Dealing with figures and more figuresGrim positivity rate

    14-Jun-2021
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Figures, figures and more figures. This is what all the Imphal based newspaper houses must have been obsessed with ever since COVID-19 started spreading at will and taking lives. This is more so during the second wave of the pandemic which has proven to be much more lethal than the first and one wonders how the State would cope with the situation if and when the third wave hits Manipur. Situation is all that more frightening given that preliminary reports have come in that the highly infectious and lethal Delta variant, which is playing havoc with the lives of the people in the second wave, is suspected to have mutated to a more virulent and more lethal form called Delta+ or AY.1. For those engaged in the profession of disseminating information to the people every morning, this would obviously entail getting more fixated on numbers and figures and a closer study of the figures is what reflects the grim situation without any room for exaggeration or different interpretation. A look back at the daily figures from June 1 to June 13 should give all a fair idea on how far the virus has penetrated into the everyday lives of the people. From June 1 to June 13, the total number of infected positive cases stands at 8571. The number of people tested for the virus stood at 95,402 and what is worrying is the positivity rate which comes agonisingly close to the two double digit mark at 9.95 percent. This means that for every 100 person tested, 9.95 people have returned positive results which is way above the WHO stipulated figure of 5 percent, which has been designated as the figure when restrictions may be gradually lifted. In other words Manipur may just be standing at a crossroad where the road ahead does offer any scope for comfort.
On the other hand the number of deaths too has been rising in double digit for the last few days and there is no indication that it will stop. Already the death toll has touched 990 and if the present trend continues then it will pass the four figure mark in a day or two. This is not a comforting thought at all, but the reality it is and all need to come face to face with it. Naturally the question that may be raised is, what other steps are there for the Government to study to more effectively deal with the virus which has wreaked havoc everywhere ? Curfew, containment, lockdown, etc cannot go on indefinitely but what other steps are there that may be seriously studied ? Or better what more can be done by the Government to cope with the present condition ? No easy answer. However this should not mean that the Government can and should throw its hands up and remain content with the measures being taken up right now. Right time for the political class to remember that now is not the time to score political points but to come together and discuss ways to make the fight more effective. For this the Government may need to reach out to all political parties, without any prejudices. The others too should reciprocate similarly.