J&K has more covid-19 cases than 19 other states and UTs in India. Among the UTs, J&K has second largest number of covid-19 cases after New Delhi. Neighboring states like Punjab have 8511 and Himachal Pradesh 1309 as per the data revealed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Government of India. So far there are around 11.5K cases in J&K while deaths have crossed 200 mark; more than one hundred fatalities were recorded in last fortnight alone. The Valley reported first covid-19 death on March 26 and since then not only have fatalities increased, the number of cases surged manifold. Experts have blamed complacency on part of the people after the government decided to unlock the economy.
True opening up of the tanking economy which threw thousands of people either out of their jobs or severely impacted their livelihood was necessary but the government was required to ensure that people take all the precautions while going about their business. Due protocols need to be put in place for every business and masks were to be made mandatory.
Experts had warned about the spike in cases in consonance with the surge in cases across India. The poor adherence to infection control practices by people remained largely responsible for the rise in numbers, experts said.
The complacency was also driven by people’s belief that the virus was feeble and the advisories were inane amid the fact that most young covid-19 patients got well and returned home.
COVID19, as per health department advisories, can prove lethal to people aged over 60, pregnant women, those with hypertension, diabetes and other comorbid conditions. The surge in the cases has resulted in the return to lockdown in several places including Srinagar and comes days after 239 scientists from 32 countries wrote a letter to World Health Organization that there is evidence that novel coronavirus in smaller particles in the air can infect people. They have called for the WHO to revise recommendations. According to existing evidence, the coronavirus disease chiefly spreads from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are expelled when a person with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, or speaks. But if the virus remains airborne, it should be a cause of serious concern. This makes the pandemic deadlier than any other in the past. Now that lockdown has been resorted to again, the administration must start an aggressive campaign backed by strict enforcement urging people to exercise all the necessary precautions to ensure the virus doesn’t spread. There is also a need to be prepared and augment the healthcare infrastructure of emergent nature.