Early Warning Signs of Virus Surge! is It the Lull Before the Storm?

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  • Going by the look of things, the Indian citizens across the country appear to be of the firm belief that the threats of the novel coronavirus striking with vengeance do not bother them at all. Ever since the festive season commenced a couple of months ago, there have been no concerted efforts observed in diligently following the covid appropriate behavior. As the long-stalled economic activities were finally allowed to resume without any restrictions, the movement of people to has increased manifolds leading to crowding which has raised the hackles of the medical experts.

PC: Ebuka Onyeji

  • None would question the inevitability of resuming economic activities, but people conveniently choosing to let go of covid precautions will be a matter of grave concern. Quite annoyingly, the vaccination drive is not picking up pace as was witnessed spectacularly in September reaching tremendous scales. Inexplicably, the most critical preemptive measure like testing has come down drastically too over the last few weeks. The 3Ts like the test, trace, and treat are inviolable and here, some of the states are found wanting in adhering to the same for reasons best known to them. Call it complacency or simply not wanting to pursue the cumbersome process of testing, the states have pulled their foot off the pedal too quickly.
  • Mind you, the fear of yet another Covid wave striking cannot be ruled out altogether. Make no mistake, the country’s Covid mitigation efforts cannot be diluted citing festival season as a hindrance. As happened earlier, the states cannot blame the Centre either for lack of due diligence on their part. Let us look at those states where the first ominous signs are emerging. West Bengal is leading the list as there appears to be a direct correlation between the state’s spurt in Covid cases and the recent Durga Puja celebrations that saw big crowds and little adherence to safety and health protocols.

PC:  Nic Geard

  • Bengal reported a three-month high case of 989 on 24th October which should have compelled state authorities to ramp up testing. Strangely, they seem to be moving in the opposite direction. Note that Bengal had conducted around 13 lakh tests in August, and approximately 11 lakhs in September. But till the 27th of this month, it had conducted just nine lakh tests. No wonder, positivity rate is slowly inching upwards. Even the vaccination is subpar with only 27% of Bengal’s adult population administered with two doses as compared to the national average of 32.5% as of October 24.
  • Even states like UP and Bihar are lagging behind in ramping up vaccination with only 20% and 22% respectively of their adult population fully vaccinated. Additionally, the testing has nosedived in the populous UP as well with only 1.5 lakh testing reported on a day as against 12 lakh vaccines administered on October 25. Despite 100% single-dose vaccine coverage, Himachal Pradesh reported 261 cases which are the highest since 21 September. The worrying question is whether India is experiencing the lull before another Covid storm. Hopefully not. The Chief Ministers of laggard states should act quickly. Any slackness from here on would be disastrous, to say the least.