There is downward trend in fresh coronavirus infections in Jammu and Kashmir. It continues to inspire confidence that the pandemic is on the wane. The daily new cases are less than 100 for quite some time now. In fact, 1080 cases were reported this month and if compared to daily cases two months ago, it is far below and relaxing. The fatalities due to the virus are few compared to the end of the last year. Should this sharp decline continue for this month too, then it would be a truly favourable turn of events. However, there is need for pause and caution here. The covid-19 infections are increasing in some states like Maharashtra and Kerala. The Union health ministry earlier this week termed the situation in the two states as a “cause of concern.”
Kerala and Maharashtra respectively account for around 70% of the total active cases in the country. The spike has been attributed by experts to the resumption of trains, relaxation of curbs and the laxity in Covid-19-appropriate behaviour.
The increase in cases also coincides with the detection of the two mutations of the Sars-CoV-2 virus in the country. There are fears among few scientists that this can make vaccines less effective and trigger re-infections.
All three variants of the coronavirus— B.1.1.7, first discovered in the United Kingdom; B.1.351, dominant in South Africa; and P.1, from Brazil—have been found in India. These variants have caused a massive resurgence of cases globally. These mutations make the virus spread more readily. One of the positive aspects still remains that labs analysing variants since December have not indicated if these new variants have been found outside of those with a history of international travel. However, the administration’s message to not be complacent and continue to adhere to mask use is in the rights scientific spirit must continue to be listened and adhered to.
Also, an increase in cases in Maharashtra and Kerala generates fears that the pandemic may begin a much-feared second wave. This has been lent weight by Head of Chest Disease Hospital Dr Naved Nazir Shah who warned against second wave, saying indications in this regard have started to come.
Complacency now amid vaccine roll-out and with cases at the lowest ebb can undo months of progress and sacrifices made in the fight against the pestilence.