COVID’S SECOND WAVE

There is both good news and bad news on the Covid Front as the nation – and the world – edges close to a one full-year period under the terrible impact of the Chinese-induced Covid-19 pandemic. Maharashtra has sounded an alert of a likely second wave of Covid spread in districts like Amaravati, Yavatmal and Akola on the eastern side of the state, while there is palpable relief for the past couple of months in the western sector including the principal mega cities like Mumbai and Pune.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has warned the affected regions that he would impose lockdown and curfew if need be to control the situation as the state has overall registered a 7000-strong daily infections in the past few days. Kerala in the south too is recording substantially high figures in recent times, but deaths linked to the pandemic are fewer across India. This is emboldening many to throw Covid regulations like wearing of masks, regular hand-wash and social distancing to the winds.

Maharashtra, the  worst-hit state since March last year, is a pointer to the danger that lies ahead for other states too if the regulations are not observed until the time the mass vaccination programme covers at least half the population. With health workers largely being drawn into the programme, the next stage is set to start with those above the age of 50. So far, there is no serious concern about the after-effects of the vaccination in any adverse manner. The few deaths of those who had taken the vaccination is under close scrutiny of the medical experts deputed by the vaccine manufacturers as also the Union Health ministry.

The Health Ministry too has sounded a word of caution that the Covid scenario is still not under control in at least five state/UTs. At the national level, nearly 14,000 cases are being reported daily and the active case load is of the order of nearly 1.50 lakh as on Sunday. Yet, the fact is also that three-quarters of the active cases are limited to Kerala and Maharashtra. Another worst-hit state, Delhi, is now reporting only about 150 cases a day and just 2 deaths as on Sunday. Mumbai too has been reporting low daily figures at around 800.

Notably, India’s national Covid tally so far stood at around 11 million, of which more than 97 per cent have recovered. The deaths were of the order of over 1,56,000 which is indeed a huge number. Hence there’s all the more reason why the vaccination programme must be carried forward with all seriousness.

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