Pandemic diseases have a tendency to re-emerge and spread anew, giving rise to a fresh wave of infection. This seems to be the case with the present pandemic when seemingly it is waning.
Although there is more clarity now about how to fight it than in the terrible early months, the damage could be minimized. The battle against the pathogen depends on choices people and the government make.
For people, this means a commitment to CAB including wearing face masks, washing hands and avoiding crowded places. For the administration, the key is building a robust testing, contact tracing and isolating regimen besides vaccination.
While countries like Israel and the US have started administering the third booster shot against the dominant delta variant, many people in this part of the globe are still struggling for first and second shots.
Himachal Pradesh has achieved 100 per cent vaccine coverage, while Chandigarh is aiming for full immunisation of adults in October. Currently, 100 per cent of its 18-plus population has received the first dose and 34 per cent both doses. Jammu and Kashmir has achieved 66%.
It is important to recall that while the pandemic is ebbing, medical experts continue to warn about the unpredictable ways of the virus. And, when India’s caseload began to dip late last year, they had urged people to not let their guard down. Unfortunately such warnings did not seem to have struck a chord for large sections as people seem impatient to return to normal social life.
The spurt in infections in several parts of India testifies to the perils of complacency. There are, however, ample reasons why the new wave of infections shouldn’t stoke pessimism. For one, much more is known about the virus in contemporary times than last year when governments across the globe were forced into one of the stringent lockdowns. Fortunately also, there hasn’t been an alarming surge in fatalities. The second wave may not be as severe as the initial one amid availability of the vaccine. There is, however, there is need for giving serious thought to opening up vaccination to all age groups in areas grappling with the current surge. One of the most crucial elements that helped control the prior wave was aggressive testing, contact tracing and treatment. All these efforts are worth it if another wave can be avoided or ameliorated.