From less than 9,000 Covid-19 patients recorded in a day in early February to an all-time high of over 1.15 lakh new infections on Wednesday, the upward spiral of the coronavirus has been unabated in India. And, worryingly, its onward march in this second surge is unrelenting and more ravaging. The state authorities and the public face the challenge of not only keeping the disease at bay but also battling the increase in the positivity and mortality rates in many parts, glaringly so in Maharashtra, Punjab and Chandigarh.
But what do state governments do as part of ‘stricter’ measures to check the sudden and steep spike in cases? In a copycat manner, one after the other, Maharashtra, Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi, Odisha, Rajasthan, Gujarat, have in the past few days been imposing night curfew or partial lockdowns and other mobility and travel restrictions. While it does give the impression of ‘action taken’, there is little evidence of such steps preventing the insidious coronavirus from halting its strike. But what it definitely does lead to is utter confusion as the Covid-weary public struggles to keep track of the who, where and when of the movement of goods, services and categories of people. That the curbs necessitate a dense list of dos and don’ts — marked by many exceptions and exemptions and a review of the evolving scenario — makes a further mockery of the exercise. Add to that the economic cost that a lockdown entails, the disaster just worsens.
Instead, the authorities would do well to concentrate their energies on tackling the virus with a potent tool: the vaccine. The inoculation drive must be ramped up to cover more people in a shorter time. More mobile camps must be taken to clusters of people like workplaces, marketplaces and community centres. Double it up with motivation drives to help overcome hesitancy for the immunity-boosting shots as also decrease vax wastage even as there is no relaxation in the test-trace-treat regime. At the same time, it is incumbent upon the people to avoid crowds and not be complacent about the mask-hygiene-distancing routine.
National Covid recovery rate drops to 89.51 per cent
Senator Todd Young, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations...