We are set to welcome the opening up of markets substantially expectedly in the coming week. The reported numbers (I coin the term COVITAL Statistics for such) have shown an unexpected but welcome decline. Now is the time for Care and Caution.
In Udaipur, the positive cases, which had risen to over 1,500 per day at one point last month, have now receded to sub 100 levels. Total positive cases on 4 June were 37. The positivity rate, which is a strong indicator of the depth to which the infection is striking a sample population, has reduced from nearly 40% to 1% in the last one month. The death rate has fallen and so has the hospitalization rate.
As we approach a comprehensive albeit gradual opening up of the markets, it is for us to ensure our safety. At a personal, family and societal level, it becomes all the more important to justify micro-management of the relief given to the lockdown. Unlike what happened in the last cycle (June 2020), when as the markets and public places opened, we let down our guard.
More than us the people, largely the government and to an extent the administration has to be blamed for the mammoth COVID infections in the second wave. The government was busy in taking credit of how India managed the first phase and this is where focus shifted from precaution and care, to giving a free hand to public events, political rallies, elections, etc. We were unable to build on the strength of our health care systems. No country in the world is equipped to handle health care under the stress that we saw in the second wave, and India is no different. The credit boasting by the Indian government across the world resulted in COVID gripping our lives completely. The entire pressure of the early sense of triumph in the government, was borne by the health care system and us, the people. The academic, economic and health implications for millions of people have, sadly become irreversible.
With lockdown imposed on economic activity, the sense of fear was embedded in our psyche. Students have faced one of the biggest losses in their academics. The Board examinations for both Class 10th and 12th have been cancelled across India. The rating and grading as well as college admissions for those passing out from 12th by default will be decided in the near future as per the orders of the apex court. What will be the end result in college admissions is yet not definite. Students have been majorly affected and the hardest hit probably. Though the decision seems to have been unanimously accepted, the decision making bodies, arguably, had the wherewithal and intellectual muscle to decide otherwise. Had the Boards across the country (CBSE, ISCE, CISC, local state Boards, etc.) been resolute and thought out of the box, conducting or postponing the examinations was not something that was undoable. However, now that nothing seems to be remotely possible to change that decision, care needs to be exercised so that this situation does not arise in the next academic year. The students have to keep building up their confidence in that they can accomplish their purpose even during the most testing times.
As the numbers touch single digit figures, the Third Wave, as per health experts, is not far away. We need to understand that it is not the behavior of the Virus that is resulting in the reduction of numbers, but an outcome of the drastic measures of lockdown that have been taken to stall its spread. Vaccination, though most important now, still stands second when it comes to the controlling the chain.
This time on, if we begin doing what we did in the second half of last year, we might face this challenge once again, and it will cause unforeseen damage. This is mathematically proven and is simply a no brainer and a matter of common sense.
Let us be wiser and ensure that our guard is stronger than before to keep ourselves safer. Vaccination and social distancing are the best measures and in fact the ONLY measures available to us now. We need to see the growth in income for the people and opening up of schools for the students.