Over 76 thousand dead and climbing: Frightening figure

    07-Apr-2020
The figure is distressing. Over 76 thousand dead worldwide, with Italy leading the way with 16,523 followed closely by Spain with 13,798, the United States with 10,943 and France with 8911 as at 5.30 pm of April 7, 2020 and the figure is climbing with each passing hour. India too has joined the list though the figure so far, that is at least until 5.30 pm of April 7, 2020, is a conservative figure of 137 deaths and 4908 infected persons. The comparatively low figure of India should however not be any reason to let the guard down for it is only those who show symptoms who are being tested and there could be carriers of the virus amongst the asymptomatic people. The peak is yet to come, as many believe and there is every reason to believe this line of thought. The extremely low rate of testing, with only those who exhibit symptoms undergoing tests while there is no such arrangements to test the asymptomatic people, could be the reason for the comparatively low rate of infection. Once the test net is flung wider, there could be many more who may be detected as COVID-19 carriers and this is the scary reality. This however does not mean that one should press the alarm button, but care should be taken and the country should look for ways to see how to broaden the testing net. Test, trace and treat-this is the mantra to deal with the virus, as many medical practitioners have espoused. The only hitch is whether the country is well equipped to test all the people and trace the contacts any positive people may have had. This is about India as a whole, and the question that  arises is whether Manipur is ready to deal with the situation if there is a sudden spike in the number of positive cases. 
Fortunate that the first COVID-19 patient in the North East who incidentally is from Manipur has fully recovered and may be discharged from JNIMS any time soon. Again fortunate that none of her family members have been infected. Fortune is certainly on the side of Manipur, so far and the stress on so far should be understood. One also hopes that the second person to test positive for the virus recovers soon. There is however one disturbing question that needs to be raised here. The two persons arrived here at Imphal by air and this is where one may raise questions on the effectiveness of the screening process taken up at the airport here and in other cities of the country. A sure indication that more needs to be done at the airport to detect any suspect who may arrive here. The State Government is putting its best foot forward to effectively enforce the 21 days lockdown but at the same time it is disheartening to note that many continue to violate the lockdown decree and move about freely. The report that 1038 people along with 722 vehicles have been detained in a little over a day should tell the story of how people continue to cock a snook at the call of the Government to remain indoors, to break the chain. Let better sense prevail and let the count stop at 2 else the people may be said to be scripting a plot to roll out the red carpet for the virus to land here.