Each passing day, as the official data bear out, covid-19 is unfolding in its enormity as well as its cruelties across India. The country logged a record rise of 3,49,691 new infections and 2,767 fatalities during the last 24 hours, the health department said on Sunday. Jammu and Kashmir also recorded yet another grim milestone as the daily case tally mounted to 2381 while 21 persons succumbed to the virus on April 25.
The case tally has raced past to 160755 and fatality count to 2147 in J&K—814 in Jammu and 1333 Kashmir.
The raging crisis has amplified human suffering. Oxygen supplies remain preciously in high demand. Some UTs or States have been pushed to even use backup stocks while the country has been forced to get foreign help. As things unravel, Health institutions are running short of not just oxygen but also beds and even life-saving drugs. The laboratories, considered to be first line of response in a medical crisis, in some states have been equally overwhelmed with reports pouring in about the delay in diagnosis. The crises unfortunately are not restricted to health apparatus which is under unprecedented strain. The informal sector also presents a grim picture and calls for attention in equal proportion to that of health demands.
While the government of India in a welcome announcement made 5 kg free food grains to the poor for May and June under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), a lot more needs to be done. Poor people are in a lot of distress and covid-19 crisis has only exacerbated the situation for them. The government would fully know that providing just miniscule food grains will not be enough for the vulnerable across India. Health infrastructure is already consuming a lot of resources but the government is expected to keep focus on the vulnerable lot and provide them a basket of options to sustain themselves. The jobs have been lost and day by day earnings for the daily wagers have started to squeeze as governments including J&K have been forced to go for restrictions to contain the surging tally of covid-19. Some kind of assistance to the poor should be worked out soon to help them tide over the present crisis which, as the things stand, are only threatening to get worse. In wake of the intensity of the second wave, which shows no signs of relenting, the distress this year is going to be acute and the poor will need means to cope with the situation when income-generating opportunities are getting scarce for them with every passing day.