History Can Repeat
People slowly started letting their guards down with Covid-19 cases eventually declining towards the end of last year and governments reciprocating to it by relaxing restrictions that were in place for months to contain the spread of the disease. Then social gatherings, including political and religious, were allowed and all public spaces were opened. But the public as well as the lawmakers appeared to have mistaken the lull for victory over the disease, as was evident from carelessness displayed almost everywhere. The country is now paying the price for its utter negligence over the past few months. The second wave has turned out to be way stronger than the first one with India recording more than 1.5 lakh new cases daily for days now. As many as 1,61,736 new cases and 879 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, while active caseload crossed 1.2 million-mark on Tuesday. The Union Ministry stated that 10 states account for 80.80% of the new cases reported in the country but that doesn’t mean the rest of the states are safe. With inter-state travelling allowed, it is just a matter of time before the virus spreads to unaffected parts of the country. Nobody is completely safe till everybody is safe in this fight against the invisible enemy. This brings us back to the need to follow at least the basic safety measures such as wearing of mask, regular hand washing, social distancing and staying away from crowded places, besides getting vaccinated. When these protocols are flouted, it is inevitable for Covid cases to increase.
While it is understandable when people are eager to get back to normal life, it is difficult to comprehend why most people failed to learn from the hardships faced last year due to the pandemic-induced lockdown. It was clear from the past experience that the virus could be kept at bay by adhering to safety measures that everyone must be aware of by now. But when Covid-safety measures are disregarded by the same people who preached about it to the public, the task of controlling the public gets tougher. The images and video clips of thousands of people gathering during the election campaigns in several states that went to polls made a mockery of Covid safety measures. Elections are an essential part of democracy but it should have been done without disregarding Covid-appropriate behaviour. It was an opportunity for candidates, campaigners and leaders to lead from the front in following safety and set an example for the rest to follow but they failed to make use of it. But if the cases continue to increase and the need to impose restrictions arises, this laxity shown during political campaigns will make the task of convincing the public to follow safety measures harder. Some states that are witnessing rapid rise in Covid cases have started imposing restriction like night curfew to curb its spread. If complacency continues, history could repeat. Another lockdown can’t be ruled out.