Drawn into isolation – Lockdown diaries by Jai Thakur

As a part of my job responsibilities as an Analyst, I have been working on a few research white papers on "Risks and Impact of Coronavirus Globally in coming times".

As a part of my job responsibilities as an Analyst, I have been working on a few research white papers on “Risks and Impact of Coronavirus Globally in coming times”.

I started working on this project since January 2020 when COVID-19 was only affecting the people of China. The World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 as a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. Depending upon the several reports by consulting firms available said that COVID-19 will have a significant impact globally and there may be a chance of a recession in countries of South Asia, South America and some smaller European nations especially after post BREXIT laws/regulations. Other than these issues the citizens of the world will face challenges, especially related to mental health because of the chances of getting isolated if affected by a coronavirus in any way. Other issues may be related to cyber breaches, shortage of essential products, price hike, inflation, etc.

With all those findings, keeping in mind, I tried to give it a visual perceptive thereby mixing my full-time job learning/findings along with my personal conflicts within myself during COVID-19 nationwide lockdown. Through this self-portrait project, I want to highlight the issues that impacted me deeply in lockdown periods such as Mental stress, Anxiety, Financial Stress, Insomnia, Anger, Addiction to Phone, Loneliness to name a few.

Research from the Asian Journal of Psychiatric has tried to tie the relationship between social media usage and mental health conditions at this time of lockdown scenario, in which social media have become one of the major sources for updating information on COVID-19 for people. However, it’s irresponsible use poses the challenge of ‘infodemics’ i.e. a situation when ‘misinformation’ spreads rapidly, thereby affecting thinking and subsequent behaviour of people. WHO has cautioned people against social media rumours which lead to panic, stigma and irrational behaviour (2020). Research in the past has shown that compulsive usage of social media impacts physical and mental health, including cardio-metabolic health, sleep, affect, self-esteem, well-being and functioning, especially in adolescents (Turel et al., 2016; Cheng and Li, 2014; Van Rooij and Schoenmakers, 2013). In light of the present pandemic, mental health conditions are found to be associated with the amount of social media exposure.

For instance, a study during COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China, found the prevalence of depression, anxiety and a combination of depression and anxiety (CDA) to be 48 %, 23 % and 19 % respectively. Moreover, 82 % participants who were frequently exposed to social media reported high odds of anxiety as well as CDA (combination of depression and anxiety).

In Indian context, India had been going one of the worst phases of the financial crisis in its 72 years of history. India’s top three rating agencies like Fitch, Moody’s and S&P have already reduced India’s growth, GDP to the lowest marks much before Corona. Now, this Corona epidemic would have a long lasting & a frightening effect on the Indian Economy which might push India almost 70 years back similar to the portion era. The world’s biggest lockdown that shut a majority of the factories and businesses, suspended flights, stopped trains and restricted movement of vehicles and people. The world’s biggest lockdown may have cost the Indian economy Rs7-8 lakh crore during the 21-day period, analysts and industry bodies said. However, top government scientists said India can control the COVID-19 pandemic by early 2021 if everyone follows safety protocols.

About Jai Thakur

Jai Thakur is an Indian documentary photographer from New Delhi. The majority of his works revolve around the socio-economic environment of the society. Other than the number of group exhibitions, he is a recipient of various national and international awards, including Sahapedia Frames Grant, Water Hero Award by Govt. Of India and National Geographic’s MyIncredibleStory. His work has been published in multiple platforms like Dodho Magazine, National Geographic, HIPA. Ae, Indian Photo Arts Magazine, 121 Clicks, Photographers Forum’s Book, Edge of Humanity, Exposure, etc. He appeared in the MX Player Web series “Express Yourself” on River Conservation. As a day job, he works as a Business Research Analyst. [Official Website]

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