HOW SHOULD DIST ADMN PREPARE ITSELF TO PREVENT the ANTICIPATED thirD COVID WAVE?
Prevention is always better than cure
The Union and the state government have left no stone unturned to deal with the second wave of Covid. Similarly, the governments will make all efforts to deal with the anticipated third wave too. The vaccination drive is being carried out at a good pace, availability of stocks is also not an issue these days and people are also much aware of the need to get vaccinated soon. When the masses are being made aware by the media and the government, we need not worry much about the third wave as people are educated enough and know the harms of flouting norms and taking the pandemic lightly. Even after getting inoculated, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is issuing guidelines among people to prevent themselves from contracting Covid. They should strictly follow the guidelines to keep themselves safe. Also, to bring normalcy and boost the economy, the Centre should restore all trains, buses and road transport. The government should advice masses to practice yoga, do exercises, go for morning walk and have balanced and nutritious diet etc to keep their immune system strong. As vaccination reduces the risk of getting severe infection and complications, the government should ensure that most of the population is vaccinated. The Union and the state government should strictly check inflation in the prices of essential commodities and other items of daily use.
Rajat Kumar Mohindru
Rapid vaccination of residents must
It is heartening that second wave has started receding and the situation is returning to normal but not without grim anticipation of emerging third wave which is feared to be affecting children more. To encounter onslaught, the district administrations are supposed to play both pre-emptive and dynamic roles on continuous basis. The foremost step is ensuring rapid vaccination programmes among all eligible groups in a time bound manner by maximising coverage. Secondly, Covid appropriate behaviour has to be earmarked for public compliance on regular basis. In this direction, public gatherings of any nature have to be regulated and deadlines should be strictly enforced. Opening of educational institutions should be kept pending and made conditional to further substantial containment of the present wave. Thirdly, the health infrastructure in general and child health care in particular, needs to be streamlined and augmented to face sudden or extra loads in future. Fourthly, the supply lines of medical oxygen, requisite medicines and equipment to deal with emergencies has to be strengthened in a way that there is no shortage both in public as well as private medical centres.
Covid appropriate behaviour must
Though scientists and epidemiologists have predicted that the third wave, which is likely to hit the nation in August, may be less lethal and contagious, we should be wary and careful about the same. With the second wave receding, the unlocking process has begun as weekend curfew has been lifted but even when the Covid cases and fatalities are declining, it doesn’t guarantee about the seriousness of the third wave. People are still crowding the markets, not observing social distancing, not wearing masks, the dangerous situation stares us in the face. Though the government has rightly opened the hotels, bars and gyms with 50 per cent capacity, Covid appropriate behaviour must be observed. Another important aspect to avoid the third wave is to expedite the vaccination programme so that people develop antibodies. Vacations should be announced in schools so that children stay at home. Oxygen supply should also be incremented in case there is third wave. Most of all, people should be made aware and educated about the precautions to be taken to prevent and be safe from the third wave.
Dr JS Wadhwa
Laxity among masses can prove fatal
Covid cases are decreasing and life is returning back to normal. There is no weekend lockdown and all shops and malls are reopened with curbs being relaxed. It is speculated that the third wave could strike anytime and would affect children more. However, a national lockdown cannot be a solution, keeping economic conditions of the people in mind. Major reason behind lacking in the preparedness to tackle the anticipated third wave is that we don’t have vaccines for children. Now that the government is planning to reopen schools, it could prove to be disastrous as it is very difficult for kids to wear mask for six to eight hours and maintain required distance. It’s better to postpone the opening of schools. Number of beds and children wards should be increased in every hospital and more pediatricians should be appointed. Arrangements should also be made to address the problem of shortage of medical oxygen. Looking at the past, we need to realise that we have to be disciplined and tread with caution. People should not show laxity by not wearing mask and violating social distancing norms.
