Groundhog Day: No room for complacency

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A future-focused pandemic policy that takes into consideration all aspects of a citizen’s life might not be such a bad idea after all
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Groundhog Day: No room for complacency
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Groundhog Day: No room for complacency

It seems like everything almost running in a loop. The first, the second and now the third wave of Covid19 have only reminded us of the sleeper 90s hit Groundhog Day, where a newscaster wakes up to the same day and same reality over and over again.

Assam is also witnessing the same loop where the pandemic is affecting everyone’s lives over and over again. The worry is that despite the fact that the virus has never left us but was only busy mutating itself when we kept our worries at bay after the end of the second wave, people in general seem to be deliberately started ignoring the consequences. May be after the two consecutive waves, the fear of the virus has somehow faded away and people have already started to live with it.

But the truth is that the way the number of the daily infected people is jumping, the state government must come up with both short and long term ways to tackle the situation. On Thursday, during an urgent meet between the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and all chief ministers of the states in the country, the PM has actually asked the state governments to be prepared for more and smart variants of Covid19 in coming days.

From January 15, Assam government has imposed its fresh guidelines of ‘no vaccine-no entry’ in which not fully vaccinated people were not welcomed in any public places. Be it government offices, social gatherings, gyms, movie theatres or eateries in the state, only double vaccinated people were allowed to visit. State government believed that the method would not only keep the non vaccinated people away from the virus but would also encourage people to get their vaccination done on time.

The sharp increase in daily cases is not surprising given the highly infectious nature of the Omicron variant. The state government has already assessed that there would be possibly around 10,000-12,000 cases daily in the state by the end of January alone.

Studies said that the Omicron variant spreads nearly three times faster than the highly transmissible Delta variant. While Omicron has emerged as the dominant variant currently, it has not completely displaced the Delta variant. The twin threats from the two variants have been responsible for fresh cases reaching record numbers in many countries. Studies also was found that the Omicron variant has a superior ability to cause breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people and also cause reinfections in people who have been previously infected.

However, the silver lining for Omicron variants attack was that early data from South Africa and the United Kingdom suggest a reduced risk of severe disease requiring hospitalisation particularly among those fully vaccinated and previously infected. But it was surely still too early to draw conclusions as there is an inevitable lag between infection and hospitalisation, and the protection offered by vaccines against Omicron in older people. India recorded its first death caused by Omicron in a fully vaccinated person in Rajasthan in December, 2021.

It was undoubtedly painful to welcome the New Year under the shadow of the third wave. For those who had just about had enough of staying locked in and doing their official and personal duties through a screen, the beginning of 2022 could signal more of the same, at least for the time being.

That’s why; the recurrence of such waves might point to a clear and present need for governments and people to begin rearranging their lives around hybrid formats – in matters involving employment, education and recreation.

A future-focused pandemic policy that takes into consideration all aspects of a citizen’s life might not be such a bad idea after all.

Read More : Akhil Gogoi under home quarantine: Family members tested of Covid19 positive

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