Shortages all around have made the battle against the second wave of the pandemic an onerously uphill one. Whether it is essential pharma products like medical oxygen, remdesivir or other medicines, ventilators and other equipment, hospital beds, medical staff, ambulances or even cremation and burial spaces, as also the vaccine — all are rapidly falling short of supply. Few lessons seem to have been learnt from the first wave of Covid-19 that peaked in August-September. Rather than being prepared for a highly possible second surge — as was evident in many countries in the West — when the coronavirus curve went on a downward spiral in December-January, the authorities seem to have lulled themselves into believing that the worst was over.
The available resources are bursting at the seams as demand for them is skyrocketing amid a spike in the caseload. With the virus attacking more viciously, the country has been, unfortunately, caught on the back foot. Particularly so in the rural areas. The already strained healthcare structure is facing the heat from all possible corners. As the system scrambles to cope with the pressure, poor patients and their families’ struggles present heart-rending scenes as they attempt to draw urgently needed attention. Nothing depicts the gravity and horror of the prevailing situation more than fights for beds at almost every facility or the bodies of Covid-19 victims piling up in hospitals and crematoriums, as was reported in Chhattisgarh.
Hopefully, the string of measures to remedy the situation, though taken belatedly, will soon help control the devastation unleashed by the coronavirus. Even as the production and import of oxygen have been scaled up, the supply chain has been strengthened by roping in the Railways. Similarly, with the makers of remdesivir working overtime and the government banning its export, people will not have to buy the anti-viral drug on the black market at prohibitive costs. Equally important is to streamline the vaccination drive so as to ensure a steady flow of the doses.