Bhubaneswar: As India fights against the second wave of Covid-19, many people across the country have fallen back on superstitions and are opting for a host of unproven and unconventional ways of treatment to survive the deadly virus.
With hospitals and clinics struggling to cope with the hundreds of thousands of new cases each day, the crisis has led many in India’s deeply close and religious society to either seek divine help or resort to alternative remedies based on pseudoscience, superstition or outright misinformation.
In such an instance, thousands of people lined up at Krishnapatnam town of Nellore in Andhra Pradesh to get herbal medicines for effective treatment of Covid-19. The herbal medicines are being distributed free of cost in the guise of Ayurvedic medicine for Covid cure for nearly a month before the district authorities issued orders to stop the distribution.
The treatment by one Bonigi Anandiah has also led to large gatherings (including Covid-19 patients) without following the pandemic protocol. Before the treatment was stopped by Andhra Pradesh government earlier this week, nearly 30,000-40,000 people used to gather at the distribution site every day. It has also drawn huge criticism from medical practitioners and rationalists. The alleged quack has been detained by the police and an ICMR team is testing the medicines in the laboratory.
“This kind of illegal practices are going on for ages in society. This is very dangerous and can really put people into trouble. I urge people to follow proper treatment methods to keep them safe from the pandemic,” said health expert Dr Sami Salim.
Not only Andhra Pradesh, superstitious practices are also found in several parts of Odisha to keep the virus in check.
Villagers in Bobaria under Koksara block in Kalahandi district are carrying the idol of the village Goddess to all the houses in the locality to keep people safe from the pandemic. Making things worse, they are not following Covid-19 guidelines like wearing masks and maintaining social distancing, which has made them vulnerable to the infection.
Villagers of Kaptipada in Mayurbhanj district are worshipping their village Goddess and performing various rituals to get rid of the virus.
“We have a strong belief that by worshipping the Goddess, the pandemic will not touch us. If our Goddess is satisfied, she will protect us from the virus and save the whole country as well,” said Simal Kisku, a villager.
Medical practitioners are upset by this propagation of scientifically untested remedies, particularly by locals, as they struggle against the pandemic. They fear that by resorting to these superstitions and flouting Covid-19 guidelines, positive cases will increase manifold and things will be out of control soon.