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'Caution fatigue' may lead to surge in coronavirus cases as people let guard down

BusinessToday.In     November 13, 2020

The relentless coronavirus with no end in sight has brewed a cocktail of fear and anxiety among people and now experts believe that people are dropping their guard against COVID-19 which they call "caution fatigue".

There are worrying signs that the resolve to continue adhering to the dos and don'ts of the times -- physical distancing, wearing masks and maintaining hygiene protocol - is flagging. This recklessness, more evident ahead of Diwali, may lead to a resurgence in novel coronavirus infections and stall the progress in curbing the disease, the experts said.

Prabhdeep Kaur, deputy director at Chennai's ICMR-National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE), told PTI, "Yes, people are definitely getting tired but unfortunately the virus is not,"  Although there is a decline in active cases and test positivity in India, a large proportion of the population is still susceptible to infection, she warned. There is a risk of resurgence unless people wear masks, maintain social distance and avoid gatherings.   

"The virus is here to stay and we have to adopt certain behavioural changes for the long term. If we become complacent, the virus will continue to spread and we may see a resurgence of cases," the epidemiologist said.

Initially when the lockdown was first announced in India in March, people were charged with energy to curb the spread of the virus and there was the desire to work towards flattening the coronavirus curve. However, with months passing by and the cases surging rapidly, people somehow lost the zeal to work towards that goal. They have grown complacent. Psychologist Shweta Sharma said people have already reached a higher stage of fear and anxiety in the pandemic and this is the reason for their "avoidance behaviour" as far as precautionary measures are concerned.  

According to the Health ministry on Friday, COVID-19 cases rose by 44,879 to take the count to 87.28 lakh while recoveries went up to 81.15 lakh. In Delhi, however, the cases continue to escalate with 7,053 cases and 104 fatalities recorded on Thursday.

Also read: Russia's Sputnik V to be cheaper than other vaccines; India to get priority: RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev

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