Long opposed to wearing a face mask in public, President Trump has said ‘he is all for masks’, this on a day the US hit a record high of 52,000 coronavirus cases. The surge has been blamed on the early and rather carefree reopening, ignoring the warnings of public health experts. A serious rethink is on in several parts of the country. Back home, Unlock 2.0 has resulted in the lifting of more restrictions and allowing more public activity. India’s Covid-19 count is mounting by the day, not coming down. The government’s primary consideration apparently is ensuring a push to economic pursuits, anything that can ease the pain of the millions pushed to the brink. It cannot be faulted for adopting the strategy. There is no other option.
Business and trade have to and must continue, so should family events that may be difficult to put off, but without compromising on precautions and the established SOPs. Any lapse on this count is a recipe for disaster. The death of the groom, who had symptoms of the disease at the time of the wedding in Bihar, and over 100 guests testing positive is a tragic sequence of completely avoidable events. The stark negligence on display should serve as a reminder. Self-restraint is a moral obligation, adhering to rules a sovereign duty, for your own health and of everyone around. Life as we know it has decided to take a break, a long one. Respect the changed situation. Normalcy will return, for sure, but in a new form. Respect that too. The onus lies squarely with each and everyone.
The period since mid-March has been particularly tough for those entrusted with the task of governance and physical and mental well-being. There is little likelihood of any reduction of the daily grind. Where we can help is by simply following what we have been asked to do: take precautions. And, crucially, to not make the pandemic an excuse to do what is not right, what is inhuman and undignified.