The Role and Responsibilities of Youth During the Pandemic Covid-19

As the world is currently grappling with the unforgiving third wave of covid19, the claims of various strains being discovered in different parts of the world, it is high time that the youth set a precedent by showing off their potential and rendering some services in different walks of life. There are countless roles Pakistan’s youth can play during these challenging and unprecedented times.

To begin with, they must educate their families, friends and community members by disseminating authentic news online and offline. Unfortunately, as you might have seen that fake news spread like a wildfire in such desperate times, therefore people should show some maturity and be responsible. They need to verify every piece of news and information before sharing it with others. And most importantly they must be a source of calm, courage and fortitude during these hard times.

From the very outset of this pandemic, medical experts had warned the world that geriatrics or older people and immune-compromised community members would be at a higher or greater risk of developing severe symptoms and that there would be far fewer chances of recovering from the virus, in case they contact it, as compared to the young people. World Health Organization (WHO)back in April last year issued a report that warned in these words “Although all age groups are at risk of contracting Covid-19, older people face a significant risk of developing severe illness”. Thus, our youth must find opportunities to volunteer in their communities in this regard. They can help out vulnerable people by providing them with some services. For instance, they can pick up and drop groceries and medicines at their doorsteps out of goodwill.

On the other side, we all know the ever-present divide between the haves and have nots became more ostensible when the governments of developing countries decided to impose partial and complete lockdowns to contain the spread of coronavirus. Every time the lockdown is imposed, only the people belonging to the below-the-poverty line suffer the most. Most of them are daily wage earners and these lockdowns prove lethal to their survival as they are left with nothing. The World Bank had already predicted in the month of October last year that this pandemic would drag nearly 150 million people to extreme poverty in 2021. That prediction stands true today as the condition of the poor people is worse off. However, during the previous two waves, the youth have been very active in collecting donations to help keep many people’s stove burning. This time again, as the situation is grave now, they can help many families by reaching out to them.

Besides other things, this pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the mental health of people belonging to all age groups. It has been observed that depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide have increased manifold during recent times. Intermittent lockdowns have been nothing less than nightmares for people. According to a BBC  survey, last year that interviewed over 3000 people in London and it showed an 8 to 10 percent increase in suicidal thoughts among the people. The situation has not been very different in our country ever since as well. Though we lack the statistical data as such authentic surveys are hardly conducted in our country.

The best possible way to alleviate such feelings is to reach out to people who possess positive ideas. People can easily connect with each other using digital apps. Second, reading helps a great deal in refreshing one’s mood. I have personally experienced this thing that developing the habit of reading gives a person a permanent respite from such horrific thoughts. Highs and lows are a part of life and during this pandemic, people have found themselves somehow down in the emotional aspect of life. What our youth can do is, they ought to read stories brimming with the elements of hope and happiness and encourage their family members and kith and kin to follow suit. People are free to read in any language they comprehend. That will help a good deal, I believe!

   “There are many little ways to enlarge your world. Love of books is the best of all.”

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Finally, although young people are comparatively less susceptible to this life-threatening virus, yet they can be asymptomatic carriers. That means they may risk the lives of people they interact with on regular basis. Therefore, it is equally incumbent on them as well to follow all Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) which include washing and sanitizing hands many times a day, covering their faces with masks and practising social distancing. This may go a long way in saving countless lives. The trials and tribulations are not going to linger for long. We will soon be enjoying the pre-pandemic life of normalcy and prosperity and will be taking great strides in all walks of life as we are a resilient, vibrant and promising nation.

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