Human Behaviour during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Observations from India

COVID-19 has changed the everyday life of the human being worldwide with an unprecedented threat. Although medical science has a crucial role in combatting the disease, concerted efforts incorporating the knowledge from social and behavioural sciences are also vital to mitigate the COVID-19 induced crisis. The actions of individuals, groups and the state play a significant role in alleviating the COVID-19 crisis. In this connection, we have analysed human behaviour from various contexts: individual, social, and policy-making levels. Evidence from news media, different blogs and published articles are analysed for this purpose. We have identified both positive and negative behaviours of a human being during this pandemic. On the positive side, we could see the sense of togetherness and building up solidarity. Some negative behaviours were also observed, where some people acted selfishly to maximise their utility without thinking about society. Such negative behaviour led to a ‘social dilemma’ state and created negative externalities to the community. The analysis suggests that selfless individual and collective behaviour will be an instrument for effective responses to combat the pandemic.