Psychological specter of the Indians

The pandemic not only caused catastrophic economic and life damage, but also dealt a serious blow to the morale of millions of Indians.

India currently records nearly 21.5 million cases and more than 230,000 deaths caused by nCoV, is the second largest epidemic region in the world. The second wave of nCoVs overwhelms the Indian health system. Hospitals are out of beds, lack of oxygen and medicine. The crematorium was operating beyond capacity, forcing the authorities to cremate the body of Covid-19 patient in parks, parking lots, and even sidewalks.

Covid-19 instilled fear and stress on healthy people. They fear the virus will knock on the door or steal loved ones. Sonali Gupta, a Mumbai-based psychologist, says all the patients who have approached her since the beginning of April have the same concern about the pandemic.

“Fear, confusion, panic, nervousness, even becoming emotionless, are the five major states in my patients,” she said.

Much of this negative sentiment stems from the epidemic. People feel scared even though they have vaccinated. The scene of a Covid-19 patient struggling to get medical treatment forced them to reflect on their own health.

A man grieves at the funeral of a relative dying of Covid-19, on the banks of the Ganges River in Garhmukteshwar, Uttar Pradesh state, on May 6. Image:Reuters

Shruti Kher, 33, the owner of a marketing company in Nashik, said: “Fear engulfs me every time the phone rings. My heart drops when I answer the phone. is everyone okay?

Everyone in the family is in deep panic, Kher says. Since the end of March, they rarely go out and refuse to see friends or relatives. Even every two weeks, they do the Covid-19 test. Yet the fear still lingered on the Kher family’s mind.

Although no one in the house was infected with the virus, Kher had to witness the deaths of several distant relatives and friends in 2020. The outbreak of the epidemic made her family even more worried. “We both have a sleep disorder. Mom and I often wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep,” she said.

During the first wave of Covid-19, India had to blockade the country to prevent the spread of the epidemic. The number of cases increased gradually, peaking at 97,860 cases by September 2020. But in the second wave, the number of infections from the beginning of April so far increased 12 million to 18 million. The epidemic is not only concentrated in big cities but also spread to rural areas.

In urban areas, workers crowd at railway stations, rushing back to their hometowns. In some states like Uttar Pradesh, fleeing waves have increased the number of people infected with the virus. The state on May 7 recorded more than 35,000 new infections. The cremation points had to be operated at full capacity and the waiting time for cremation was also lengthened, causing the villagers to live in fear.

On May 7, a man in Uttar Pradesh was forced to carry his wife’s body behind a bicycle to find a cremation site because locals did not allow Covid-19 to be cremated. Elsewhere, many hospitals hang “out of oxygen” signs and refuse to accept patients. Meanwhile, the scene of the patient’s family desperately asking for help has spread throughout social networks. These heartbreaking stories, coupled with uncertainty and anxiety about loved ones, surfaced across the country.

Relatives moved the body of patient Covid-19 to a crematory in New Delhi, India, on May 1.  Photo: AP.

Relatives moved the body of patient Covid-19 to a crematorium in New Delhi, India, on May 1. Image: AP.

In the capital New Delhi, which is most affected, lawyer and researcher Arundhati R, 32, is struggling under the ghost of Covid-19. Arundhati has been home alone for three weeks now, after her husband became infected with nCoV on a business trip to Bangalore. The female lawyer said the way to deal with the tragedy is to forget it.

“I don’t watch news and social media. I just watch dramas,” she said.

Arundhati is very concerned about her safety and the recent rise in cases makes her concerned about the future. “I don’t know how this epidemic will affect our spirits,” she said, adding she doesn’t want to go out to socialize or eat, even when the epidemic settles.

Sitting indoors, Arundhati heard the first continuous ambulance horn. The sound makes her feel helpless: “The situation makes me feel selfish because I just like to stay at home, the break with society”.

According to psychologist Gupta, patients suffering from trauma during this period also have symptoms of abdominal pain, headache or back pain.

“Psychological injuries can hardly go away soon. People will take a long time to overcome,” the expert said.

Mai Dung (According to the SCMP)


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