(Originally published on the Times of India web 'Rest in Pieces', March 24, 2020, 10:30 PM IST)
I always believed that the world is full of idiots.
Until Corona outbreak happened!
And suddenly, we discovered an absolutely new species of absurd muggings who we call “Covidiots.” Unfortunately a part of human race, they are as lethal as stupid.
Originally arrived as a Twitter hashtag, the term Covidiot has made its place in the Urban dictionary during Corona outbreak as “Someone who ignores the warnings regarding public health or safety or a person who hoards goods denying them from their neighbors.”
In times, when the entire world is united together in fighting the deadly Corona virus pandemic, standing in solidarity with each other, Covidiots stand out.
They are one in a million. Have you spotted them around?
This list could help.
1) You could find them chatting in a group on the street. It does not matter if people across nations get affected with the virus attack or there is a repeat advice from the authorities to stay indoors during lockdown, the Covidiots must defy the rules. It is extremely important that they gather on streets for chitchatting, clubbing, jogging, shopping, car-racing and at worst, beating utensils on the streets as if it was a war-cry march and not simply an appreciation for the healthcare workers and doctors. In case they were to remain locked-down at home like ordinary citizens, they fear our economy might go down, politics run wild and who knows, the earth collapse. They must, therefore, stand out and save us from perils.
2) You could find them hoarding up grocery stock from the market. The wise Covidiots seem to have received a gospel that since end of the world is arriving, they must play the Noah. They must consider their home an arc and hoard it up with every plausible grocery, not just for themselves but for their generations to come. Grains, toiletries, medicines, sanitisers, masks, makeup, perishable food – you name it and it will be right there – stocked in their refrigerator. One day, when the world will drown in Corona, Covidiots will be the only ones to see the new day surviving on their stocked supplies.
3) You could find them racing on roads during lockdown Find them racing their cars at high speed on the six lane expressway during lockdown period just because the roads will be unimaginably traffic-free! And as it is, better be killed in a car crash than by Corona. On your mark, get, set and go!
4) You could find them absorbed in forwarding unverified messages on social media Perhaps, the easiest way to spot Covidiots is tracking unverified social media forwards. Whether it is about unproven trivia like garlic prevents Corona, bathing in cow dung heals it, collective clapping breaks its membrane killing the beast, sun basking makes it evaporate — to criminally serious and fake messages like recommending a medicine or vaccine, Covidiots are the undisputed knight among keyboard warriors. At their best wit, they would be busy on whatsapp, facebook or youtube creating absurd content, fishing for a few hits, likes, views or comments and at their worst, they would not hesitate mongering fear.
5) You could spot them as an epicenter of a public debate on politics or religion In times, when the world is discussing on the best ways to fight the Corona battle with science, empathy, kindness, joys of giving and community support, Covidiots would most likely be raging their fists in public or on social media with debates on their preferred political or religious affiliation, either defending or demeaning their favorite. They fail to realize that we are all made of similar fabric, blood, bones, and sinews, that neither a deadly virus nor any medicine would ever differentiate between.
6) You could find them hiding their travel history Braggarts who used to boast about their visit to foreign lands and exotic cultures suddenly seem to have zipped their mouth regarding travel history to a Corona affected country despite statutory advises. At least not until flu symptoms throw up, by when they would have already affected a hundred others, forming an exponentially multipliable chain. But then, do Covidiots really care?
7) You could find them harassing doctors in the hospitals It is a Covidiot’s birth right to demand services from medical professionals at their own sweet will and fancy, sometimes harrowing doctors for a Corona test on random symptoms or sometimes demanding gluten-free food in the sensitive Covid-19 ward (unbelievably, insanely true!).
8) You could find them giving two hoots about seriousness of Corona “Oh come on! Corona is just a marketing propaganda by China and the US.” “Corona is a brand positioning strategy of pharmaceutical companies that sell sanitizers and masks” “Nothing will happen with lockdowns. Corona is just a product of fear mongering.” “Indians have the highest immunity to viruses, let alone Corona. We will beat it.” We wonder how do they come up with such funnily creative logics!
Take a moment. Look around. Find Covidiots. Spot and note them. In a few weeks, (hopefully) Corona will disappear from earth but they will still remain, having become deadlier than the virus itself. We would require each others’ support to deal with their maliciousness and foolery. So stay put!