By Aishanya Gupta, UG'24
The monsoon semester commenced on September 1st, 2022 with the full strength of the student body after almost two years. However, it brought with it extensive cases of fever, sniffling, coughing, sneezing, etc. Closely packed rooms, shared washroom facilities, and social events like the Clubs & Societies fest being executed in full swing – the college of late has been a bustling center of activity, but this has also led to what is jokingly being referred to as the “Freshers' Flu”. The infirmary observed most cases arising within the freshmen – the general understanding being homesickness, academic anxiety and a general displacement of habitual spaces break their nascent immunity and cause them to develop flu-like symptoms.
Even though COVID-19 cases remain low, there has been an escalation in the number of cases being reported under the tag of the ‘seasonal flu.’ This development within the student body comes without surprise – as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the influenza virus in North India peaks during the months of August and September. Some common symptoms that have been noticed among those on campus to have been diagnosed with seasonal flu are: congestion, body aches, sore throat, and a body temperature running higher than 100.4 F (or 37.8 C).
Bhaskar Mishra, Vice-President of Operations on campus, in a recent email to the student body emphasized the protocol following the surge of influenza cases: “If anyone exhibits Influenza-like illness, please report to the Infirmary, which is operational 24x7.”
The Infirmary, however, has been seemingly underperforming during this particular season with more and more students reporting dissatisfaction. As a result, the students that fell sick and came in for consultation have put forward a number of grievances against the facility – it was claustrophobic, overcrowded, and understaffed. Additionally, there was a lack of prescribed medicines (usually available under normal circumstances) at the Infirmary for the students to take. On a positive note, however, the students iterated that their experience with the doctors themselves was pleasant.
Academic setback is also a concern looming over those to have succumbed to the dreadful illness. A freshman who wishes to stay anonymous commented, “I wasn’t as concerned during the O-week but I’ve been forced to miss classes in the first week and I’m lagging behind already.” A UG-24 student between sniffles spoke of persistent fatigue and their inability to focus for an hour and a half on Macroeconomic Theory I.
In other news, face masks continue to remain an obsolete accessory regardless of the ongoing contagion. Frequent handwashing is a much-encouraged practice during this volatile period.