Sunday, July 14, 2024

Fresh alarm

As the new variant of the virus travels from one country to another, and has even reached India, there is a definite reason for us to worry. This sense of worry can be palpably felt around, as people have once again started talking about the problem. The optimism about next year being a near normal time to resume all economic and societal activities is on a hold, if not crumbling. God forbid, if the new variant goes out of control, and curbs are again needed to be put in place, there are very less chances of any economic revival that one would have expected in the next year. And that is really a bleak prospect. Indeed as if the devastation in the last almost two years wasn’t enough that we have another, and reportedly more dangerous, variant of this virus announcing its arrival at a full scale. Some months back when experts were warning us about a possible third wave we could sense it lurking behind us. But some time later, as the precautions were being taken and people were getting conscious about the threat of a third wave, we witnessed a significant dip in the cases. Then it looked like that we have stopped this third wave form rearing its head. Then came a time when people hardly followed any Covid protocols, and the impression was that the pandemic is finally a thing of past, and we are slowly coming out of it. The economic activities started happening in a normal mode. The other activities also followed a normal schedule. But suddenly for some days now, the new variant of this virus has caused another ripple of worry. Globally, governments are again preparing to fight the expected surge. Some of the countries have already started putting in place restrictions. Looking at the scenario it looks like a return of the dreadful virus. Expert inputs about how this virus is going to behave have caused added worry, as it seems that this particular variant is more tricky in certain respects. Now we are facing the same old dilemma. To avoid such a scenario, it is crucial for all of us to immediately turn on the safety mode. At an individual level we should curtail our physical integration, and stay away from all gatherings. Even we should avoid unnecessary interactions and use digital mode instead. To whatever extent we can avoid close contact with fellow humans; we can minimize the chances of a crisis. At the same time wearing a mask, when we move out should not be considered just a matter of protocol. It should not be thought of only as a healthcare imperative. Beyond this, we should consider it as an ethical obligation. By not wearing a mask, and by freely intermingling with other people, we multiply the chances of the spread of this disease. And it simply means that we are putting the lives of others to peril, beginning with one’s own family. The question is are we going to follow Covid protocols and minimize the dangers, or be ready for paying the price. We still have time on our side. Before it turns into a bigger crisis, we must renew our preparedness. We must wear a mask, maintain distance, and ensure hygiene. The crowded places need to be avoided, and unnecessary social interactions curtailed. For the concerned government agencies it is time to swiftly put all the things in place. In case there is an upsurge we should be able to manage it as quickly, and at as minimum costs of health and life, as is possible. Since we have been doing it for two years now, it should be more methodical, and more effective, this time around. Let us hope that there is no crisis, and this uptick in Covid cases is curtailed soon, but there is a need to be ready for any eventuality. At the same time, the government must enhance its sensitization campaign, while also putting in place necessary arrangements; just in case there is a surge.