India had flattened the COVID curve for good Or, so it seemed until sometime back. The worst was behind us, some believed, as traffic on the streets returned to normal in most cities.
The WFH formula continued to be applicable in many cases. But, employees started returning to offices once told with more confidence than earlier. Public places began to open. The economy tried to bounce back. All in all, it seemed the nation would be back on track soon.
How wrong were the optimists? They were off the mark by a distance as they took off their masks and decided to welcome an imaginary old normal. Meanwhile, mutant variants of the deadly virus entered stealthily. Suddenly, we realised that more bad news was on the way.
As India combats the medical emergency, states are running out of oxygen. The Centre has banned the use of industrial oxygen, diverting it to fulfill our medical needs. But, is that enough?
Beds for Covid patients are becoming increasingly scarce. And, it is not just Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi CM whose wife Sunita has also tested positive, who is under pressure to deliver a miracle in such testing times.
Providing beds for those who need them have become a matter of huge concern, be it in a developed state like Maharashtra which is more badly affected than other states or Bihar, whose fragile healthcare system lies exposed.
In this chaotic atmosphere, lakhs have gone to Kumbh Mela and taken a dip. Should the Centre have allowed it to happen, the mela’s religious significance notwithstanding? The spike in daily numbers in Uttar Pradesh in particular suggests that the failure to maintain social distancing at the mela has been a huge mistake.
Politics is attracting its own kind of devotees, notably in Bengal, where supporters of the BJP attended Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s show in big numbers or where TMC supporters have been doing the same with the belief that nothing can happen to them when Mamata Banerjee is around as their omnipotent leader.
The fact of the matter is, political rallies should not have been allowed when the country has been fighting a war to contain a pandemic. But they were, showing the desperation for hijacking political power, come what may.
With migrant workers fleeing Delhi, CBSE and ICSE cancelling 10th standard board exams, former PM Manmohan Singh testing positive after taking two vaccine shots and the country recording more than 2.5 lakh fresh cases of infection every day. India has much to reflect on as days go by.
As this writer had said in an earlier column, the masses need to act responsibly if the virus has to be kept in check…India, which has overtaken Brazil to become the second most affected country after the United States, will continue to have an alarming number of new cases until that happens.
With lockdowns and night curfews being imposed in varying degrees in many states, India’s attempt to stop the virus from causing too much further damage continues. It will succeed, but only if people raise their hands and join the battle against the virus.