Return of the call for the new normal Back on the Covid map

No doubt about it. This virus is wily, stubborn and it kills. In Manipur alone it has claimed over 2000 lives, especially during the second wave, and after a lapse of a little more than three months it has returned. At the moment, Manipur has three active cases and no one knows whether the infection will spiral, but one cannot forget the days when the State daily reported new infections in the three figure mark, at times even touching the four figure mark. Omicron XBB.1.16 is the latest variant of the virus and with cases rising in the country, there is every reason to believe that Manipur too may see a sharp spike in the number of new cases, if the past is anything to go by. At the moment, the new variant seems to be milder, given the fact that many do not need hospitalisation, if one goes by the reports coming in from across the country, but the people just cannot be too careful. It was for a reason why the Health Service issued an advisory for the people to follow in the face of the rising number of daily cases across the country and the detection of two (then) more here in Manipur. A reminder to all that the new normal is here to stay and the three months of no cases was more like a brief reprieve, a break from the virus ! In a way it is highly likely that people will now have to learn to live with the virus, much like the common cold or the seasonal flu, but what is a matter of greater concern is the highly contagious characteristic of the virus. Apart from the new normal what is important is vaccination, though it has not proved to be hundred percent foolproof against the virus. How it helps however lies in the fact that vaccination does go a long way in minimising the severity of the infection and this is a line which has been drawn from medical experts and comparative studies conducted by different agencies. The new normal coupled with vaccination then is the best option left before the people and it is always better to be on guard than to be caught on the wrong foot. Remember how the second wave of the virus caught everyone napping with so much severity. One also hopes that the Government has geared up to deal with any exigencies in the coming days.
At the moment everything seems totally normal, with no one really concerned or even remembering the havoc wreaked by the virus just a year back but remember how Manipur reacted when the first Covid case was detected on a young student on March 24, 2020. It was those days when local volunteers stepped out and imposed their own version of local curfew not allowing anyone to pass through their leikais or leiraks with some even going ahead and barricading the road. Stories of how health workers engaged with hospitals and health centres were eyed with suspicion and discouraged from returning home were news that made it to the daily newspapers published from Imphal. Even before the Nationwide lockdown was imposed, Imphal had already ordered the closure of Ima Keithel and the adjoining markets to dissuade people from congregating and transacting business. Those were again the days when face masks became a much sought after thing as well as hand sanitisers, prompting some enterprising individuals to manufacture hand sanitisers as well as face masks. The initial ‘panic’ however soon gave way to one of indifference with the people behaving as if everything is fine and information of so many being pulled up for moving around in public space without the mandatory face masks became somewhat routine. Recalling the past just to remind all that Manipur was not really a role model on how to tackle a pandemic on the scale of Covid. Now with the State having reported three more cases, after a lapse of more than three months and with cases rising across the country, one cannot be too careful. All must acknowledge the circumstances under which the State Health issued the advisory again this time. Stick to the new normal and get vaccinated is the call for all to follow.