COVID-19: Two hundred plus and still counting
IFP Editorial: Safety measures mandated earlier by health authorities with regard to masking oneself properly while going outside and maintaining physical distance and regular hand-washing seem no longer safe.
Updated on 12 Jan 2022, 7:13 pm
On December 31, the number of daily Covid-19 positive cases was only 10 and the positivity rate was 0.9 per cent in Manipur. This Wednesday, the daily figure has jumped to 206 and a positivity rate of 8.6 per cent from Tuesday’s figure of 116 and 5.1 per cent. The figures are jumping like hell in the last few days and assembly elections are round the corner. Never had we seen a surge like this.
There were 1,94,720 new Covid-19 cases and 442 deaths in the 24 hours on Wednesday in the country. The active cases have risen to 9,55,319, the highest in 211 days while the positivity rate rose from 1.1 per cent on December 30 to 11.05 per cent on January 12. About 300 districts in India are reporting weekly Covid case positivity of more than five per cent while the Union government had urged people not to treat infection due to Omicron variant as common cold and get vaccinated.
On the other hand, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Gujarat are emerging as states of concern due to the rise in Covid-19 cases there. Manipur has also become a state of concern with the rapid rise in positivity figures and low vaccination, while the Election Commission of India has a Constitutional obligation to hold elections in time in spite of the third wave.
The Election Commission of India had written to the chief secretaries of five poll-bound states, asking them to “accelerate” the pace of Covid-19 vaccination. The poll panel also expressed concerns over the low percentage of first dose coverage in Manipur. This comes after the Commission had at a press conference emphasised on the need to speed up vaccination in poll-bound states. The overall vaccination rate for Manipur as on Tuesday stands at 57.22 per cent for the first dose and 43.25 per cent for the second dose. Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra had said that EC had asked states to take steps to step up vaccination coverage. Elections are scheduled to be held in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur this year.
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The official figure of the Omicron variant for the state still stands at 1 as whole genome sequencing for the variant takes time. However, as Omicron is highly infectious no one knows for sure whether Omicron variant has taken over from the Delta variant in the state in view of daily jump in positivity figures. Officials are trying to assure the general public that although the Omicron variant spreads faster than the Delta variant, in most cases it does not require hospitalisation except in people with serious comorbidity problems. But milder or not, nobody wants the infection and everyone wants to fight shy of it. Safety measures mandated earlier by health authorities with regard to masking oneself properly while going outside and maintaining physical distance and regular hand-washing seem no longer safe.
In the last few weeks, the trend has been such that whole families are getting infected once a family member is infected. Yet, the state is yet to spell out how it is going to achieve maximum vaccination before assembly elections which are slated to be held on February 27 and March 3. The state has been extending the services of Dr Rajo as Health Director again and again in view of his ‘experience’ in dealing with the pandemic and also the Additional CS Vumlunmang Vualnam has been charged with the Health department. Perhaps the time has come for the state government to put new people in these critical posts for the purpose of invoking new ideas and innovation in dealing with the pandemic.