Abating Pandemic

INDIA’S daily Covid-19 tally has steadily come down since the peak of when the number was hovering close to 5 lakh a day. Now the number fluctuates between 20,000 to 25000. The total recorded Covid-19 cases in the country is around 3.38 crore, according to the union health ministry. The active cases have dwindled to 2,73,889, while the death toll climbed to 4,48,573 with 234 fresh fatalities in the last 24 hours. The pandemic since it began in India in April 2020 has taken a massive toll. In a non-peer-reviewed study, researchers from the United Kingdom have revealed that there might have been as many as 28 lakh-29 lakh “excess deaths” in India during the Covid pandemic from April 2020 to May 2021.

On a positive note, the vaccination is progressing well. According to the latest figures, the vaccination in India has gone past the 90 crore mark. In a bid to ramp up the pace of inoculation, the government in June introduced the 'new phase of universalization' of Covid-19 vaccination. Under this drive, the center is procuring and supplying free of cost 75 percent of the vaccines being produced by the vaccine manufacturers in the country to states and union territories.

That said, the government's effort should be to root out the pandemic in the country. And this will require not only observance of a Covid-appropriate behavior by the people but also strict enforcement of the Standard Operating Procedure by the government. At the same time, the vaccination needs to be speeded up.

The need for caution thus can’t be overemphasized. In Kashmir too where on the ground, the Covid protocols are observed in the breach. The situation has, more or less, gone back to square one. The people seem to have concluded once again that the pandemic is all but over. And which is not the case – albeit, the second Covid-19 wave may be waning. The government’s priority therefore should be to focus on vaccination. It is only when there is 100 percent vaccination that the pandemic could be effectively controlled.

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 the entire population to get a handle on the pandemic. Already, the positive impact of vaccinating around two-third of the country’s population is showing. The daily Covid infections have considerably reduced and become manageable.

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