If we don't mend our ways, the resurgent COVID wave will obliterate our health, jobs and lives
Just when the country had begun to heave a collective sigh of relief and think that we were going to beat Coronavirus, what with the caseloads going down exponentially and the vaccination drive running smoothly, India saw a sudden surge in infections in many States like Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. In fact, the spectre of a nationwide outbreak, or “second wave”, is looming large. Worryingly, India detected 35,871 cases of the virus on March 17, of which 23,179 cases (close to 65 per cent) were from Maharashtra. The number of active cases in India has increased to more than 2.52 lakh and at least 172 deaths were reported the same day, taking the toll to over 1.59 lakh. It is no wonder then that the Prime Minister (PM) saw it prudent to call a meeting of the Chief Ministers (CMs) to decide the new pandemic management strategy, wherein he stressed the need for checking the “emerging peak” of the contagion and speeding up the vaccination drive. He asked the CMs to follow the “test, track and treat mantra” and lamented the nearly 10 per cent vaccine wastage in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
Though it is fine that the nation’s leaders are brainstorming over the strategy to beat the contagion the second time around, it is time that the citizens snap out of the COVID fatigue that has set in and re-start following all the Corona protocols strictly. This is because no Government can beat a pandemic on its own; it needs the unquestioning cooperation of its citizens and their unflinching commitment to following all pandemic protocols. This is where we are lacking as people have all but given up wearing masks and are not observing social distancing or frequent sanitising and temperature checking. People must realise that even though we have the healthcare infrastructure, we cannot afford to opt for another hard, nationwide lockdown as our flailing economy will not be able to survive it. The middle class has almost exhausted all the savings and the poor had nothing to fall back upon in the first place. If the economy is closed down again, there will be crippling unemployment; we might witness the kind of food riots and looting that some European nations did and crime will rise in proportion to people’s desperation levels. So, it will be better if we take responsibility for our actions and lack of discipline.