In the last 24 hours till 1700 hours on Friday, Jammu and Kashmir reported 166 fresh covid-19 cases, an increase of over 60 infections in the previous day. India’s total tally of cases also rose to 3,26,03,188 after the country recorded 44,658 new infections in a day. With the fresh spike, the total number of active cases now stands at 3,44,899. Comparatively though, there has been a decline in the number of the covid-19 cases in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere. It has led to false optimism that undermines effective use of non-pharmaceutical interventions such as masks and physical distancing.
The pandemic is far from over, with a potentially huge burden of mortality and morbidity to come unless public health measures are used and adhered to.
The prevention remains the best bet against the pathogen, combating which has become tougher because of the emergence of new strains of the disease.
The data from Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) reflects that delta mutant was responsible for 85 percent of covid-19 infections in Jammu and Kashmir recently.
The INSACOG collects a percentage of covid-19-positive samples for analysis from all States and of the nearly 50,000 samples analysed for their genetic composition, about two thirds were among the internationally classified Variant of Concern or Variant of Interest (VoC/VoI).
As per specialists the variant has a high transmissibility and has become the major circulating strain in the past four months.
In such a scenario, it is imperative that adherence to COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) is maintained in letter and spirit 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.
The government must continue to focus on the five-fold strategy for effective management of COVID-19 i.e. test-track-treat-vaccinate and adhere to COVID-appropriate behavior.
There is also a need for reiterating clear communication of the risks of COVID-19 to the people and unless that is done, stemming the pandemic will be impossible.
The government should also prepare and keep things ready to meet any emergency, especially providing hospitals with the necessary equipment in view of the prediction of another wave.
The covid-19 has taken a heavy toll in terms of lives and livelihood across the world. The administration and people must exhibit that the lessons have been learnt. Otherwise, it will be a matter of immense regret, more so for the government because it is tasked to protect lives and livelihood.