Since January, a lot of information has been received about COVID-19. Initially as articles by international media/ press, then whatsapp messages forwarded from supposed observers, to eventually instagram that's overrun with both memes and news about it.
Every now and then a bunch of information, is debunked and replaced with new information. Peoples behaviour has been changing accordingly.
First, people stopped buying China made goods afraid of contagion. Then we hear the virus only stayed alive on a surface for 12 hours. It has recently been revised as being active for up to 3 days on a surface, some materials being more conducive.
Then, people avoided travelling to Asian countries, deeming Europe a safer bet. Soon Italy's quarantine began and people were wary of travel out of the country. After the first reported case in India, travel has taken a backseat.
There was optimism about it not spreading in India with talk of the weather being too warm for the spread, but soon proven untrue. We took pride in not being huggers but forgot about open mouthed coughers and the sheer density in population. The government medical authority tweeted about a preventative ayurvedic medicine which eventually received much flak for being based in no facts.
Masks were sold out along with sanitisers and disinfectants and people began thronging to supermarkets to stock up for the unknown, when surprisingly, the government stepped up and started to educate the public. One such attempt was a pre recorded message that played before every time you tried to call a number. In two weeks, most states have begun asking people to stay home and isolate. The more affected states have threatened to quarantine people by force if they don't listen.
Most people have been cautious and are trying to adhere as best as they can.
I say most and as best because for the most part, people seem to believe in only some of the precautions necessary. Few examples:
1. Companies that refuse a "work from home" policy. They assure employees they can pre empt and avoid contagion among them.
2. Domestic help still widely employed. Most families have a cook, a maid and even a driver in their daily employment, who work at multiple house every day.
3.No play time restriction. While most young families are working from home and their kids have no school, they are ok sending them off to play with their friends as if it were summer break.
4.Privileged confidence? A lot of millenials from wealthier families continue to meet socially and not follow the isolation model as they don't feel they are at a risk.
5.Religious gatherings. A popular ceremony has been scheduled for the next month with an estimated attendance of 1 million people.
6.Low figures. There is much speculation on the accuracy of the figures disclosed by authorities considering the density of population. This leads to people believing its not all that threatening.
Trying to isolate and social distance might be all for naught if most people are ignoring the recommended models. Perhaps because things that are particular to india haven't been specified in guidelines as we receive from the west, people don't want to adhere to what should be common sense.