Projected figure of 25,000 by mid November
Scheduled by polls and fests
Positive cases likely to touch the 25,000 figure by mid-November and this should be taken as something more than a mere conjecture. A figure of 200 plus positive cases is the daily increase that Manipur has been witnessing for many days now and even as this commentary is being jotted down, the cumulative figure of positive cases stood at 13,793, as on October 13 and add another 200 cases or so for October 14 and Manipur would wake up to a total figure of over 14,000 cases on October 15. Given the sensitivity of the matter, no one has projected the number of deaths in the days to come, but significant to note that deaths have been reported regularly in the last many days, not in ones but in twos and threes and this is what is disturbing. Add the grim forecasts from many experts that with the onset of winter the virus that causes COVID-19 can only grow stronger and the situation is indeed worrisome. It was not for nothing why Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan gave the diplomatic ‘Likely’ answer when posed with the question, ’Will COVID-19 cases increase in India during winter’ on October 11. And in all probability winter is likely to be colder this year, thanks to the days of lockdown which meant a sharp reduction in smoke emission from motor vehicles. With different indicators pointing to more increase, more so when winter sets in, Manipur will need to fight the spread of the virus on many fronts keeping in mind not just the winter chill. The by election notifications for the five Assembly Constituencies have been issued and the two principal political parties, the BJP and the Congress will leave no stone unturned to put up a good show, which may be read as defeat the other. Campaigning will be intense, if not already intense in some of the five Assembly segments, and it would not be surprising to see the measures spelt out by WHO and ICMR to keep the virus at bay being hit for a big six, to borrow a cricketing parlance.
In the context of COVID-19, the coming by elections should also be seen beyond campaigning and voting day. Once the results are declared, one can expect victory rallies staged in different parts of the State and to be sure it will also have a reverberating effect on the other 8 Assembly seats which are currently lying vacant. Top the expected election masalas with the coming celebrations which have been lined up and Manipur may just have the near perfect script for the virus to breed and spread wide and far. Significant to note that after the elections, there is Durga Puja and like it or not this is one festival which is bound to attract a number of youngsters. Pandals may not be put up as in the previous years, but one can certainly expect more socialising. Come November and there is Diwali and Ningol Chakkouba. There can be a much more toned down celebration of the two festivals but still despite the COVID-19 pandemic one can expect shoppers coming out and making a beeline for the markets. December is obviously the month of Christmas eve and Christmas and just a week after Christmas there is the day to welcome in 2021. Many would be happy to bid adieu to 2020, the year of COVID-19 but in the excitement to ring in the New Year and new hope, opportunities will be given for the virus to spread. All these are just reminders to the people to be more responsible when they do go out to celebrate the coming festivals. Celebrate but do it with a sense of responsibility. 25,000 is the projected figure for mid-November and after that ? This is where the responsibility of all becomes important.