Centre, state must work in tandem
There is a sigh of relief as the Covid trajectory is flattening. Both, the number of cases and fatalities, are reported to be on the decline. Consequent upon the lifting of the weekend curfew, unlocking process has begun as many restrictions imposed earlier under stringent protocols have been relaxed. Further, the government is making comprehensive review to reopen schools and colleges too for which vaccination of teachers and the taught is to be carried on priority. With the recent approval to Sputnik V, in addition to Covishield and Covaxin doses being already administered, vaccine availability is likely to improve substantially. Accordingly, people living even in remote areas hesitant to get the jab, are also being exhorted to take a shot. This all is mandated to protect people and gear up our preparedness to face any eventuality, as many experts and epidemiologists have predicted the inevitability of the third wave in coming months. During the intense second wave, some unscrupulous elements, taking undue mileage of lack of health infra and the misery of infected people, resorted to black marketing and fleeced innocent beneficiaries by charging exorbitantly. While short supply of oxygen and inadequacy of beds in hospitals created a mess, unavailability of doses hit the inoculation drive severely. It is, therefore, essential to be vigilant against the recurrence of the misdeeds of the past. Unlike the past stalemate, the Centre and states must coordinate and devise common strategy to save lives and livelihood from adverse affects of the pandemic.
Nirmaljit Singh Chatrath
Update rickety public health infrastructure
As the nation is still combating the second wave, there are apprehensions about the potential third wave hitting the country in the last quarter of the year. With the number of positive cases and fatalities plateauing in major towns and cities, the state governments are gradually planning to end all lockdown measures despite experts supporting curbs till December owing to usual laxity in adherence to Covid protocols. It is the collective responsibility of the government and public to take adequate precautions; otherwise, it will be an open invitation to a potential third wave. Along with availability of doses, medical staff, including doctors, nurses and technicians, and other facilities, the Health Department should ensure sufficient supply of doses, increased daily vaccination, testing, tracking and treatment. At present, the government might not succeed in staving off the spread of the deadly Delta virus because it lacks the capacity for genetic sequencing in order to achieve herd immunity. In the given situation, people should shed vaccine hesitancy, adopt Covid appropriate behaviour and avoid indoor gatherings and crowded places. A responsive and responsible human race will ultimately learn to live safely with the virus in the foreseeable future.
Tajpreet S Kang
Govt must rectify its past mistakes
At a time when several states are relaxing norms after witnessing a significant decline in the positivity and mortality rates, the fear psychosis created by an anticipated third wave has raised serious concerns. According to eminent epidemiologists and virologists, the new Delta variant is decidedly more aggressive and transmissible. Though its exact magnitude is not finally ascertained yet, there is pressing need to be fully alert. Due to the earlier rampaging Covid strains, we have already paid a heavy price in terms of human lives and economy; our fragile healthcare system has been completely overwhelmed. Confronted with equally important twin issues of public safety and economic revival, the government finds itself trapped in a Catch-22 situation. Prudence demands the formulation of a well-thought out and well-orchestrated strategy to be fully prepared to effectively handle the impending health crisis. The government must rectify its past mistakes such as shortage of vaccines, oxygen, ICU beds, ventilators, medical staff and other facilities to strengthen public healthcare infrastructure. We need to have an efficient surveillance, testing, tracing and treatment system to manage fresh Covid cases in future. The district authorities must educate the public about the efficacy of vaccines and need to adopt Covid appropriate behaviour.
Minimise transmission of virus at every cost
- Even though the fatalities and the number of Covid cases are on a decline, the public should not lower guard and follow Covid protocols in toto to keep the third wave at bay. With relaxations in lockdown restrictions, the district administration has a daunting task in hand to implement the Covid-appropriate protocols in every nook of the city.
- The administration has to be alert and take a strict action against violators to safeguard against the looming dangers of third wave. Administration should rope in volunteers, NCC, NSS cadets and stationed them at bus stands, railway stations, malls, vegetable markets, Big Bazaars along with police for protocols compliance
- Suspected hot spots be declared as containment zones to curb virus spread. Mass vaccination drive be launched along with awareness campaign to get the most vulnerable be vaccinated at the earliest. If possible door-to-door vaccination be undertaken with help of ASHA workers. Covid specific hospitals be identified & equipped with facilities like ICU with 24×7 oxygen supply & ventilators with trained manpower. Increase bed çapacìty in existing hospitals. Increase test and tracing of Covid suspect & isolate positive case at the earliest before it engulfs others
- The administration should take steps to minimise the chances of virus transmission, even as the best of hospitals are equipped to treat the infected patient and not to stop transmission òf virus similar to the best of road network can improve speed & hassle free movements and not to stop the accidents on roads. Anil Vinayak
The sustained campaign against drugs and illicit trade has been continuing since long but the menace is still far from being over. What should be done to ensure a drug-free society?
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