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  • Writer's pictureAkhil Kadidal

A Reluctant Populace

India is not only in denial about the spread of Covid-19 in its territory at the government level but there is decided reluctance among the common folks to get tested for the disease, even in densely populated areas where cases have been discovered.

Here, a young woman from a slum near a main thoroughfare flinches as a swab collector attempts to take a sample. She and many other had been forcibly brought forward for testing by police scouring the slum for subjects, after most of the residents had run away. In fact, the people drummed up by the police search were children.

They told me that most of their parents were either drunk or in-hiding, but that some of the women, working as maids, had left home early in the morning.

"There is fear in the certainty if one has the disease. But the greater fear is being sent to a hospital or a Covid Care center where they they would isolated for at least 10 days. People are not willing to endure 10 days of isolation which would prevent the spread to others," said a young municipal staff nurse managing the test site.

A little later I came across this construction worker (below) not wearing a mandatory face mask, but crowned with an uncharacteristic hat. As I stood sizing up this color character, he called out: "Chief, why don't you take my picture?"

I asked him why.

"Oh, for no particular reason," he said, which was strange because he never asked to see it afterwards.

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