During the overwhelming COVID-19 crisis, social media platforms have emerged as a glimmer of hope in people. When hospitals are struggling to maintain medical supplies and on the other side political leaders engage in the blame game, at times, several active users on social media have been sending out SOS calls using social media.
In India, the spread of Coronavirus is still showing no signs of declining. The resultant distress due to COVID-19 is visible across different social media platforms.
During the Coronavirus crisis, individuals, as well as healthcare centers, sent desperate calls for help on different social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Most of the people put on posts seeking beds, convalescent plasma, and oxygen. Many citizens including political leaders, actors, etc. have also responded to such calls to offer assistance. It includes IYC leader Srinivas BV, actor Bhumi Pednekar, and AAP MLA Dilip Pandey, among others who made efforts to provide assistance to Coronavirus patients.
Apart from political leaders and TV actors, several other individuals who are active on social media have also amplified messages and responded to calls for urgent help. On 17 April 2021 Noida-based social worker Kiran Verma told people by a post on his Twitter and Facebook that he owned “a humble Maruti Suzuki Esteem in good condition and completely sanitized”.
“If any person, (willing to donate blood or plasma) is finding it difficult to travel around NCR for blood donation. OR don’t have access to good food, I promise to drop you safe (with a smiling face) at a blood bank or provide food at your doorstep,” posted by Verma who is the founder of ‘Simply Blood’ blood donation initiative.
Similarly, a group on Twitter has started as the handler of @YuvaaVolunteers, which aims to provide assistance to needful people and also amplify emergency calls for help.
Hospitals in Delhi or other cities have also been regularly active on social media to seek urgent help to needful. Nowadays, emergency calls to hospitals have reduced. However, the time is over when hospitals are not being able to offer critical emergency support even if they have the availability of beds but not being able to provide the oxygen required to take care of a larger pool of patients.
Meanwhile, larger numbers of desperate people and patients continued to seek help through social media platforms. Thus, in the absence of proactive measures that help people to protect themselves from the pandemic crisis and maintain coordination between government agencies, people can use such platforms that will help them in continuing to be flooded by urgent needs and requests in the near future.