Behind the mask


The brutal disruption of the lives and livelihoods of millions of economically vulnerable citizens has been hard to ignore even from the comfortable social distance of our homes.

Picture for representation

There is as yet no cure for the COVID-19 virus, but in India and elsewhere, the only remedy has been the bitter medicine of a national lockdown. The brutal disruption of the lives and livelihoods of millions of economically vulnerable citizens has been hard to ignore even from the comfortable social distance of our homes.

Yet, beyond the distressing images of hardship and poverty, many other cruel consequences of this crisis are now emerging, the suffering of chronically ill non-COVID patients whose treatment is in limbo; the peril of vulnerable children in a world where priorities have changed; of women with no escape from physical and sexual abuse by their partners; the costs to people with mental health issues in a time of global paranoia.

And most tragically, perhaps, the trauma of those who lose loved ones but who are denied even the cold comfort of traditional rituals of parting. This is not, of course, a comprehensive record of the collateral costs of the pandemic, but it is a reminder of how much more needs to be done to flatten the curve of suffering.

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