Forum: Foolhardy optimism is dangerous during pandemic

In a photo from March 10, 2020, people wear masks as they cross the road in Singapore's Central Business District.
In a photo from March 10, 2020, people wear masks as they cross the road in Singapore's Central Business District.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Optimism is a double-edged sword in the current fight against Covid-19.

While optimism is a good coping mechanism amid this pandemic to reduce anxiety and provide individuals with a sense of control, it also makes them feel less at risk and believe that negative events happen only to others and not to themselves or a close contact.

Such individuals may be the ones putting others around them at risk, as they continue to engage in their usual routines and behaviours, not taking any of the recommended precautionary measures.

A person may not see the potential harm he is causing to other people with his own behaviour. If he does not think that he is a carrier of the virus, he may not think twice about interacting with others around him.

We can take an optimistic outlook amid this pandemic, but individuals should also adopt the recommended precautions by practising good personal hygiene, social responsibility and social distancing. Together, we can make the environment safe for everyone again.

Ng QianYi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2020, with the headline 'Foolhardy optimism is dangerous during pandemic'. Print Edition | Subscribe