Election during the pandemic Still infecting, killing

The election fever is on and not surprising for it is about sealing the fate of the land and the people for the next five years. The BJP has already set the ball rolling having got some of its senior members to come and campaign for the saffron party including Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. The Congress is not lagging behind either and has lined up some of its senior AICC leaders to come and campaign for the party, with Priyanka Gandhi having already conducted a virtual campaign. NPP National president Conrad Sangma was in town not so long back and Chief Minister of Nagaland Nephiu Rio is expected to arrive anytime now to campaign for the NPF candidates and so is National president of the JD (U) Nitish Kumar. All impressive and Manipur at the moment seems to be in the consciousness of all the biggies, the parties which have a presence in the consciousness of the people. All in line with the election being lined up on February 28 and March 5. At the other end, it should however not be forgotten that the virus is still out there infecting people and killing too. The daily addition of fresh cases has no doubt come down a lot and Manipur these days has to deal with a daily infection between the range of 100 and 200 and there is not much pressure on the two biggest Government hospitals in Manipur, the Imphal based RIMS and JNIMS. It should however not be forgotten that the virus continues to infect and with experts predicting that the coronavirus is not likely to disappear soon, people will need to come face to face with the reality, which is the call of the new normal. On the other hand, there may not be anything new in the call for the new normal, for the virus has been running amok among the people since 2020 and the conduct of the people should have adjusted to the call of always wearing a face mask while out in the public, maintaining social distancing and frequently washing one’s hands with soap and water or with a hand sanitiser. Add the call for everyone to get vaccinated and it should not be too difficult to adjust one’s conduct when one is out on the public sphere. With experts predicting that the world may see a new strain after Omicron and with the virus to be around for quite some more time, vaccination is the only answer, so goes the observation of the experts.
It is not only the two shot vaccination that has been recommended, with many more now calling for a booster shot for the eligible population. Precautionary shots, this is the term that has been preferred in India and this is where it is disturbing to note that even after nearly two years since the vaccine was rolled out, only 46.94 percent of the population have been fully vaccinated here in Manippur. And only 60.31 percent of the people have received their first dose. This figure is disturbing. The Sangai Express has already expressed its deep concern over the extremely low rate of vaccination in some of the hill districts and even today, Kangpokpi has not yet fully vaccinated more than 14.84 percent of its eligible population. Top this off with the statistics that only 22.06 percent of the population have received their first dose and truly the picture is grim. Ukhrul is no better off with just 20.71 percent of the eligible population having received the second jab and 33.30 percent the first shot. Something, somewhere is wrong, terribly wrong and the State Government should come to terms with this pathetic statistics and do something about it. Manipur has already seen the havoc that the Delta variant created during the second wave and surely one cannot be too careful. The election is no doubt crucial, but let people not forget that the virus is still out there and it continues to infect and kill as well.