COVID-19 cases are fast rising but there is an apparent cavalier shrug of the people.
The moot question is thus – Why there is a corresponding proclivity of people to be complacent or appear to be so with the rising cases of the disease compared to what the people were when there was no or a minuscule account of the disease?
There are some commentaries which attribute the people’s complacency on the COVID-19 issue to ‘Optimism Bias’.
“Optimism Bias (or the optimistic bias) is a cognitive bias that causes someone to believe that they themselves are less likely to experience a negative event,” Wikipedia explains, adding that it is also known as “unrealistic optimism or comparative optimism.”
Regarding the prevailing trends, as we go for a closer look at the situations, things indicate that there can be varied reasons for the observed cavalier attitude of the people. Aspects of familiarity, urgency, compulsion, insensitivity, etc., etc. can also be included for a deeper look, as much as we do care to rope in the aspect of ‘Optimism Bias’. We need to piece so many aspects together for larger commentaries as to why there is a certain degree of complacency or the apparent complacency of people as situations get tougher with time.
By observing the buzzing ‘busy-ness’ of people and their ‘businesses’ in the daily grind of the prevailing situation, compelling situations at home, personal and professional fronts drive the people outdoor to be ‘social public’. Once out ‘there’, they are asked to do their ‘normal’ jobs with ‘new normal’ rules. Since ‘habit is the second nature’, and as the people try to condition their ‘usual’ setups with ‘unusual’ working patterns under the buzzing competition and compulsion of meeting targets, the tendency of ‘usual’ people to take their usual path seems to take the better side of human nature.
On the aspect of ‘familiarity’, it is said that “familiarity breeds contempt”. According to author and ‘collegiate missionary’ Peter Krol, “Unexamined familiarity” will prevent people from looking at the Bible. He added that “such familiarity crowds out curiosity, [and] it imperceptibly stiffens necks, hardens hearts, and deafens ears.”
Have the people become too familiar with the COVID-19 issue that they are indifferent and hardened now?
Supposing, if a big war suddenly overwhelms or engulfs our towns, then for the next few days the streets are likely to look deserted and the whole town is likely to be overwhelmed by the war-ambience so that no common people will feel secure to venture out. However, if the same war persists for a longer period, long enough to transform the otherwise highly charged situation into boredom and monotony of the everyday violence, then the people may try to adjust and adapt themselves as they find their ways to ‘sustain life’. We have ample proof of such scenarios as journalists and other agencies present us from time to time how children can play in war-ravaged streets during the heights of prolonged wars. ‘Familiarity’ seems to have crowded out fear psychosis to a certain degree in such scenarios that people have a pinch of confidence to look for leisure.
Another reason for the complacency of the people on COVID-19 issue, especially in our areas, could be the absence of serious cases and fatality.
Lack of definite knowledge on COVID-19 by professionals and the corresponding inconsistency of guidelines seemed to have also played in.
All the above points are opinions and not confirmed or grounded information. Opinions also matter but it is always the fuller study that matters more to see opinions mature.
Witoubou Newmai is the editor of Newmai News Network. Views are personal.