Jammu and Kashmir has crossed another grim milestone: Covid-19 cases have surpassed 13000 mark while deaths are fast inching towards 250. The cases almost doubled in a fortnight, so were the fatalities due to the microbe. Both centre and the J&K government were hoping that the lockdown alone will bring about success and win the battle against the raving virus. However, it did not happen. Almost two thousand cases were added in just a few days while more than 60 people succumbed to the virus in almost a week.
More than 500000 tests have been carried out in J&K so far. However, the increased high test positivity rate underscores the need to augment the number of daily tests. At the cost of repetition, delay in tracing, testing, and isolating the infected and their contacts only lead to an unimaginable spread of the microbe.
Beyond doubt, aggressive tracing and testing helped many countries across the globe and some Indian states reduce the surge. New York even showed that it is never too late to bend the curve. But for that, J&K needs to fight the virus rather than manage the data. Many districts have returned to the lockdown and it is synonymous with collective failures. New areas are getting affected, affecting the old and young, men and women, the rich and the poor alike. Amid the partial lockdown, life continues to be affected. All spheres of life have been impacted, be it economic, social interactions, education, and travel. While health infrastructure needs remain a concern, there is a need to act with responsibility by one and all. Testing has to get aggressive as the community transmission stage cannot be ruled out for now. This means that old protocols of limited contact tracing will not be enough in finding the infected. It also means the infection has spread far and wide. People have to be responsible and behave as demanded by the behavior of the virus which has been spreading with renewed vigour. The Government has called upon religious leaders to spread the message among the masses on wearing masks and religiously follow the washing etiquettes. The call needs to be responded and people on their own need to take the virus seriously. There is also a dire need for greater investments in district health infrastructure and personnel, medical equipment, more son in the rural public health care system.