By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 2 Dec: Corona cases have risen sharply in the hills during the past 60 days. While, 473 cases were reported yesterday in the state, the total number of cases reported today went up to 513. The total number of Covid deaths today was 13. According to the data made available by health sector activist Anoop Nautiyal, in September, 74 percent of Corona cases reported in Uttarakhand were in the plains while the remaining 26 percent of the cases were reported from the hills. In October, 2020, 61 percent of cases were reported from the plains while 39 percent of cases were reported from the hills. In the month of November, just 58 percent of the cases were reported from the plains while 42 percent of the cases were reported from the hills. Clearly, there has been some lack of alertness and probably awareness which has led to the sharp rise in the number of cases in the hills.
Generally, it is believed that due to much higher density of population in the urban areas of Dehradun, Haridwar, Udham Singh Nagar and the plains of Nainital district, like Haldwani, many more cases would be reported from the plains. While still true, it is somewhat surprising that, in past two months, the hill districts have shown a comparatively higher rise in the number of cases as compared to the plains.
While opening of schools for classes 10 and 12, and permitting larger gatherings at social functions like marriages also might have played its role in the sharp rise in the number of cases in the hills, the fact remains that these two factors are applicable even in the plains. Here, too, gatherings of 200 for functions like marriage were being permitted till the new guidelines issued by the state government for the month of December have again restricted attendance at gatherings to 100. Similarly, schools too have reopened for classes 10 and 12 in Dehradun, Haridwar, US Nagar and plains of Nainital district.
Another fact that should be a reason for worry is that, while the number of fresh cases of Covid-19 per day has gone up to more than 400 in past 10 days, it is not due to the outsiders coming to the state. For the past week or so, those coming to the state by air, trains, buses or their own vehicles are being screened and randomly tested for Corona infection. Not a significant share of the total cases was from among these people. It may be recalled that those coming to the state are being screened and randomly tested for Corona at the borders, at the bus stations, railway stations and even at the airport. Clearly, the infection is spreading locally now than through those coming to the state!
Among the districts of the plains, Dehradun has continued to show relatively higher number of cases every day in the past 3 months. In September, Dehradun had reported 9116 cases or 31 percent of the total number of cases in Uttarakhand. In October, 4047 cases were reported in Dehradun or 30 percent of total cases. In November, the total number of cases reported in Dehradun was 4123 or 33 percent of the total cases. For example, in Dehradun, out of a total number of 473 cases reported, yesterday, in the state, the total number of cases in Dehradun was 164. Of them, only 10 cases were related to those who arrived in Dehradun from outside the state. Six persons tested positive yesterday at the Dehradun Railway Station, 0 at the ISBT, 1 at Jolly Grant Airport, 2 at Kulhal Border and 1 at Asharodhi Border checkpost. The total number of cases reported today in Dehradun was 194.
Though 71 persons were penalised yesterday in Dehradun for not wearing masks, the fact remains that a large number of people at social gatherings or in the markets are still seen without masks or not wearing them properly. In addition, mandatory physical distance of 2 yards, though publicised a lot, has not been strictly adhered to by the people in the markets, restaurants, local public transport, etc., leading to local transmission of the deadly virus! With the arrival of winter, more precautions are required to prevent Corona and even other communicable diseases such as common flu, etc.
By Arun Pratap Singh