Get vaccinated now, don't repent later
Reading about Corona virus and its re-emergence on a week- end does not bring cheers to anyone. But then getting confined to the four walls of the...
Reading about Corona virus and its re-emergence on a week- end does not bring cheers to anyone. But then getting confined to the four walls of the house in the name of home quarantine or to be in hospital getting treated for Covid-19 too is not what one would like.
Hence its time we spare few minutes to think why we are once again facing the threat of a second wave? Why we Indians refuse to learn from experience? Why we don't respect the scientific temper and go in for vaccination? Why the political executive at the national level and those at the state level talk big but act low.
Last year has changed the world forever. From connecting to distancing, from the experiential to the virtual. As we move to the new normal it was expected that people would not forget the bitter experience, they had, but unfortunately for past few months people had become relaxed. They had started feeling that Corona has gone and they can go back to the practices of pre-Covid period.
They had stopped wearing masks and most of those who wore, kept it hanging around their necks. Physical distancing was forgotten, and the result now is that there has been a spike in Corona cases to the extent of about 66 per cent within one week.
The situation in Maharashtra asserted that the situation could be as 'severe' as the previous one if norms were not followed. Cases could spread even more rapidly if preventive steps were not adhered to. Remember pandemic is not over.
The re-emergence of Covid-19 cases has turned financial markets nervous, economists and brokerages are not that worried this time around but small and medium enterprises particularly those in the tourism and hospitality industry are nervous that this would further slowdown the recovery for these Covid-battered sectors and delay a full-blown economic recovery. Analysts say things are unlikely to become too bad, and the nation should be able to deal with it much better.
India's daily Covid count crossed the 60,000 mark for the first time since November 6. In such situation, human behaviour is a major factor. State and local governments, as well as individual people, differ in their response to the pandemic. Some follow Covid-19 precautions, such as social distancing, proper wearing of mask and hand washing. Others are not as prescriptive in requiring these measures or in restricting certain high risk activities.
In some cities, towns and communities, public places are closed or certain restrictions imposed in malls and other such public places while others are operating normally. Some government and community leaders encourage or even mandate mask wearing and physical distancing in public areas. Others say it is a matter of personal choice.
However, the relationship between those precautions and cases of Covid-19 is clear: Places where people live or work closely, big families where more than two generations live, people gathering indoors to eat, celebrate, party or follow certain religious practices or hold kitty parties and other forms of socialisation, cases are on the rise.
Hotels, nursing homes are also super spreaders. During the first wave of Corona, the government used to claim that more number of cases are getting reflected because of increased testing and every government patted its own back saying that they were doing the most wonderful job. But the same cannot be said now. The spike in coronavirus cases is not due to more testing. The actual number of people getting sick with the coronavirus is increasing.
With festivals of Holi and Mahakumbh in Haridwar round the corner and five states in the midst of poll process, surge in Covid-19 cases was but natural. People who had lowered the guard are now worried and keep asking will there be second lockdown?
Their concern is not about the health but it is more about wealth.
Even the cine industry is worried not about the welfare of those working in the industry but are concerned about the heavy financial losses the investors and the producers would suffer. But then they too lowered the guard and despite promising that all health protocols would be followed, nothing much is being done at the shooting spots.
State governments like Telangana have decided not to take any hasty decision. The Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao announced in the Assembly that though the second wave is firmly upon us there will be no lockdown under any circumstances since the state economy suffered a lot.
Experts point out that lockdowns will once again destroy livelihoods and squeeze the economy. Instead, they say, India must double down on genomic sequencing to spot new variants, the pace of vaccination must pick up, and Covid-19 precautions must continue apace.
Agreed that another lockdown is not desirable nor necessary at this point of time. But at the same time the government should at least take strict measures to enforce measures like physical distancing and wearing of masks.
All state-run transport buses are being operated without either the authorities or the passengers following any precautions. Street food joints are back into roaring business. When Covid-19 cases began to fall in early 2021, people began to feel like the pandemic was behind us and hospitals have almost closed down Covid centres.
This rise comes along with the presence of new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and scientists are still trying to figure out how these variants behave. If we can reduce the mobility and mingling, we can restrict SARS-CoV-2 virus and control the surge. Vaccines have come into the market. But instead of taking the jab, people are indulging more in endless discourse making use or shall we call it misuse of social media.
Curiosity is but natural for the public, especially with an unprecedented illness and its prevention. Nothing wrong in asking questions like, will the vaccine work, is it safe, when should I receive it, which one should I receive, can I choose not to be vaccinated, etc. This kind of a discussion has been there more on the electronic media and on social media like FB and WhatsApp groups.
The problem is we have any number of self-proclaimed experts who give shape to their fears and propagate wrong facts and spread misinformation. We also have a political executive which hardly takes any counter measures to nail such propaganda as they are more busy in elections and other such activities.
The self-proclaimed experts give lectures on so-called harmful effects of Covid-19 vaccination, irrespective of the clarifications given by the manufacturers and doctors. On the other hand, some claim one vaccine is better than the other due to various personalised and predetermined propaganda which makes the people think let's wait and watch. In the process they are watching the spread of virus.
We should understand that there is no point waiting.
Vaccines won't work unless we take them. Statistics indicate that so far only a little over 8 million people have taken both doses, which is 0.6 per cent of India's population. Further, 46.4 million people or 3.3 per cent of India's population have taken only one dose, which gives weak or no protection.
What is important is to motivate people to go in for vaccination. All organisations including those who have extended work from home facility should take up various methods to motivate their staff to get vaccinated showing videos of top executives getting vaccinated which can be a motivator for others at the company to do the same.
State governments should learn to be more practical and allocate funds to educational institutions to ensure that regular sanitisation of the class rooms and entire premises was done and facilities like hand wash were made available.
They too should take up awareness campaign through the children who could go back home and tell their parents to get vaccinated. Focus should be around getting everyone vaccinated. The prime responsibility now in on the political executive. Prime Minister down to the Mandal president.