Jammu and Kashmir continue to struggle with the rising number of covid-19 cases and deaths attributed to it. The number has fast approached 32000 with the death toll at more than 600. From the past many days now, on average 500 cases are added to the tally. It should be worrying for people as well as the administration especially when the number of tests conducted are not as much as it ought to have been. So far 855991 tests have been conducted in the J&K. Fortunately, the number of recoveries have grown substantially. As on August 22, the number of officially declared active cases stands 6975 among 31981 confirmed cases.
However, this hardly detracts from the challenge of the fast-spreading pestilence especially when many states and UTs in India are finding it difficult to stand up to contain it. Defeating the virus is obviously impossible till the time there is an effective and affordable vaccine or medicine to treat the disease. In other words, the contagion seems here to stay. While need for aggressing testing and contact tracing has been emphasized time and again, the lockdown strategy should be used sparingly as the situation over the past four months had underlined. The success of the lockdowns has been modest especially when the livelihood of people stands deeply affected. For lack of the survey as regards impact of the latest lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir, one cannot precisely say what is otherwise visible on the ground as some people struggle to even make both ends meet. The country’s economy has contacted, ranging from 14 to 26 percent, according to a rough estimate. The recent gradual unlocking of the economy has brought back some economic activity and beyond doubt, generous government support is needed to bring it back. While almost all sectors of the economy have been drastically affected, the frequent locking down, especially by some districts, does not help. It is true that the administration cannot allow the infection to spread as economy will continue to struggle as a consequence of it. Luckily there are some good vaccine candidates and fingers are crossed for their success very soon. Until the time affordable vaccine or medicine becomes reality, there is a need to create more awareness among the people and ensure people take preventive efforts including wearing mask and continue with social distancing and hand washing etiquettes. While there is need to encourage preventive measures, the lockdown has to be the last resort.