West Bengal reported 639 Covid-19 cases and 12 related deaths on August 10. The numbers suggest that the situation is under control as the state has been reporting below 1000 daily infections for the past few weeks. However, the ground reality hints at the lax behaviour of the people who can overturn the progress made in the last few months.
People in Birbhum district, where only seven new cases were reported on Tuesday, are not following the Covid-19 protocols despite suffering two phases of the pandemic and months of lockdown. The markets in the district are buzzing with people who believe they are living in a pre-pandemic era with no respect for social distancing. Face masks are hanging over people’s chins as a formality.
The district administration has been monitoring the situation and hundreds of residents get fined every day, but people are just looking for different ways to escape the punishment.
The health experts say that people have still not realised the importance of facemasks and the pandemic cannot be eliminated without public cooperation.
“The problem cannot be solved until the general public realises how important it is to use masks now. It is important to know how and in what way to use the mask. The way many people use the mask shows that the nostrils are still exposed,” said Dr Mohit Saha, a doctor at Pearson Memorial Hospital in Visva Bharati University.
“Currently, the attitude of ordinary people towards wearing masks and cleaning their hands is just like wearing a helmet. Helmet bike riders are told to wear it for their safety. But in most cases, they wear it to avoid the police,” Dr Saha added.