Rational safety measures and scaled up vaccinations can rein in COVID-19
The scientific view of pandemic fatigue is that people see the opportunity cost of prolonged adherence to demanding restrictions as too high, considering the value of things lost. That includes access to education, meeting with loved ones, performing life rituals, and the conflict of both work and home confined to the same space. This universal experience is made worse in India by deficits in housing, mobility options and good living conditions. It is important for the government, therefore, to come up with rational activity curbs, keep them stable and incentivise people, including through financial rewards. These initiatives can lower the perception of lost opportunities and compensate workers in the affected sectors such as the travel, food and hospitality industries. This road map can be reviewed when vaccines become widely available and cases decline, although a return to a carefree past is a long way off. Political communication on the state of the pandemic lacked a clear sense of purpose during festivals and poll campaigns. Now, the COVID-19 strategy can avert costly partial or full lockdowns only with public cooperation, and that calls for building credibility and trust.
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