Crossing milestone of 50 thousandWhat stage is Manipur in ?
On May 31, 2021, Manipur crossed the grim milestone of 50 thousand cases and perhaps the time is opportune to raise the question of whether any lesson has been learnt from the first wave of the epidemic back in 2020 or whether it is more about day to day reaction to the unfolding scenario. The answer obviously lies with the Government but surely there must be stages in the spread of the disease, which no one at the moment seems to be bothered much less talk about. Has Manipur reached and passed the stage of community transmission, a term which was very much in vogue during the first wave of the virus, but is no longer current today. And surely there must be ways of meeting the challenge once it is acknowledged that there is indeed community transmission or should it entail the same approach ? Only the experts will know this, but a look at the manner in which the infection has been surging with nothing much said about contact tracing should tell its own story. It was back in August and again in October 2020 that the Group of Eight Doctors, of which the late Dr Th Suresh was an active member, had reiterated that Manipur had entered the stage of community transmission. A stage wherein it is broadly understood that no one knows from where the positive person got infected. Manipur seems to be at that stage and this is perhaps best explained when information is sought from anyone who has recovered from the virus. Asymptomatic individuals. The most potent ‘agent’ to carry and spread the virus, and here it does not need rocket science technology to explain this observation. No one would go near or physically communicate with a person with the symptoms or who has been declared positive, but the same cannot be said about a person who may be carrying the virus but has not shown any symptoms and hence is not kept at arm’s length. This is where the magic of the three words Test, Trace and Treat lies.
Again the wisdom behind the call for everyone to always wear a mask while stepping out and even inside one’s own house, the call to maintain social distancing and to frequently wash one’s hands with soap and water or with a hand sanitiser should be understood in the backdrop of the emerging truth that the virus spreads from the asymptomatic persons. One does not need rocket science technology to understand this, but unfortunately to many here, this just does not register in their consciousness and the refusal to acknowledge this is best reflected in the number of people pulled up daily for violating the SOPs issued by the State Government. The report that four persons who were pulled up for violating the SOPs were found positive after they were subjected to random testing should tell a very disturbing story. How many others did the four come into contact with before they were pulled up ? Testing their immediate family members would not be a problem but it is establishing the contacts beyond the family that may prove to be more tricky. How many would willingly come forward and undergo the necessary test ? It is going to be a long fight, and this is where people should learn they too have a responsibility and the Government too need to spell out at what stage of the transmission Manipur is in currently.