Compared to the last, the third wave is less virulent. Hospitalization, as per the Union Health Ministry, has been significantly lower. Also deaths as attributed to the pathogen have been far less. Apart from bare minimal need for medical oxygen, the lesser deaths of people has been considerably reduced due to vaccinations.
This aspect of the wave, which according to officials is driven by the Omicron variant of the virus, stands reason that more people have been confined to homes despite symptoms in Jammu and Kashmir. This may in turn not give a true picture of the total cases in Jammu and Kashmir. However, numbers are not that important as long as there are lesser hospitalizations. The infected people have not overburdened the healthcare infrastructure unlike during the second wave. However, these are early days for the third wave. In overall context, the situation remains serious and it may get out of hand if the Standard Operating Procedures are not followed by the people and also not enforced strictly by the administration.
Overcoming the third wave, more so in the beginning of the year, is crucial for J&K on various counts, especially from an economic point of view. The administration has been forced by the larger numbers to go for lockdown, 64 hours every week till further orders for now. A prolonged wave could jeopardize yet another year of schooling. Vaccination remains the key along with testing. While more people need to be tested to get the real measure of the third wave, vaccination remains the key to prevent the pandemic from claiming precious lives. Many people are still to be vaccinated and during the current wave, they are most vulnerable. It is time that they too get their jab. Similarly elderly population and healthcare workers need booster doses and they should get it without wasting time.
As has been underlined by the Lieutenant Governor, the vaccination continues to be the most effective tool to fight pandemic. The focus must be to saturate precautionary doses to frontline workers and senior citizens.
Also there is need to increase testing in the areas where more cases are being reported to arrest the spread.
Also there is a need to reach out to the patients in home isolation and concerned health officials should ensure that their daily needs, medicines, etc are taken care of with full sensitivity.