A worrisome shadow of another covid-19 wave looms large. Scenes of reckless people lowering the guard and crowds thronging public and tourist places sans adherence to covid-19 appropriate behavior present ominous tidings.
As the tell-tale signs of concern are already manifesting, Home Secretary, Ajay Bhalla, in a letter to administration of all the states and UTs, has highlighted “blatant violation” in several parts of the country, especially in public transport and hill stations. He said massive crowds are also thronging the market places, violating norms of social distancing.
The reproductive factor, the number of people being infected by an infected person, has shown an upward curve. It had slipped to 0.78 during May 15-June 26 and has gone up to 0.88 (June 20-July 7). At the peak, the R factor in Maharashtra, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh had soared to over 2.5.
The administration must be wary of the ‘R’ factor as increase in it above 1.0 is an indicator of spread of covid-19.
As per scientists, it represents an important concept in epidemiology and is a crucial part of public health planning during an outbreak. Scientists use the ‘R’ factor to describe the intensity of an infectious disease outbreak. The ‘R’ factor estimates have been an important part of characterizing pandemics. The formal definition of a disease’s R factor is the number of cases, on average, an infected person will cause during their infectious period.
Therefore, it is important that there is adherence to COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) in all crowded places, such as shops, malls, markets, market complexes, weekly markets, restaurants and ‘mandis, bus stations, railway platforms, stations, public parks and gardens as well as at all areas identified as hotspots for transmission of COVID19 virus.
There is also need to continue COVID-19 testing renewed vigor as it is extremely essential for an early identification of cases and checking the virus spread.
There is a need to guard against complacency and laxity, which creeps in as positivity declines. Instead, during the periods of low positivity, efforts must be stepped up to prevent any probable future surge.
The government must focus on the five-fold strategy for effective management of COVID-19 i.e. test-track-treat-vaccinate and adhere to COVID-appropriate behavior.
The government must strictly comply with directions by the Home Secretary to regulate the crowded places and take necessary measures for management of COVID-19 . It is important that the gains made by the cumulative effect of lockdowns, vaccination and enforcement of the Covid protocol cannot be squandered.