Mask-Mantra or Mass-Mantra? Collective Conscientious Robust steps

Bahnisikha Bhattacharjee

Hello, Hi, Namashkar.  If I ask you to pick the most anxious word since last year in your opinion, most likely YOU are going to choose “Coronavirus” or “Covid-19”. This is absolutely natural.The outbreak first appeared in December 2019 in China’s Wuhan City of Hubei Province and escalates to a pandemic situation as it rapidly infected most of the country in very quick succession. This SARS-CoV-2 which is commonly known as Covid-19 brings most of the developed countries to their knees as healthcare infrastructure was not equipped to deal with such a war-like situation. More than one and a half year passed, we now have man-made many scientific advancements but still defending the stark beating of 2nd wave of the pandemic. India has now become one of the most affected countries which are struggling to overcome its horrendous havoc situation. The situation in Tripura, a north-eastern frontier state, also reflects identical circumstances as of India and becoming grave day by day. Some of the aspects of the current scenario, also in which direction we are propelling ourselves and what administration and common people should collectively strive to triumph Covid-19. See here-

Silver Lining in The Darker Clouds

Let us first look upon the development since last year. We have mastered the manufacturing of PPE kits, anti-viral medicines, vaccines, etc. India had invented indigenous Covaxin and also become the largest producer of Covishield vaccine in the entire world. At the end of the 1st wave, India had become the vaccine hub of the entire world. We had exported vaccines to different places around the globe under Vaccine Maitri, a humanitarian initiative by the Indian government. It seemed we were in complete control of Covid situation. Then there emerged the highly virulent new mutated double mutant B.1.617 variant and some other strains of the virus which ravished the country and all kind of health-related infrastructure is crippled ad thus infected cases as per official data crossed more than 4 lakhs per day with total death-toll inching toward 3 lakhs. In this grim situation blame-game and misleading propaganda is surging from both ruling and opposition sides. We should try to critically analyze the reasons for failure one by one and come up with probable solutions of a way out from the situation.

 

Federal health advisory council and Ministry must have acquainted with the fact that 2nd and 3rd wave of coronavirus is inevitable as we had observed Europe and US were undergoing 2nd wave.

-We lacked greatly in our preparedness for the next wave of coronavirus and Government machinery should have consolidated the emergency healthcare infrastructure. Many proposed hospitals during 1st wave were not completed to their functional stage.

-Medical grade oxygen facility and supply in most of the hospitals are very skimpy and faulty. These problems we should have resolved on war footing as soon as the previous wave was over.

-It is very much understandable that no country will handle these many positive cases that of India. In India, we produce enough medical-grade oxygen which should suffice the need but the generation plant heavily centralizes in some particular industrial areas. Therefore, the logistics, container, and storage facility were the main hurdles for efficient distribution.

-On the other hand, a spectrum of independent experts has pointed out the problems of undercounting deaths in a pandemic just to portray a good global image. This is just another of the grim milestones in India’s wrenching journey through the pandemic which dents the government’s year-long endeavor to obfuscate and dodge unpleasant reality.

-Lack of transparency in data will harm multiple ways such as future proper planning and resource allocation might face tremendous issues and fuming of distress and spreading of misinformation is evident among people.

-It is observed globally that mass vaccination is the only available apparent solution globally but still we have administered only 18.5Cr doses, less than 14% of the citizen which meager compared to other US, UK, France, Israel, etc. Recently CEO of Serum Institute of India fled to UK amid a threat to his life and the Govt of India failed to address this issue which caused complications for vaccine production.

-Besides, vaccine production was curtailed largely due to embargo imposed on essential vaccine making raw materials by Joe Biden led US Govt and also US patent related episode regarding vaccine is known to all. France UK Singapore Japan and many other countries are helping India to fight against the situation and strengthen the medical infrastructure in various parts. But, most of the outside hindrance is cleared now due to India’s diplomacy now have to see what administration act to keep the situation under control.

- Logistics-related hurdles for vaccine and medical oxygen supply should be reduced as our defense friendshave now been vaccinated and they will help to resolve the issue. But it always takes too to make a quarrel, so we can’t make only administration convict for worsening it.

It the high time that we, the citizens of India, understood our role and responsibility in limiting the spread and transmission of Covid-19. As a responsible citizen the bare minimum we could do to show full conformity to the preventive measures against Covid-19, announced by the Indian government such as,

-wearing a mask in public spaces, social distancing, self-isolation, or quarantining (in both symptomatic or asymptomatic cases) and,

- getting tested if showing symptoms avoid public gathering, deliberately hiding symptoms, etc.

Only a few people follow these guidelines scrupulously, and the majority don’t think twice before flouting them. People escaping from hospitals or quarantine centers in Tripura, others turning violent when questioned why they were not following the covid protocol. In recent times cases of mass religious or political congregations, parties or social get-together too are seen and become hot-spot of new covid infections.

-We can never ever find more selfish disturbing acts as the black marketing/stocking of an essential covid specific medicine, medical bed, ventilator, or even oxygen cylinders. In such crucial times, what we need to understand is that our actions have consequences, not only for us but also for others and Govt can’t eradicate these malicious intentions with stringent laws. Need of the hour is we can win this war if we help each other fellow countrymen with following proper rules decided by Govt and behave responsibly.

Technology allowed many ways to reduce physical human contacts such as work from home, online school college class, and exam, use as much as possible digital shopping transactions, etc. which we should utilize to break the chain of contamination. Increased domestic violence, mental health issues such as depression, fear, worry, stress, hypertension, etc. are come up as major side effects due to covid lock-down and we should address that too. And lastly, we should also try to support morally and financially the daily wagers who facing the most critical problem just to survive.

As rightly said by Bob Riley, “Hard times don’t create heroes. It is during the hard times when the ‘hero’ within us is revealed.” Since last year we should not forget the sacrifice of the uncountable number of frontline warriors in various fields.As this article is much related to Tripura, we can proudly figure out those doctors, health workers to top administrators of the state, police cops to journalists, every frontline worker are still on sweat and heat, have been relentless in their effortsto combat the situation.  Now it is your time to reveal the hero within us by complying with protocols that are meant for the greater good and try to be compassionate to others and help each other as much as possible. Yes, Covid-19 has shaken the entire world and our motherland India too, but we are fighting strong and all our collective action will make us victorious in no time.The citizens must also help support the fight against the pandemic by adhering to government advisories of containment and social distancing. Mask-Up India. We shall overcome.

 

Bahnisikha Bhattacharjee

(Senior Producer and Anchor, India News Bangla)