Go back to basic protocols of Covid-19

Ahead of the Covid-19 review meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and state chief ministers on Wednesday; India recorded 24,492 new infections, witnessing more than 20,000 cases in 24 hours for the sixth straight day. Maharashtra saw the highest daily cases at 15,051; Punjab 1,818 and Kerala 1,054.  What started as a bottoming out of the case trajectory in the second half of February has now become a steady stream of rising infections in the past week or so, pushing the pandemic back to a case rate last seen at the end of December. And while Maharashtra may be reporting the most number of cases right now, it’s not the only state that has seen a new wave. Out of India’s 20 most populous cases, 17 states and Union Territories have seen their trajectories rise significantly after bottoming out — this list includes Punjab, Delhi, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh. The second wave is here.  Total infections have reached 1,14,09,831 with toll touching 1,58,856 after 131 fatalities in a day.
The key question for all governments (states and Centre) is what can be done to fight the pandemic all over again? One of the most crucial elements that helped control the first wave was aggressive testing. In good signs, India had delivered 3.29 crore vaccine doses as of today and yesterday saw the highest single-day vaccinations with over 30 lakh doses administered.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has surpassed the unhappiness caused by the two World Wars. The phrase, World War, in fact, is more symbolic than literal. Unlike the World Wars in which the enemy was a visible presence, the ‘enemy’ during the pandemic is an invisible virus. This has caused much confusion. In some cases, people sanitizing where there is no virus and not protecting themselves adequately where there are significant threats. This has led to immense complications, further compounding the sufferings of people across the world. Just as important cities were targeted by aerial bombing during the war, this virus is concentrated in developed countries and big cities. The area of operation has shifted from the border right to the heart of the cities.
From September to November, nearly every state in the country worked at the peak of its testing capacity. Lately, though, testing has dropped significantly — the testing rate in the last week in India was 40% below peak capacity levels. Big congregations — political, religious, cultural, farmer protests, weddings, election rallies — all face risks of turning into super-spreading events. Authorities at all levels need to enforce limits on such gatherings. In good signs, India had delivered 3.29 crore vaccine doses as of today and yesterday saw the highest single-day vaccinations with over 30 lakh doses administered.
 

- Prabhakar Purandare

Other Editorials