THE ‘SECOND COMING’
The worst, it appears, is yet come. That’s in relation to the Chinese-induced Covid-19 that has turned life upside down for over a year in India, as also elsewhere. The daily infection count for the nation has crossed the one-lakh-mark, a grim reminder of the depth of the unfinished work even as the vaccination process has already covered large segments of the population.
National capital Delhi has come under night curfew from Tuesday just as the Maharashtra government girded up its loins to face the second surge of the pandemic in Mumbai and elsewhere with similar steps. Doctors say the viral strain in the Second Coming is capable of spreading faster than the first one. While many are managing to overcome the virus attack with simple doses of tablets, several of the infected are faced with serious problems like breathing difficulty, organ malfunctioning and other fatal complications. Worldwide, the US, Brazil and India remain the worst affected.
Notably, big cities like Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru and Delhi are bearing the brunt while the countryside and small towns are least affected. The scope for physical contacts is more in cities and the social distancing norm is more often than not flouted. Marriage events, where there are close-interactions, and the like are helping in the Covid spread mainly because the set norms are not being followed. By doing so, people are inviting harm to themselves. Proof is Bihar and UP, which are reporting larger numbers of daily infections; and this has a direct bearing on the failure on the part of the police in these states to enforce the social distancing, mask-wearing and hand-washing norms. The animal-like herding together of migrant workers in chawls in Mumbai and Pune, where the government cared little for them, proved to be the undoing for Maharashtra. Life in Mumbai remains largely paralysed for the past over a year and the government is more busy practising new “extortion” techniques as the case of an NCP minister there showed.
The Union health ministry stated on Tuesday that the next four weeks would be crucial in terms of containing the Covid-19 spread and stressed that people’s participation – meaning strict adherence to the health protocols – is of vital importance. It also stressed the tools to control the virus spread remained the same – vaccination, social distancing and wearing of masks in public places. The fact that the last 25 days saw a sharp rise in daily infection rate from just 20,000 to one lakh shows the seriousness of the problem at hand.