News of patients filling hospitals and cemeteries has once again raised danger signs on Kovid. We have to go many miles before we can bring this epidemic under control. India has so far not vaccinated 10% of its population. First we need to vaccinate the rest of the population. A few months later, all of them need to be persuaded to take a second dose of the vaccine. All of these people will need to take booster shots if it proves that existing vaccines are not enough to deal with the constantly evolving virus. From past experience, we know that achieving medical adherence — completing the entire course of medication prescribed to them — can be a daunting task. In the case of tuberculosis, we know that the failure of people to complete the full course of medication has led to the emergence of drug-resistant tuberculosis bacteria. So, we have a lot of unfinished tasks as far as the Kovid pandemic management is concerned.
The recent warning has no doubt convinced many vaccine skeptics to rush to vaccination centers. This forced the government to expedite much-delayed action to regulate vaccine availability nationwide. The current state of mind has driven home the need to wear masks in public places. But the big question is: how long will this alert level last? To answer that question, we must first understand why our population was so satisfied with the epidemic in the months before the Second Wave rise.
The first reason for complacency comes from the basic nature of the human brain. When the sensory system of the brain is constantly exposed to the same stimulus, it loses sensitivity to that stimulus. This phenomenon of sensory adaptation occurs in all senses, except our sense of pain. So, as ordinary people became overloaded with constant news reports on the dangers of coronavirus, their sensitivity to this type of information began to decline.
When faced with a threat, the human brain is associated with any stimulus that gives the impression that the danger has disappeared and that things have returned to normal. Despite a lot of news about the severity of Kovid’s consequences and why everyone should be wary, the actions of the country’s politicians sent contradictory signals. By holding large election rallies without the possibility of social distance, and without wearing masks in public, politicians created the impression that the pandemic was no longer a serious problem among the general public. Religious leaders have also led large gatherings over the past few months. Some of them portrayed Kovid-related sanctions as artificial attempts to undermine their religious beliefs. It is ironic that leaders who were supposed to lead by example are giving a false example to their followers.
Kovid, while dealing with the crisis, gave the impression that every step taken by the political leadership was a definite way to stop the epidemic in its path. When the All India Lockdown was announced last March, our Kovid issue would be resolved within a few weeks by the end of those restrictions. A sense of certainty has been created around vaccines — take your doses and you will not get infected. There is little investment in the factual narrative that the epidemic has left us in serious uncertainty. Since we are dealing with a new and constantly evolving virus, no one is in a position to make accurate predictions about future events. However, this uncertainty has not been communicated to the general public.
George Lowenstein, LKU. K. Weber and Christopher. Hesi’s’ Risk as Feelings, “the article was published Psychological Bulletin, The authors remind us that public perception of hazardous technologies or operational hazards has little to do with consequential factors (i.e., possible outcomes and their potential). The sense of risk attached to a situation is proportional to perceptions of helplessness or lack of control in that situation. If an accident is portrayed as new, unknown and unmanageable, or with the harmful effects of delay, the feeling of fear is very high in the minds of the people.
Listing extreme medical data on the consequences of infection and expecting the general public to have a proper cognitive evaluation of covid risks is not an effective solution. Instead, as the authors of the article remind us, human persuasion is best achieved through emotional stimuli. As the famous neuroscientist Joseph Ledoux points out, “Connections from emotional systems to cognitive systems are stronger than connections from cognitive systems to emotional systems.”
To solve the country’s crisis, the constantly evolving nature of SARS-Covey-2 must be played out. Getting people infected even after receiving the first dose of the vaccine may not be portrayed as a failure of Jab, but should serve as a signal that we need a combination of solutions to protect ourselves from this deadly virus. The uncertainty surrounding the virus should be used to fit everyone and keep them on their toes. The chances of sensory compatibility and stillness around the Kovid epidemic are also greatly reduced. People may be looking for reassurance, but maintaining some fear and uncertainty will motivate people to complete their vaccination course. This is how we can prevent the third wave of this epidemic.
Biju Dominic Chief Evangelist, Fractal Analytics and Chairman, Final Mile Consulting