Spit attacks seen in India, after Italy, Australia, UK report similar instances
Never has there been a bigger focus on hygiene than now. Habits that should have been the norm — like always coughing and sneezing in your elbow or a tissue, washing your hands regularly, respecting personal space (maintaining social distance) and not touching your face — are now being taught all over the world. As of now, it is our only defence against the 2019 novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which has spread to 178 countries.
But instead of adopting these measures, some people go to the other extreme - deliberately coughing and spitting on people. Back in the middle ages, spitting was an acceptable habit in society but now it largely seems like an action rooted in the dislike of another person, their supposed actions or even their race in this case. And it isn’t just an Indian problem - news of such behaviour is popping up from many developed countries like the US, England and Australia.
In Australia, it was reported that a woman who claimed to be on her way to get tested for COVID-19, spat on a police officer after being stopped for speeding. In America, there have been instances of Asian-Americans being bullied for their heritage in many ways, including being spit on. In England, a man spat on three police officers while claiming to have COVID-19. He has since pleaded guilty and been fined and jailed for his actions. There are many more such incidents occurring in different parts of the world.
In India, there have been reports of people from the North-East becoming the target of these racist attacks. In the capital city, a man allegedly spat paan on a Manipuri woman and called her ‘corona’. A case against the man has been registered by the Delhi police.
Spitting poses health risks such as an increased risk of infection. These days, everyone not self-isolating is already at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus. According to the NHS (National Health Service, UK), if you come in contact with someone’s spit, you should:
- Wash thoroughly with soap and running water.
- If your skin is broken at the area, encourage bleeding under running water.
- Wash your eyes, mouth and nose with cold water. Spit the water out.
- Consult with (in this case, call) your doctor and ask them for what to do next.
Conspiracy theories about the virus being a man-made weapon are only adding fuel to this fire. There is no evidence to back these theories and they’re only causing panic among populations that are already very scared.
The solution to this problem is in our very own hands, though. We can all do our bit by spreading correct information, challenging racist beliefs of people who are being misled by fake-news and speaking up when we come across someone who is spitting, coughing or sneezing openly in public spaces. People can be stubborn - but if we do our part, we may change the minds and habits of at least a few of them.
Remember that social distancing is the key to flattening the curve and hygiene practices are the need of the hour.
For more information, read our article on How COVID-19 spreads.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
Updated Date: Mar 31, 2020 15:32:56 IST
Tags : Coronavirus, Coronavirus India, Coronavirus News, Coronavirus Outbreak, Coronavirus Pandemic, COVID-19, Myupchar, NewsTracker, Novel Coronavirus, Spit Attack, Spitting, Spreading COVID-19, Spreading Infection
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