Reeling under the second wave
Lessons to be learnt
Already reeling under the second wave and with experts predicting that India will face a third wave, the next few or many months, even stretching into 2022, will be dicey. If the second wave of the virus is any indication, it can be taken that the third wave will see another mutated virus, different from the previous two and this means medical science may be hard pressed to come out with alternatives to the already existing vaccines. It is also clear that the virus has always managed to be one or two steps ahead of the human race and this is best exemplified by the fact that the world is yet to see a vaccine that offers hundred percent protection. The world therefore has to make do with whatever is available now. With the World Health Organisation confirming that the virus is air borne, a fresh approach to keep the virus at bay is what is needed. The World Health Organisation and the Indian Council of Medical Research must have already started working out on what to add to the existing three line prescriptions to the people-always wear a mask (now even inside one’s room), maintain social distancing of six feet or two metres and regularly wash one’s hands with soap and water or with a hand sanitiser. What next is food for thought, but whatever new steps WHO and the ICMR come out with, it should be binding on all, for what one is talking about here is human safety and nothing else. It is obvious that the virus in the second wave has turned out to be more deadly and more tricky, far more infectious and far more lethal, a point which has been demonstrated by the rapid rise in the number of new infections and deaths. How will its next avatar be like is the important question. The point is, even as the fight against the virus continues during this time of the second wave, one needs to study the likely shape that the virus will take in the third wave and ignoring this all important point can only be to the peril of the people and the country.
The devastation caused by the second wave should be enough lesson for all. The number of deaths is soaring. From a high of 20 deaths on two occasions, it has now risen to 23, as on May 19, 2021 here in Manipur and this is a cause of deep concern. Enough proof that the virus this time around is more lethal. Test, trace and treat are the three words that should guide all efforts to break the chain, but the question remains whether the new strain of the virus is able to dodge Covid tests, most particularly the accepted gold standard in testing, the RT-PCR model. Experts must have been studying this question, but it would help that much more if information on their findings may be publicised for public consumption. It will also help how the people may more effectively protect themselves in closed door settings, given that the virus is airborne. Perhaps a more detailed information may be made public on this point. The changing face of the virus, this is deeply worrying and if the virus can mutate to such an extent from the first wave, then one can imagine what shape and form it may take in the third wave when it comes. Not the time for anyone to let their guards down and this should mean that this is not the time to panic but to think and act rationally.