Although it is too early to say whether it is the coming trend, Covid cases and deaths are showing a gradual decline in India. However, Uttarakhand is seeing a disconcerting rise, particularly in the matter of fatalities. This is at a time when tourists are rushing in and the state is opening up in terms of travel by almost entirely removing restrictions, except the need to obtain e-passes. It is not even certain that all those travelling in and out are conforming to that requirement. There can be no doubt that these factors are contributing to the rise, and promise to keep the graph going up in the days to come.
The responsibility, ultimately, is for the people themselves to prevent the spread through the by now established means – masks and social distancing. As such, it is more important than ever that the campaign to enforce these restrictions is further enhanced as there is little likelihood – given the needs of economy – that lockdowns and other restrictions will now be put in place. Social organisations that have in the past several months worked hard to help the ordinary people with distribution of rations, etc., should now make it their goal to promote use of masks and physical distancing. It should be made into a major publicity campaign involving all sections of society. Not only should people be reminded about the advantages of following the rules, but also the many adverse consequences of not doing so.
It would seem that the state government has become more focused on reviving the economy – feeling the pinch as it is of falling revenues – than on Covid management. It cannot afford to be neglectful on the Covid front, thinking that the processes put in place are enough. Apart from enforcing the social distancing rules much more strictly – particularly in the more crowded areas – it should work on identifying the hot spots where cases are increasing, by examining the behaviour patterns of patients. This is because corrective action cannot be taken without knowing the specifics. This obviously requires the kind of proactive approach that has not been witnessed of late in the administration and political leadership. Is it a case of fatigue, or a shift in focus? This is too crucial a phase for a management fallback. Hopefully, cognizance will be taken of these factors before the situation worsens.