The covid-19 numbers are unrelenting in Jammu and Kashmir. In the last three weeks alone, a whopping 12000 people have tested positive for the novel coronovirus. The numbers are staggering given the fact that these pertain to little over 662000 test results available in J&K having a population of over twelve million people. A number of those who were tested also include non-locals who arrive from across India for various vocations as well as those discharging services in various security establishments or other government departments. In other words, the numbers pertain to around six percent of people tested for the virus so far.
The precious lives claimed by the microbe are also increasing. From the first death due to the pestilence on March 26, the figure touched 100 in the next 97 days in J&K. It took only around a month for the casualty count to cross 400-mark.
There is also the possibility of a wider prevalence of the virus as indicated in serology surveys in some pockets of New Delhi and Mumbai recently. Amid this, the administration’s response to contain the virus spread has not been a pleasant mix as health-care professionals are experiencing fatigue due to overworking while the public is showing impatience as restrictions have been imposed and eased from time and again.
Many questions about covid-19 and its containment remain and will linger on until there is an effective vaccine or drug to overcome the virus. However, the experience from various countries globally and some states in the neighborhood show that certain measures are evidently helpful in managing the pandemic better and bringing the number of cases as well as deaths down. The government has announced curfew for a couple of days coinciding with the Article 370 revocation anniversary while there would be restrictions at least till August 8 across the valley including Srinagar, one of the worst covid-19 hit districts on account of both the number of cases and the deaths.
These few days should be utilized optimally. First of all, testing should be increased and made available as close to home as possible. For those infected to not step out of home is a far superior measure in preventing spread, compared to inadequate mask usage. While most cases turn out to be asymptomatic, wider and cheaper availability of testing must be a thrust area for the administration now. Early diagnosis of infections, even when asymptomatic, will go a long way in containment of the virus spread. When restrictions are eased, measures such as proper usage of masks and others should be ensured.