember we are not fighting each other, but we are fighting the virus. We are not enemies, but the virus is.

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  • geoffrey, hat hill

    Sat, Apr 11 2020

    "Ironically technological and medical advancement is the very reason for this crisis" (sic). Conspiracy theories apart, could this claim be substantiated? . Also bubonic plague that hit our planet in 14th century claiming ovet100 million lives was much before the very first industrial revolution itself!

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  • Simon, Mangalore / US

    Sat, Apr 11 2020

    The Bubonic Plague was transmitted by infected fleas on RODENTS and unhygienic practices of people at the time.. Since it is brought up, certain parts of Poland like Warsaw were spared because the people there at the time maintained basic hygienic practices. Globalization has pushed the limits of the spread of diseases as airports are major reservoirs of different seras of Bacteria and Viruses..

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  • Desmond, Mangalore

    Sat, Apr 11 2020

    On the lighter side y blame the man everytime, rename it as humandemic.....guess either sex is in panic mode and panic spreading mode.
    Animals seem to be calmest through all tough times

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