Growing number of positive cases : Need to look days hence
Situation demands that the State Government should work out the probable number of COVID-19 positive persons that Manipur may see in the next two/three months, given the reality. Law of probability and obviously any calculation along this line would have to be worked out vis-a-vis the number of returnees that Manipur has seen so far and expects to see in the coming days. This observation is made in the backdrop of the fact that all the 24 active COVID-19 positive persons have come from outside Manipur in the last couple of days. So from a total of about 12,530 persons who have returned to Manipur, by road and train, 24 have tested positive. The others are still in quarantine centres and it would not be wrong to suspect that more such positive cases may come from amongst the returnees. More are also lined up and many of them would be coming from regions which have been tagged as red zones or orange zones. The comforting thought is the fact that community transmission has not yet started but there is no guarantee that cluster transmission has not begun, for remember all 12530 people returned together in batches either by bus or train and this is the reason why the State cannot afford to let its guards down. 24 positive persons in a place with about 30 lakh people may not count for much for it is only about .0008 percent of the total population. But none should forget that the chain of infection rate cannot be understood through simple arithmetic multiplication. Perhaps this is the novelty in the spread of COVID-19 and why utmost care needs to be taken.
At the moment, Churachandpur district is the capital of COVID-19 in Manipur accounting for 16 out of the total active 24 positive cases. Not necessary that it will remain like this, and all efforts must be invested to ensure that the 16 cases do not lead to community transmission. This calls for the joint efforts of all, the Government, the district administration and the people themselves. At the moment, the attention of the Government should be to ensure that infection from those who come back does not spread to others. The returnees and parents and elders of the young people who return should realise the gravity of the situation and abide by the directives given by the Government and the needed protocols, which are issued from time to time. The Government should also gear up on how to deal with more such cases as more and more people return home. The question is whether Manipur is primed to meet the challenges ahead. At the moment, there are 80 beds reserved for COVID-19 patients, 40 each at RIMS and JNIMS. The important question is whether these beds would be enough if and when Manipur sees a sharp spike in the number of positive people. Apart from the 80 beds reserved for COVID-19 patients, there are 20 beds together in the ICUs of the two hospitals and 7 beds at JNIMS, 28 at RIMS and 10 at the District Hospital of Churachandpur in the Intermediate Ward. Will the present set up be able to deal with any situation that may arise in the coming days ? Now is the time for the Government to gear up and roughly work out how many positive cases Manipur may expect to see in the coming days. This would be the realistic way of going about in dealing with the situation.