Easing Second Wave

THE number of Covid-19 infections in India is going down with every passing day. On Thursday, India recorded 54, 336 new coronavirus cases and 1,321 deaths. With this the active caseload has dropped to 6.27 lakh, a far cry from the above four lakh cases witnessed at the peak of the second Covid-19 wave.

Though a significant number of cases are still being witnessed in states like Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and West Bengal, the overall trend is downwards.

This has normalised the situation in the country. The strict lockdown that was in force in large parts of the country during March and April has been eased. Government is mulling further reopening of the economy, albeit, it will still take some time before return to normalcy.

It is expected that schools and colleges in the country may reopen soon. Educational institutions have been closed since March 2020 after a nationwide lockdown was imposed to contain the spread of the infection. Though offline classes were resumed for students of 10 and 12 for a short period early this year, the second wave forced a quick closure again.

Ditto for businesses. They could only reopen for a brief duration before being closed again. As a result, the economy has grievously suffered. In Kashmir, the impact has been most severe. The Valley suffered in two successive lockdowns – one imposed in the wake of revocation of Article 370 and another as a result of the outbreak of the Covid-19. According to the Valley’s business bodies, the lockdowns led to loss of over 50,000 crore rupees last year.

The reason for the nationwide drop in cases can be attributed to a blend of lockdown and vaccination. The centre has now set for itself the ambitious goal of vaccinating the entire country by the end of this year. So, the effort is to pace up the vaccination drive. However, it won’t be easy to accomplish the massive task. More so, with vaccines still in short supply.

Going forward, the government has to make a sparing use of lockdown, enforce Covid-appropriate behaviour and speed up the vaccination to ensure that the third Covid-19 wave doesn’t rear its head. Vaccination, however, will hold the key. The decreasing trend of the infections is a good news. The government should now build upon it by scaling up the production of vaccines.

Much is at stake in India. The economy that was battered last year can’t afford one more year of disruption. Already lakhs of people are jobless or have had their incomes truncated. There’s no other option but to vaccinate a critical mass of people to get a handle on the pandemic.

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