Counting new cases everyday Third wave is on !

The virus has come back (not that it ever went away) and should grab the attention of everyone concerned, not because it is unique or unusual, but because it is something which everyone, particularly the State Government should have braced itself up for. The third wave is on and while the wave this time is understood to be riding on the Omicron variant, there is no certainty on whether the bulk of the new cases which have been detected here in Manipur are of the Omicron variant or the deadlier Delta variant. One has to wait for the genome sequencing results to come to a definitive answer but the wait may be longer, if report  that five laboratories equipped with undertaking the genome sequencing process have been shut across the country, is anything to go by. Whatever the case, the statistics should more than say that Now is the time to follow the SOPs spelt out by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and strongly advocated by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Look at the acutely disturbing statistics. Manipur scripted a sort of a new record on January 20 to post the single day highest spike of 448 in the year 2022, only to be bettered 24 hours later with the State recording 578 new cases. Not only is this a record in 2022, but this is the highest recorded after four months or so, that is after August of 2021. It is still not clear how many of the 448 and 578 new cases detected in the last 48 hours are of the Omicron variant, which though relatively milder is understood to be highly contagious, but remember Manipur is the first State in the entire North Eastern region to record the first Omicron case on December 27 last year. Till January 17, Manipur had logged 39 cases of the highly infectious variant. Milder, but when the infection rate is believed to be three/four times higher, then one can expect the immense strain that the health care system can be put under and while not all may need hospitalisation, it stands that infection by any variant of the coronavirus will need medical consultation and given the fact that majority of the households in Manipur are not suited for home isolation, the strain on the Community Care Centres and other health centres can be easily imagined. Another spell of lockdown has already been rejected by the Centre and the question that follows is what steps can one expect the State Government to take up now, before things blow out of proportion.
This is where the State Government would seriously need to take another hard, serious look at its order of January 20, wherein roster of opening shops has been done away with and all shops now allowed to open and extending the daily duration of time in which shops can remain open by two more hours, that is from 7 am to 5 pm daily, except on Sunday. Difficult to say why the State Government failed to decipher the readings on the wall before deciding to relax the norms for shops to open, but this is a sure sign of creating more room for people to come out and mingle. Will surely go against the grain and the present status of the spread of the virus. How about the people ? A look at any of the roads at Imphal on any given day will surely give one the impression that the virus has gone underground and there is no pandemic in Manipur. This is what is worrying and with election campaigning picking up pace across the different Assembly Constituencies, the call to avoid large gathering has remained just that, a call and nothing more. It stands that one cannot wish away the election campaign but people need to be extra careful in the face of the rapidly increasing cases of new infections. That the virus is still out there and infecting at will and at times even killing is something which should not be forgotten. One also hopes that the genome sequencing of the new cases are completed as soon as possible and the people kept informed for as stated earlier, keeping the people informed is one way of taking the fight to the virus.