For most of this month, Jammu and Kashmir has consistently witnessed higher number of daily confirmed COVID-19 infections. At the end of July, the number of cases stood at 20,359—recording addition of 10000 in 20 days. The cases had surpassed the 10,000-mark on July 11 and breached the grim milestone from 5000 in 27 days.
In the month of August, almost 18000 cases were added up at an average rate of nearly 600 daily to the surging tally which as per official date stands at 37698. The death toll crossed 700 mark, from379 by the end of July 31. Among those who fall victim to the virus, many were young of around 40 years of age.
The virus has also managed to infect people living in far off places such as Macchil and Gurez which is a pointer that it has now set deep roots within the Jammu and Kashmir.
The virus, in the absence of any effective vaccine or drug remains invincible hitherto which has contributed to the widespread adoption of face covers including masks and the vital role of maintaining hygiene and avoiding crowds. These are welcome behavioural changes that will serve well in the future especially at the times of seasonal outbreaks and epidemics of influenza etc.
The covid-19 has exposed various shortcomings in the health-care system, as the same stands pushed to its breaking point. It has also brought to fore ineffectiveness in augmenting the health infrastructure which can be gauged from the fact that the administration had to order home quarantining of the infected people which is in contrast to the fact that even contacts of the positive patients were isolated earlier when the numbers of few.
In other words, the pestilence has underlined the Jammu and Kashmir’s historical neglect of widespread affordable health care as well as the paucity of qualified personnel to treat the patients, mainly poor. The administration with the help of centre must take all the required steps to fix gaps in the healthcare system and put in place a stronger line of defence against future blights.
Apart from future needs, there are still various measures to be taken care of effectively particularly enhancing testing, strict enforcement of restrictions in containment zones, ramping up health infrastructure of immediate requirement, home isolation, and ensuring social distancing protocols to prevent the disease.
The people also need to be more careful especially those who in the words of Balram Bhargava, director-general of the Indian Council of Medical Research, are “less-cautious people who are not wearing masks are driving the pandemic.”