Thursday 22 Oct 2020

Don't give false hopes based on Covid curve

| OCTOBER 16, 2020, 11:58 PM IST

What is Chief Minister Pramod Sawant trying to tell the people of Goa when he says that the Covid curve is flattening? The State saw a marginal dip in fatalities and positive cases in the past few days, but that can't be comforting at this stage. These cannot be interpreted as signs of the virus being on the wane, and it would be absurd to imagine that life is on its normal trajectory. The government fails to learn from past mistakes and by portraying an "all is well" picture, it is only allowing complacency to set in.

If we may recall, in the initial March-April phase, the government was comforting people with the "green zone" talk. A lot has changed since the time CM's trademark safety slogan "bivpachi garaz na' made headlines. The State has crossed all colour coded zones and has struggled ever since to contain mortalities.

What is the message the government is trying to pass on to the people now? Presumptuous assessment of the situation based on daily health bulletin figures could have disastrous consequences because people could use this trigger to lower their guard. One incident in Mangor earlier in April was enough to inflict uncontrollable damage. Those were the days where wearing face masks was not even part of standard protocol.

We must admit the fact that there is no cure for Covid yet, and till the time a vaccine emerges, nobody is going to be safe. Life will continue to revolve around safeguarding each one with social distancing and wearing face masks. While the talk is about the vaccine, there is more bad news coming. A new World Health Organisation study has junked the effectiveness of drugs Remdesivir, Hydroxychloroquine and two others on Covid patients. The WHO stated that these medicines found no substantial effect on improving mortality rates or helping patients on ventilator support; neither did these drugs helped in shortening hospital stays.

While the Goa CM talks about flattening of the curve, Covid continues to strike big elsewhere. Maharashtra leads the nation with over 41,000 deaths. Globally, the United States saw a massive jump in positive cases since July, and 64,000 reported Covid-positive in the country on Thursday. Some states have witnessed a brief lull followed by spikes. Delhi, which had seen a slowdown in June and July had numbers rising sharply in September, and after a decline early in October, there are now over 3000 cases reported daily. The Union Health Ministry says the next two months are going to be crucial.

We cannot take respite from the fact there is a marginal decline in cases. Covid is not going to go away on its own. The government must use this spell effectively to re-strategize and overcome shortcomings. If there is a breather from the Covid onslaught, the best the government can do is to ready itself for the worst. Fortify hospital infrastructure, give calculated relief to medical warriors and win the confidence of the common man. Do not give false hopes, please.

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