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COVID-19 is deadly – Indian community must be cautious

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January 2021

When the pandemic news first broke out in March 2020, Indian community members in Michigan took extreme caution to stay safe. Families stayed home and never let anybody in. COVID-19  protocols were followed strictly.  Nobody wanted to risk infection. Frontline workers worked long hours to save lives. They did their best to keep their near and dear safe by not socializing even in their own homes. Our community members completely avoided get-togethers.  Many did not touch a newspaper or mail. Following Government orders, religious places shut their doors. With schools closed, kids stayed home and relied on virtual communication gadgets and channels.  

Late Summer, Michigan’s infection rate declined for a few months and the State eased up on the restrictions previously introduced.  Restaurants started opening the doors. Temples started opening up with restrictions on attendance and participation. 

Unfortunately, late Fall, things changed dramatically.  Michigan’s infection rates have skyrocketed. Restrictions are back in place again.  The situation has not improved much at this time.

Social interactions here and India trips are a big part of our community. COVID completely took it away for many. With the onset of winter, outdoor activities ended leading to greater anxiety.  All these factors have culminated into intense anxiety and frustration. 

Here are incidents to learn from:
» Rajiv invited his parents from India to spend time with his family.  Rajiv’s parents were delighted to spend time with their two grand kids. After spending two weeks at home they decided to drive to Ohio to visit their relatives for a week. Being out and about exposed Rajiv to the virus. He tested positive after returning to Michigan. The entire family was in quarantine for two weeks. Rajiv’s wife also tested positive. At this time, the parents from India and kids are ok. Rajiv and his wife have not tested negative yet.  Not a good situation.

» During the Christmas Holidays Rupa invited her sister’s family from Charlotte, North Carolina to spend time at her home in Michigan.  Two couples and all four kids had a good time for a few days.  They also visited two other families in the area. Rupa’s sister tested positive two days after her return to Charlotte. Despite experiencing symptoms herself, Rupa decided to not get tested nor alert the two other families they visited.  She is recuperating and hoping that nobody else at home contracts COVID. 

» Some local temples announced COVID protocols but did not really adhere to it. Masks were not worn correctly.  Social distance was absent. Risk of exposure was high.

» There are other incidents where individuals were infected while shopping, dining at a restaurant and at work. Families in our community in Michigan have lost their loved ones to COVID recently and are silently grieving. 

Key points to note:
1. The virus does not discriminate. Your beloved son or daughter returning from college (or visiting friends) may be infected.  Follow COVID protocol. 
2. It is not disrespectful to talk to somebody with the mask on.
3. Spicy food does not build immunity against the virus.
4. Even going to a grocery store or gas station or meeting somebody who has done so, exposes you. Follow COVID protocols whenever you leave and return home.
5. NO get-togethers with friends and family until the pandemic ends  (hopefully soon).
6. Don’t travel unless you need to. Defer your India trips.  If your friend had a safe trip does not mean that you will.
7. If you believe that you are infected please get tested and alert people that have been  around you. 
8. Self-quarantine yourself for a week or longer if you traveled overseas.
9. Be patient and understanding of your family members. Especially kids.
10. Exercise, mediate, talk to people and learn a new skill. Seek counseling if you feel depressed.

Stay healthy and be considerate to others!  COVID could be deadly. Not worth the risk.
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