Sunday, July 25, 2021

Get serious

It is apparent that we are back to square one in our fight against Covid-19. In fact, our state today is in a worse shape that it was last year. So while the Covid19 positive cases are rising alarmingly with each passing day, the coalescence of politics and complacency is only making things worse. In such a disturbing scenario, one question that stares in the face of both the government and the people is should we act promptly to plug the loopholes or watch all hell breaking loose in just a few days from now? What is it that brought us back to this point? Our state was, in the months of January and February, doing quite well. There weren’t many (in comparison to what we see today) positive cases of Covid-19 being reported. And it looked prima-facie that things were fairly under control. Things took an ugly turn only ever since the administration opened up the doors- without any restrictions whatsoever – to every activity, throwing the SOPs governing Covid-19 to the wind. While this was, unarguably, done to show that everything is under control, it came at a heavy price. Majority of people from Assam and West Bengal residing in Nagaland went to cast their votes in their home states, where mass election rallies were allowed as if we never had the Covid pandemic. Now they have returned without any screening and the consequence is that we are daily reporting over a hundred positive cases. The question is should we sit silently and watch all the hell breaking loose or act fast to plug things before it’s too late. We are running short of time. There are some things that must be done with a sense of both seriousness and urgency, beginning with imposing strict restrictions on incoming travelers to Nagaland. No traveler – even if a VIP – should be allowed into the state – either by road or by air – without a prior 24-hour valid RT-PCR negative report. Any traveler found testing positive should be urgently quarantined and isolated. The administration must stop all indoor gatherings, including meetings, conferences, etc. All educational institutions, including coaching & training centres should be closed, and asked to give online classes from home to ensure their safety and minimize indoor gatherings in their institutions. The government must also constitute a team of top doctors, including members from community medicine and epidemiology, to discuss an urgent roadmap on containing Covid-19 spread in the state. A cursory look at how all hell has broken loose in several Indian states should give us a clear idea on why we – the government as well as the people – must urgently do what we are supposed to do to contain the second Covid wave, which is not sparing the young, let alone the old and those with co-morbidities. Delhi and Mumbai are prime examples, where things have gone way beyond any control – where hospitals, including some reputed ones, are running short of beds and oxygen, where crematoriums and graveyards are running short of space to cremate or bury the dead, where even some of the best private health institutions have crumbled under the weight of inflow of Covid patients. And if Delhi or Mumbai like places can crumble, we can only imagine the fate of Nagaland if things are allowed to reach the point of mass hospitalization. Banking on a merely few ventilators and fewer beds in tertiary-care hospitals – coupled with terribly dismal facilities in peripheral hospitals – could be anything but sane. Any overconfidence, any politics, any complacency is going to cause a catastrophe that will be only next to impossible to control if things are allowed to go out of hand. Cases across our state are expected to rise considerably in the coming days, if mathematical models by top experts are anything to go by. This calls for sagacity, both urgent and serious, at both public and governmental levels. No hashtags, no cheerleading of babus, no tweets are going to stop the raging fires. Only wisdom and seriousness at all levels can!