Peddling numbers and talliesReduced to statistics

Numbers, statistics. This is what many or more than 90 percent of those who have passed away due to COVID-19 have been reduced to and this is one of the saddest parts. As a newspaper which is there to disseminate information to the people every morning, it is always with a heavy heart that the death toll is counted every single day, piecing together the words to make it into a readable news item to be presented to the readers the next morning. There is no thrill in reporting deaths, much less deaths and infected cases of this dimension and this is what all newspapers and news channels in Manipur have been doing for more than a year now. Suggestions have come in from well meaning friends and acquaintances not to highlight the number of deaths and infection and instead focus more on the recovered cases, and while this suggestion has been looked into seriously, reality says that this is something which can only be done when Manipur starts walking the road to recovery. If this is the pain and anguish that one feels in filing the story of the deaths and the infected from the figures that one receives from the Covid Control Room every evening, one can imagine the plight of those whose near and dear ones have passed away due to the virus. Imagine the situation, a state where one cannot pay one’s last respect. Where it is impossible for near and dear ones to come together and comfort the bereaved family members. Where there is no one on whose shoulder one can shed tears. These are situations which would have been unthinkable before the virus started running riots amongst the people, infecting at will and killing randomly but today this is the reality. A sad reality which everyone will have to come to terms with. 
Manipur has already logged 915 deaths due to Covid so far and it seems that the number will continue to climb. The reality is such that today it is no longer a question of whether any lives have been claimed by the virus but more a question of ‘how many dead today?’ In as much as death is inevitable and everyone will come face to face with it one day, it also stands that no one knows when death will come knocking at one’s door. And it is on this fundamental premise that fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, relatives and friends pin their hopes for a recovery till the last moment and this is something which family members of the 915 deceased must have experienced. No words enough to condole those who have been snatched away by the virus, but perhaps a lesson should be learnt from the pandemic for the betterment of mankind and the faster this is learnt the better it would be for everyone. With at least three studies predicting that the North East region of the country may become the hub of the virus, this is all the  more reason why everyone should be on their toes. The call for the new normal should be understood and appreciated and it should not take too much trouble for everyone to follow the three commandments, that is to frequently wash one’s hands with soap and water or with a hand sanitiser, maintain social distancing and stay away from crowds. Add getting oneself vaccinated when one’s turn comes and this is the least that one can do to keep the virus at bay.