The Omicron variant has recorded a total of about 578 cases in Delhi. Omicron has also penetrated the states of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Telangana, Karnataka, some North-Eastern states, and more. How will we compete with this behemoth challenge?
When the Coronavirus pandemic almost seemed to have been defeated and its havoc weakened, there was a sudden outbreak of a new variant that started spreading like wildfire. Its effects across the world, including India, have been devastating. With cases rapidly increasing, this variant has clutched 19 states so far. That is a dreadful situation.
The situation is only getting graver with each passing moment as people from small cities and metropolitans have blatantly refused to follow the rules of wearing masks and social distancing. In markets, parks, restaurants, weddings, things have normalized to the status quo as they were in the Pre-Covid period. Will the country have no option but to go on complete lockdown again? That remains to be seen.
At present, several states have imposed night curfews. Night curfew has also been implemented in the national capital Delhi. The Omicron variant has recorded a total of about 578 cases in Delhi. Omicron has also penetrated the states of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Telangana, Karnataka, some North-Eastern states, and more. How will we compete with this behemoth challenge?
The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) director, Dr Randeep Guleria, believes that the existing vaccines are effective against the disease. There is also a ray of hope in the form that it seems to be a minor disease, and as far as the vaccine is concerned, we should be safe by getting ourselves vaccinated timely. Of course, the next few weeks are going to be crucial. By then, the gravity of the situation would be clearer as to what extent the Omicron variant could be deadly.
However, people who do not get vaccinated are at 100 per cent risk. Existing vaccines will go a long way in reducing infection because if one has been vaccinated or has been infected before, they’ll only spread about a third of the infection, while people who aren't vaccinated will probably spread 100 per cent of the infection. For the time being, everyone must understand that the Covid-19 global pandemic is not over yet.
Now people should get immediately vaccinated. Those who still have not been able to get them for some reason or are not getting them on purpose should prioritize this. A few days ago, a corona warrior from the Municipal Health Center of the capital city of New Delhi said that after the news of the outbreak of Omicron, the number of people getting vaccinated at his Daryaganj centre has started increasing rapidly. However, until its effects weren't revealed, people began to believe that they are no longer faced the threats of the Coronavirus. This mindset is extremely dangerous.
It is beyond understanding to comprehend the real reason behind the reluctance of some people to avoid vaccinations. For the likes of them, our country witnessed the catastrophe caused by Covid-19 in the turbulent times of last April and May. Millions of people became victims of the Coronavirus. We must learn from our past mistakes and understand that the only way to save lives is to get everyone vaccinated. Apart from the rural areas located in remote parts of the country, thousands and millions of people are not vaccinated even in cities and metros.
Given the situation created by Omicron, there is still no cure for a person who is not serious about getting vaccinated. God is his master. Vaccines are available for free, and yet some people remain clueless. That is a despicable act of sedition. Now, people of all ages should get vaccinated and follow the Coronavirus protocols. Even after the vaccine, it is necessary to wear a face mask. Swift and strict action should be taken against those who violate these guidelines.
The government has moved heaven and earth to provide as much support and care as possible. The government has now decided to introduce booster doses to the people. That will be in addition to both doses of the vaccine administered to the people so far. The government has decided to introduce booster doses for people above 60 years of age or those seriously ill. Such people will be able to get these doses from 10th January onwards after the advice of their doctors.
Our healthcare and frontline workers have helped save millions of lives during the Coronavirus period and have taken on a huge responsibility. The government has decided to introduce a booster dose of the Covid vaccine for them. Corona vaccination is being started for children as well. All efforts being made by the government should be welcomed. But the Center and the states should prepare from now that if the situation is serious, there should be no shortage in the arrangement of oxygen cylinders and beds in hospitals for patients. The whole country bore witness when all our health services proved to be clumsy, inadequate, and weak.
Several patients and their families were roaming around with money in their pockets and could not find the help needed. Let me say that during the Covid crisis many private hospitals very shamelessly looted needy and desperate people. They sold their conscience at a penny's worth. The government should under no circumstance spare such rascals who are the enemies of humanity. They should be given proper punishment. Is making money the only goal of these private hospitals?
It is common knowledge that in some of the metropolitan cities of the country, money was/is taken from corona patients at the rate of Rs.12,000 to Rs.15,000 per day. Are these hospitals miraculously transformed into five-star hotels? Will anyone put a stop to their arbitrariness? The regulations surrounding this should be tightened. The bigger picture is that in the coming time, the enthusiasm for assembly elections will increase rapidly in some states of the country. There will also be rallies and large-scale gatherings. Governments and common citizens have to take their steps very wisely. Only then, we will be saved from the impending doom that lies in wait in the form of the Omicron variant.
(The writer is a senior editor, columnist, and former MP)