Cautious reduction

Cautious relief should mark the apparent retreat of the second surge of the coronavirus that brought the country to its knees since it began wreaking havoc. Hope for better days floats as the national daily Covid cases dipped by 25 per cent in 10 days, with Monday seeing less than three lakh new patients after the peak of 4.14 lakh on May 7 and daily recoveries continued to exceed daily cases for the sixth day. While the falling Covid curve in the past one week is encouraging, it only reinforces the importance of being continuously on alert, prepared and following pandemic-appropriate norms. Utmost care needs to be taken to ensure that the guard is not lowered. The gains of the restrictive measures imposed by most states over this period to check the onslaught of the ferocious contagion have begun to be visible and they must not be frittered away with the recklessness that marked the end of the first wave. For, even as we are still grappling with a huge caseload, the lull, expected soon, comes under the dark shadow of an ominous third wave.

Coronavirus has been seen to resurge repeatedly the world over. The unprecedented misery unleashed during the March-May period holds crucial lessons learnt the hard way. Given the constraints of our economic and medical infrastructure, a public health crisis is riddled with huge human and humanitarian costs — a fact sadly laid bare in the ongoing second Covid wave.

The only way to avoid a repeat is to keep potential super-spreader events locked down for an indefinite time. Mass religious, political and social gatherings should be a complete no-no. For the few numbers — 10 or so — allowed for these activities, a Covid-negative RT-PCR test should be mandatory. Government and private offices as also marketplaces need to work out staff/space decongestion plans for a long term. Meanwhile, even as the authorities strive to ramp up medical and vaccination infrastructures, the public must strictly follow the hand hygiene-mask-distancing regimen. Such measures should become a way of life for our own good.

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