When the pandemic struck last year, the messaging was such that people thought that this was going to be a 100-metre dash. But little did they know that it was going to be a marathon, says Soumitra Pathare, Director, Centre for Mental Health Law & Policy. Now, people don’t have the energy to run anymore. They weren’t prepared for a long haul. Had people known earlier, they’d pace themselves very differently, he says.
The World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus to be a pandemic on 11 March 2020. India announced a nationwide lockdown on 24 March 2020. But things seemed to be on the mend since October, as cases started coming down and eventually even reached an eight-month low of 8,635 cases on 2 February 2021.
But after we as a nation abandoned all precautions, and hundreds of thousands of people mingled at election rallies and religious events, a deadly second wave infected and killed in record numbers. As the public health system collapsed, sick people and their families were reduced to a pitiful state, begging and pleading for beds, oxygen, and medicines. As the crisis deepened, people died without accessing medical help. Several parts of the country imposed lockdowns as a last resort.
Just when people had started looking forward to getting vaccinated, stepping out and resuming a normal life, not only did things get worse, the untold suffering exacerbated by the complete failure of the state, is one of the darkest times in our nation’s history.
India Ahead spoke to an expert to understand how mental health concerns in 2021 are different from 2020. Watch the video to know more.