We're in the middle of a global pandemic which has already claimed the lives of millions around the world. But for some, this is just another opportunity to capitalise on.
Indian actor Parul Gulati recently decided to have a party with friends celebrating the birthday of her company, Nish Hair, which sells hair extensions. In photos that have gone viral on social media, Gulati can be seen posing with her friends and all of them appear to be donning PPE kits (Personal Protective Equipment) which is meant to offer protection from Covid-19. The PPE kits, it seems, had turned into a party theme.
Here's the thing. India is facing a massive shortage of PPE kits which are usually used by healthcare workers fighting the pandemic from the frontlines.
According to a survey, the supply of PPE kits in most hospitals around the country is either inadequate or unavailable. In the initial weeks of the pandemic, the government claimed that there was a shortage because PPE kits were imported. However, now apparently 4.5 million kits, which include googles N-95 masks, face shields and other protective equiment, are manufactured and distributed every day.
Yet, there are reports galore of how hospitals are being forced to reuse PPE kits or make their own from scratch due to shortage.
A few days ago, a report by Indian Express pointed out something rather alarming - crematorium workers in India who were in charge of burning bodies of Covid-19 patients, had not been provided with PPE kits. The report showed how workers in a crematorium in Vadodara had to work with disposable gloves, even while dealing with Covid-19 patients, because no PPE kits were available.
Given the dire circumstances, Gulati and her friends celebrating in PPE kits comes across as highly insensitive and to be slightly blunt, obnoxious.
Oh and did we mention, the women weren't wearing masks either. We can't help but wonder if the PPE kit, which could surely have been put to better use, will have its desired effect without a mask.
An Instagram user pointed out that this was "privilege", and we cannot help but agree. Celebrities, like Gulati, have a responsibility when it comes to posting on social media. Gulati has over 850K followers on Instagram, and for at least some of them, she is a style icon - meant to be revered and followed. The actor posing in PPE kits and partying sets a dangerous precedent for her followers.
India has crossed 20 lakh coronavirus cases. Although the country is easing lockdown restrictions, it is advisable to avoid activities that aren't essential. Case in point: parties. Especially parties without masks, since social distancing measures cannot be followed.