Festivals upon us: Prioritise precautions

Festivals upon us: Prioritise precautions
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Festivals upon us: Prioritise precautions

Highlights

The festival season is here. Of course, India celebrates one festival or the other throughout the year

The festival season is here. Of course, India celebrates one festival or the other throughout the year. In addition, we do have festivals particular to locals in several States. If some are celebrations of seasons, the others are mythologically linked and are marked by fervour and joy due to the 'triumph of good over evil' concept. However, this is also time for caution and much precaution. We have just witnessed COVID-19 in two phases and the third is knocking at our doors. We all know how COVID-19 spreads and also how it kills.

The virus does not seek us. We go all out seeking the virus and embrace it unmindful of the consequences. We do so in the name of socialising, weddings, birthday parties, get-togethers, religious gatherings and in the process of mirth-making. Being highly politicised, Indians also have a great excuse to spread COVID-19 – politics. Rallies, meetings, campaigns, protests, demonstrations and dharnas...anything and everything comes in handy for us to celebrate our irresponsibility.

Even Kerala, the most progressive and literate State, is reeling under a fresh bout of Coronavirus. The State is recording the highest cases on a daily basis in the country and yet it is not bothered to impose restrictions. Kerala also is allowing the virus to spread slowly outward. Some quarters are expressing concern over the festival season that it would spike the Coronavirus cases.

Experts have opined that the second wave had a higher mortality rate and put a huge pressure on the health system. And when it spread, it also affected people in regions where there was no obvious reason for its increase in the number of cases. So, even in the absence of any obvious reason for spread, we have to be watchful of subsequent waves, because viral infections such as COVID-19 often have multiple peaks and waves which may be of different severity, may be of different intensity, may be of different durations.

We cannot assume that there will not be another wave even under routine circumstances. Look at countries like Australia or New Zealand. Despite stringent measures, there have been waves out there. Let us remember that waves can happen till at least a substantial proportion of our population has been suitably made immune. But, our vaccination drive is progressing slow due to obvious reasons. We must not forget that anything which increases the likelihood of transmissibility, will increase the chances of a surge of infections. Given that this is an airborne infection, crowding will increase the likelihood of its transmission. So, why should we indulge in any activity where an environment conducive to spread is created?

Healthcare specialists are also asking people to 'behave' during the festival season by not indulging in overeating as diabetes is a proven factor that could endanger lives in the event of an infection. They are also appealing to the people not to fall prey to COVID-fatigue and become complacent. Explore alternative ways of social interaction through technology, they suggest. Do we agree? If one is vaccinated, it must also be understood that the vaccines don't give 100 per cent protection and there is still the risk of catching the infection.

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