We are in a national crisis. Covid has cast it’s grey shadow all over the country — from villages in the hinterland to penthouses in the plush, from aged and infirm to the robust and young, this mutant has spared no one.
During such times, it’s no use crying over spilt milk and starting a blame game. It is what it is and we have to join hands, pick up the pieces and start afresh.
If the ‘caged’ virus mutates and strikes with deadly venom, remember, we are the chosen ones. We fought the first wave with valour, science, innovation and discipline and used all the available remedies (indigenous, official and home-made) to good effect. We have to quickly go back to the drawing board and rejuvenate, strategise and come up with a plan from the lessons of the past.
No country can have readymade hospitals and drugs for more than a few percent of the population, for what would these hospitals and ICUs be doing in peace times. For over a century, no country has had to put together beds, equipment, medicines and allied healthcare facilities for so many in so short a time. Let’s look at corrective measures.
Like schools are used as polling booths, already the government is making makeshift hospitals in colleges, exhibition centres etc. Manufacturing of medical and paramedical supplies is on a war footing and pharmaceuticals are working overtime to meet the huge demands. But just like a running home can feed some unexpected guests but not a crowd, medical supplies are obviously strained. Even the fatigued doctors and weary nurses who have had no time to rest between PPEs and duties, are feeling the burden. Medical exams and admission rules and subsequent bonds have become so stringent and entangled by the endless entrance exams, that the number of kids opting for medical colleges is dwindling.
First, restrict the use of Remdesivir which is the go-to drug for every patient. Let’s outlaw the wrongful purchase, unindicated use and hoarding of this drug.
While the world is rushing oxygen and generators to us, our industries have diverted oxygen for medical use. The authorities have galvanised all strata of society to bury their differences and rise to the occasion. Let’s not indiscriminately store cylinders and concentrators but pass them all to the deserving.
Look at the gross social indiscipline. In the new year, citizens were holidaying, merry making in hordes and attending functions. Masks and distancing had taken a back seat. Even now, the conglomeration of people at vaccination centres with masks hanging by the side, cheek by jowl, celebrating after the shot of hope, is a common sight. It is these very folks who test positive subsequently and blame the vaccine. First there was a clamour for vaccines, then a dither to take or not and now a run on them. Unfortunately, Dr WhatsApp and social media has led them astray. We would have had more vaccinated, had all the eligibles taken it. There is a method in the madness. We have had quite a few vaccinated coming to us with symptoms and positive reports. None of them had a serious infection and no one succumbed. The pendulum favouring one vaccine over the other swings every week from favourite to avoided, but the fact remains that any and every vaccine provides the desired protection enunciated above. Don’t wait, get your shot when your turn is due.
History has taught us that the second wave is always more devastating than the first. Lets salvage our resources, gather our strength, follow the rules and win the game as we did last time. From quarantine to treatment rules, from essential supplies to optional ones and from the haves to the have nots, one size should fit all, with no exceptions.
In the words of Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your countr”. A mass of 1.3 billion is not a joke and the calamity cannot be just wished away or whisked away. Only patient, unquestioned cooperation and a positive attitude can unite the whole country against this common enemy of mankind.