Covid – 19 is spreading, and there is no cure to be seen in the foreseeable future. The global pandemic has shown to be mostly affecting the elderly, a mutual trend shared by all the countries affected by it.
China reported approximately 53% of infected cases who were 50 years and above, while deaths due to the Corona virus of 80+ year olds are at almost 15%. In Italy 37.3% are of the age category between 51 – 70 years. [www.worldometers.info & www.statista.com]. In Sri Lanka, approximately 45% of those tested positive of Covid – 19 are between the ages of 41 – 45, while around 16% are between 31 – 40 years.
While being comparatively safer from being infected, young people can be the biggest carriers of the virus, due to being more socially active. While a curfew, lockdown or imposing self-quarantine will have a big impact on reducing the spread of the virus, it is also understood that, especially in an economic state such as Sri Lanka, a complete lockdown is hard to contain. A fairly large population survive on daily wages and do not have access to other necessities that will help make self-quarantine easy.
How can we balance this situation? When the country is not under an official lockdown or curfew state, there are methods that can help social distancing. One major way would be to go online. Sri Lanka has many platforms that offer basic needs such as grocery, medicine, transport, banking, clothing and other services online. Unfortunately, most of the elderly population are not comfortable using these online channels. Despite most of them owning a mobile phone with a data connection, it is very much limited to making calls or sending messages, and browsing social media at the most.
Therefore, apart from being responsible about their social activities, how can the youth be of help in shielding the older people from being exposed to Covid – 19?
Getting the elderly to use digital platforms that will help them in their day to day work, will ensure that their daily routines are not halted completely, while keeping a safe distance from public places and limiting social interaction.
Use your time at home to initiate your parents, uncles, aunts and grandparents into the digital world. Help them download the different apps, and teach them how to navigate it step-by-step. After all, they would have taught you how to do the most basic of acts such as walking and eating. Take them through that first online purchase, or first banking transaction, so that they feel confident. Talk to them about the security measures they need to know when using online payment methods, and educate them on data protection. Show them how convenient it is, and the fact that it is the safer option than crowding at supermarkets and pharmacies.
E-commerce can play an important role in limiting the increase of infections such as Covid – 19. Therefore it is the responsibility of the young people, who are online masters, to introduce the more vulnerable to a safer option that will help them ease their daily lifestyle.