IN a sign that the third wave may not turn out to be so virulent after all, India on Tuesday witnessed a decline in fresh coronavirus cases, reporting 2.38 lakh new cases which is around 20,000 less than the day before. The total tally of Omicron cases rose to 8,891, marking an increase of 8.31 percent since Monday. So the Omicron threat remains. The high transmissibility of the virus could make things worse if the due precautions are not taken. With the cases shooting up, J&K has already imposed the weekend lockdown. Similarly, the governments in other parts of the country have taken swift measures to get a handle on the third wave. That is why despite the caseload of Covid infections witnessing a sharp spike in the recent past, the situation remains well under control. One reason for this is that while the case count has grown, hospitalizations have been minimal, so have been the fatalities. So, there has been no extra load on the hospitals, unlike the second wave which was virulent and led to thousands of deaths across the country. But this is no reason to let down the guard. The World Health Organization has already warned about the devastating potential of Omicron and the mutant is far from fading out anytime soon.
Be that as it may, the decline in numbers is a positive development. There is hope now that the daily caseload shows a progressive decline. But there is a need to be careful. Government should continue to invest in a world-class healthcare infrastructure to increase the capacity of the hospitals and the medical personnel to deal with the rise in numbers. At the same time, there is no scope for a lockdown, even if it is limited to weekend only. More so, at a time when the economy is just recovering from the terrible damage inflicted by the extended lockdowns over the last two years.
The solution is to upgrade healthcare, enforce strict adherence to SOPs in public and run an advertisement blitz to create more awareness about the contagion. Now the vaccination of the children is on the cards. Children have become a priority as there was apprehension that the third wave could affect the children the most. Besides, the vaccination is very critical if another year of schooling is not to be lost. Similarly, government is also planning booster doses for the elderly as some other countries have done. The US has already widened the scope of booster doses. India also needs to speed up this process. For now, however, the declining case count in the country is a good news and here’s hoping it continues to follow this trajectory.
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