With coronavirus cases on the rise, people are using social media sites as a urgent hotlines. Tens of thousands of people across the world are sending requests. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, all are flooded with ventilators, oxygen, ICU beds, and Remdesivir as hot topics. Users may also share their intensely personal tales of tragedy and agonising survival struggles with the relentless virus.
Across platforms, images of ambulances, patients’ names and clinics, and cremation pyres convey a feeling of despondency. On Sunday, there were over 27,000 posts on Facebook about #Remdesivir. The majority of these posts came from people in smaller cities like Patna, Indore, and Gorakhpur. Even the metro cities are not behind, citizens Delhi and Mumbai are having trouble finding oxygen cylinders and infection. People are not able to find the in-demand injection in their local pharmacies. Similarly, there were over 13k posts about Remdesivir requirement on Instagram, Facebook’s photo-sharing site.
People are vigorously putting stories on social media to help the needy.
Some of the tales are heartbreaking. Before sadly passing away, a journalist in Uttar Pradesh live-tweeted the dramatic drop in his oxygen levels on Twitter. One of his most recent images showed an oximeter on a finger with a reading of 31. A retired IAS official confirmed his death with a checking account. A consumer from Madhya Pradesh shared her struggle to find a bed for her mother, whose oxygen levels were rapidly deteriorating. Some consumers, with urgent requirements of drugs, tagged journalists and activists, seeking to meet the authorities and save their loved ones.
Users are sending requests for essential needs to battle the virus on instant messaging platforms. Mainly on Signal and WhatsApp, with plasma and Remdesivir leading the requests.
Also, Google Doc-based resource tools have also become very popular, particularly among the younger generation. Families of positive patients are using lists containing information on plasma centres, Remdesivir manufacturers, and hospitals with available beds as a last resort.
However, the crumbling health infrastructure is all across social media and it is so difficult to find who got the help and who was left behind. Yet there are stories of hope and positivity. People joining hands and helping each other in these unprecedented times are something to look up to.