No time to lax

Things are obviously heading from worse to bad going by the developments that are happening nearby in India. There are stories abound of extreme chaos and feeling of helplessness as the Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc in India.

On April 21, India saw one of the biggest daily spikes as the Coronavirus infected 295,041 people in India and left 2,023 dead (in last 24 hours). This was the seventh straight day of over 200,000 new cases in India. India’s tally of more than 1.56 crore Covid-19 cases is the second-highest globally, behind the United States and ahead of Brazil.

The scenes are grim and heart-wrenching as gasping patients wait in ambulances and rickshaws only to find that the hospitals are out of oxygen and ventilator beds amid a surge in infections.

In one viral video, a woman can be seen wailing after losing her father outside a hospital, for whom she had tried everything to get a hospital bed. Another video showed a desperate wife sobbing beside her unresponsive husband, who is struggling for life in an ambulance outside a hospital waiting for bed.

The situation has become so worse that many health care facilities simply cannot accommodate patients due to lack of space, oxygen cylinders and drugs. In Delhi, most private and government hospitals had run out of beds with many patients desperate to get admitted.

Similar, grim scenario can be seen in Lucknow and Raipur too, where municipal authorities in these cities had to set up temporary crematoriums, as the existing ones cannot take the load. There are also reports of bodies being burnt in open spaces in some cities.

We are fortunate that we don’t see such happenings here. While such happenings may not be visible here, we cannot brush aside the fact that we are as vulnerable as anyone. If we were to see a similar development here, one thing is sure that the extent of chaos and mayhem that is going to be here would be humungous given our county’s nascent healthcare system? Imagine whether we can withstand such a problem.

Despite the surveillance and protocols in place, we saw two positive cases of COVID-19 in the community in Phuentsholing on April 16, following which a lockdown was put in place with immediate effect. Further, three staff, one female and two males, were reported testing positive for COVID-19 at a quarantine facility in Thimphu on April 20. The detection of these cases, after more than a year since the detection of the first case and following the first dose of the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination program, is still a reminder that the fight against the Covid-19 is not over yet. Further, the thing that would make our fight against the Covid-19 more arduous this time is the nature of the second wave of the Covid-19, which reports suggest is proving to be more infectious and deadlier than the first one. The reason is obvious why we need to be more prepared and cautious now. We cannot simply lax from the imminent dangers that may strike us anytime soon.