Social media, for the most part of its existence, has been labelled as gender insensitive and is known for abusive trolls and cyberbullying. But what came as a happy surprise was how the Indian Twitterati came together to fight the battle against the spread of Covid-19 in the past few days.
Users of the online micro-blogging platform rigorously shared information about ICU beds, oxygen cylinders, injections, food arrangements for patients in isolation, etc.
India reported as many as 2,59,170 fresh cases of the virus in the last 24 hours and the death toll reached 1,80,530 with additional 1,761 casualties on April 20. With active cases in the country crossing the 20-lakh mark, many states imposed night curfews, while Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a 6-day lockdown in the national capital.
Twitter warriors, in the meantime, tried their best to reach out to patients in need and disseminate correct information about medical precautions required at this hour.
Social media is, more often than not, blamed for hyping unnecessary fear and panic amongst people. But as the country slipped into the black hole called coronavirus, netizens became increasingly responsible. Several Twitter users offered their services to the needy and said they could get vegetables and grocery from the market for isolated/old patients living alone in the city.
People turned to social media when the national helpline number for covid-19 was unreachable.
Many doctors also gave free telephonic consultations to people who were too scared to step outside their home to receive any medical help. This included advice for both covid and non-covid affected patients.
Twitter also played a major role in uncovering the real on-ground concerns related to the rapid spread of the virus.
If you’re looking for a COVID-19 bed in #Goa please reach out to me. Have put across some contacts with hospital incharges, can help with real time information.
Please DM me on Twitter or reach out on IG (shrutichaturvedii) with patient name, number of family, area & issue.
— Shruti Chaturvedi (@adhicutting) April 19, 2021
On April 19, Delhi CM Kejriwal accepted that the Capital’s healthcare infrastructure was at the brink of collapse. Less than 100 ICU beds were available for patients when the lockdown was imposed in New Delhi.
Twitter users posted pictures of exhausted, overworked and exploited healthcare workers. They have also highlighted the plight of citizens outside hospitals pleading for medical assistance.
The over-crowding at burial grounds was also highlighted through social media.
The social media platform has truly emerged as the ‘voice of the voiceless’ as constant engagements on such posts via likes and retweets have often forced the local administration, media houses as well as politicians to take heed of the situation.
Covid resources – All over India
Share as much as u can!! https://t.co/sRpvc2s6l0
— check pinned for covid help 📌 (@Aditiitweets) April 18, 2021
Social media has not just been vocal about citizen needs but have acted with sincere empathy as well. People volunteered to prepare home-cooked food for recovering patients, talk to them over calls and make them feel normal.
Comedian Amit Tandon started an initiative online where he invited isolated covid patients to join him for a virtual interactive session for entertainment.
Such small initiatives have a huge impact on the lives of patients suffering from a disease they know little about. As doctors suggest, good mental health is the only path to quick recovery – social media warriors have helped people stay sane during such tough times and let us recognise their efforts.
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