The combat against the coronavirus continues to be a hydra-headed challenge. Even as the country is preparing to fully reopen educational institutes and hospitals, the fear of a resurgence of Covid-19 looms large. The sudden spike in the daily new cases reported in Punjab in the past week puts it on the list of top five states witnessing new infections. While Kerala and Maharashtra, accounting for about 75 per cent of the cases, remain the hotspots, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have also seen a surge. After making a downward trajectory since October, India’s Covid-19 curve is now moving northwards. Clearly, Covid protocol compliance fatigue has set in, leading to a slackening of efforts to keep the virus at bay. It is not yet time to be lax with the mask-hand hygiene-social distancing routine, as well as testing, subsequent isolation of positive cases and contact tracing.
Adding to the worry of the authorities is the detection of patients with strains of the virus believed to be more virulent — four with the South African variant, one with the Brazilian variant and close to 200 testing positive for the UK mutant strain till now. The danger of their spread cannot be ruled out even as surveillance to put a check on further transmission is on and scientists are testing vaccines for efficacy against these variants. The hurdle of vaccination hesitancy is yet to be surmounted. Doubts still float about effectiveness of Covishield and Covaxin in building immunity. Unless people queue up for the inoculation shots, the pandemic will continue to rage and ravage.
India doling out vaccine doses to various countries is a booster for its image in the comity of nations. Aligning itself with any unverified claims regarding the dreaded disease would only smear this image earned by our scientists and health workers, who raced against time to produce the vaccine. Emphasis has to be laid on the fact that Patanjali’s tablet Coronil has been cleared as just a ‘supporting measure’. Any attempt to project it as a cure must be strictly dealt with.