Climbing cases despite restrictionsDisturbing figures

Sixty days of containment, curfew, restrictions or whatever name one gives it but there is certainly no sign in the spread of the virus slowing down. Cannot say the peak has been reached, for if that is the case then the State should have started seeing a downward curve in the spread of the virus. Looks more like a case of Manipur racing towards the peak and only then can one expect to see the downward trend. This is not to alarm anyone but stating the facts and numbers obviously do not lie. If June started off with 798 people testing positive for the coronavirus on the first day of the month, then June 29 has come very close to the high of 798 with 780 new cases detected in the last 24 hours. In fact, the month of June alone accounts for 18,510 cases out of the cumulative figure of 69,198 positive cases. In other words one solitary month is responsible for 26.75 percent of the total number of positive cases. This is not all. June alone accounted for 326 deaths reported in the State till the 29th and this works out to 28.85 percent of the total deaths recorded in the State till date. These are the absolute figures but the need to go beyond this and look at the positivity rate cannot be downplayed at all. From June 1 to June 29, the average positivity rate stands at 10.7 percent and this is a worrying figure by any stretch of the imagination. If Manipur stepped into the month of June with a positivity rate of 13.95 percent, then June 29 also recorded a high of 15.4 percent making it the day with the second highest positivity rate after June 21, when it was 15.54 percent. The disturbing figures have come about despite the restrictions, curfew or containment measures taken up by the Government since April 29. Clearly some things just do not add up and if after two months of restricting people’s movements and keeping the markets shut, Manipur continues to throw up such disturbing figure, then perhaps it is time for all concerned to take another fresh look at the measures that have been taken up so far.
These disturbing figures should not be lost when the Government sits down to discuss new regulations for July. It should also be noted that today the people testing positive no longer come with the tag ‘with or without travel history.’ In other words the virus is spreading from within and this brings to mind the community transmission stand of the Group of Doctors, which was very active in the first wave. The first step would be to admit that this is the reality now in Manipur, with no one really knowing from where and how one got infected. Coming back to the new regulations for July, it would do well for the Government and all concerned to acknowledge that Manipur is really not at the stage when opening up would be advisable. It would do good for all to remember the below 5 percent positivity rate mooted by the World Health Organisation to entertain any idea of opening up. As stated earlier, vaccination is the answer. The Government, responsible civil society organisations, student organisations and all concerned need to go on the offensive to convince the people that the only answer is vaccination, else the lockdown will continue and this cannot be good for anyone. On the other hand, the Government will also need to take a long, serious look at how judiciously is the line, ‘necessary measures like containment and contact tracing’ have been followed. Ask anyone who has recovered from the virus and one will get a fair idea of how judiciously is the much touted ‘contact tracing’ line being taken by the concerned.