The world witnessed the back-to-back waves of covid 19, bringing with it devastation of human lives and sufferings unimaginable. As we await a next possible wave to swoop down upon us each one is keeping their fingers crossed, will it come or will it not?
No one is sure, but what if it does, are we prepared to face it, how will it strike us, when will it come if it ever does. We all are all hoping possibly against hope that it will never come.
From where I come, the beautiful district of Pune in Maharashtra, India, the same thoughts are at the back of all our minds. We too have borne the brunt of covid, especially the city of Pimpri Chinchwad in Pune where I live.
Ever since covid struck us in the March of 2019, we have gone through ups and downs, increasing and decreasing cases, deaths initially not much but later so many.
We faced similar problems as in the whole of India, lock-downs, restrictions on movements and businesses, shut down of educational institutions, closed markets. Shut down of all entertainment places, no cinema, no restaurants and many more Travel was restricted, you couldn’t move in groups or gather, sporting events were a no no, even gyms and gardens were closed. People wore long beards as the barber shops too were shut down.
As of today, we have had over 2.65 lakh cases, have tested over nearly 15 lakh people with a positivity rate of over 5% and have had nearly over 4300 deaths. Not a really happy state of affairs. The government, local self-body, the private health care system, the police all slogged it out 24 by 7 to take care of the sick, to help prevent spread, to implement the lock down. The doctors, paramedics, the police, ambulance drivers, NGOs all strove hard to help out those in need. It was a massive collective effort. Holidays were unheard of, it was work and only work, no Sundays no weekly offs.
Today the cases are hovering around 150 to 250 daily in this city, that’s like a plateau for some time now. Deaths are less, the odd 1 or 2 daily but people have become complacent, perhaps the health system too is taking a sigh of relief.
Every one is talking about and anticipating a third wave soon, but no one knows when and how it will strike us if at all it does.
The government and the health system are on high alert not knowing exactly what is coming or when and how it will come. People have grown complacent, traveling has increased, crowding is common, the guard indeed is down. Fear is not seen among most of us, some laugh it out, yet some others are scared and the remaining don’t care. Many are confident that now as they are vaccinated the virus cannot touch them anymore, they don’t need to fear.
Each one though has taken note that vaccination is important, vaccinations centers are crowded, yes, vaccine is in short supply, yet over 10 lakh people in this city have had their first dose already, that means more than a third of the eligible population is now vaccinated for the first dose at least.
Preparations are up to the mark here, ample beds, oxygen storage tanks, oxygen generators, logistics, manpower, pediatric wards, medicines, ICUs, ventilators vaccination centers, testing centers with augmented capacities. Daily and weekly meetings of the bureaucrats at all levels are having brainstorming sessions on what else need to be done. They believe they are ready to face the virus if it comes in whatever variant or form it decides to.
Are all our efforts good enough is the question we should be asking ourselves. No idea in what form, variant this next wave will come, will it be more dangerous, will it be fast spreading, more infectious, will it be really lethal or will it just come infect some and go. Will the vaccine be able to stop the virus? How can we predict this? Not many answers to our questions.
Positive cases keep hovering above 150 daily, will the virus strike out of the blue as we take comfort in the present status that cases are not increasing, will the situation be as in the second wave, sudden spurt in cases over a short period of time and deaths too, or will it be faster than lightening putting all our efforts and preparation to naught. Are our preparations good enough? We know not.
One scenario is it never comes, another is it does strike again but won’t be as infectious and lethal, but yet another possibility that scares me is it could be worse than the previous and break through all our defenses. Whom will it take away, as it is so many doctors have lost their lives to covid, the back bone of the medical system that is that nurses and paramedics have faced the brunt of the previous two waves and a tired lot?
Will the story of the boy who cried wolf repeat itself, if we ignore the signs of an impending wave we shall be in for a major disaster? Even as I conclude there is news the next wave will be upon us this month of August itself. It is estimated to peak by October 2021. Deaths it is being predicted will be less and daily cases might cross 100000.
Yes, we are ready to face this belligerent virus gifted to us by Wuhan. Man will win, we shall overcome unless the virus mutates to put all our efforts to naught.