The two diametrically opposite effects of coronavirus

Let’s take the example of India. When the virus reached India and the cases were rising, everyone was looking at how the governments of different states were handling the handful of cases. But as the cases rose, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that on Sunday, March 22, 2020, everyone would follow a citizen curfew and stay at home.

That was a rallying call for uniting the Indians and it worked. Very few people did not follow the curfew trying to be a rebel. We saw many photos of empty streets and cities that no one ever imagined would become so desolate.

Then a few days after the countrywide legal lockdown was announced, the PM requested another action by the citizens. He asked people to clap, ring metal bells or utensils at 5 PM to appreciate the efforts taken by the medical personnel on the frontlines of the battle against the virus. Millions of people who heard this request followed it and we again saw videos of unity. That indeed made us feel that we are not alone in this. It was like a call we give to our neighbours that we acknowledge their presence. In this case, Indians everywhere were acknowledging the efforts of doctors and medical service providers.

Those were some good examples of how the virus united an entire country to fight against it.

Then we saw some news where medical personnel, who were just doing their jobs and trying to help, were attacked by a mob for irrational reasons. The police had to step in and arrest some people. In other locations, the news reported that police were beaten up by mobs for just doing their jobs.

Those are sparks of unrest that may follow if the citizens are not governed properly. As long as the majority of people know the government is doing a good job, they will stay silent and cooperate. But once resources begin to run dry and people start panicking, we will see the opposite effect the virus can have on people.

We will see how the virus can divide a nation and set its people against each other.

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