In the biggest jump so far, India recorded 2,95,041 fresh Covid cases on Tuesday, taking the total number of active cases to 21,57,538. The number of Covid related deaths on Tuesday surged by 2,023, taking the total death toll since last year to 1,82,553. Till now 13.01 crore vaccinations have been given across India.
The figures are indeed frightening. The number of daily Covid cases may touch 3 lakh by Thursday, given the speed at which the Coronavirus pandemic is spreading. In his address to the nation on Tuesday night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi admitted that the pandemic has swept the nation like a storm (toofan), but he called on people not to lose heart in these times of adversity. "We will take the steps that we need to take without losing courage. That is how we will win", Modi said.
He called on youths to form committees in their localities to ensure that the Covid-19 discipline is followed by everybody. Modi asked the states to keep lockdown as a measure of last resort. He asked state governments to persuade migrant workers to return to their workplaces, and assure them that they will be vaccinated and they will not lose jobs. Modi said the Centre, states and the private sector are joining hands to ensure that medical oxygen is available to every hospital that requires it to save patients.
Modi’s address will definitely raise the morale of the common people which is presently at a low ebb due to widespread pandemic. I join the PM in appealing to people to form local committees to ensure that Covid guidelines are followed strictly and the Coronavirus chain is broken at the earliest. Modi’s words will surely ease tension in the minds of daily wage earners and labourers, who are fearing a bleak future in view of lockdowns.
The Prime Minister did not try to conceal facts from the people, he admitted that the challenge was huge, lakhs of people are suffering due to lack of oxygen, ventilators, medicines and hospital beds. The moot point in his address was: Let us all have patience, we will fight this battle together and shall win.
Meanwhile, the oxygen crisis at some of the top Delhi hospitals was resolved late on Tuesday night with the arrival of oxygen tankers at LNJP, GTB and other hospitals. At Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, 10,500 cubic metres of oxygen has been supplied till this morning, but this will last only till 9 am on Thursday. Indian Oxygen and Inox have promised to send more oxygen tankers today, said a hospital spokesperson.
It is true that due to a sudden surge in the number of Covid patients seeking admission to Delhi hospitals, an oxygen crisis took place. The hospitals were not prepared to face such an eventuality. The coming week is the most vital part when the pandemic will at its peak in Delhi. According to Dr N.K.Ganguly, former ICMR chief, the virus has almost reached its peak in Delhi, and if the lockdown holds, the number of daily cases may register a slight decline. Even the USA had faced similar positivity and death rates, and later the curve dipped.
Experts hope that by the second week of May, the pandemic curve will become flat and then dip. Dr Yudhvir Singh of AIIMS also believes that the Covid surge is bound to dip by the end of last week of April, as it is now at its peak, posting a 33 per cent positivity rate.
Meanwhile, the Centre on Tuesday night announced that all imports of Remdesivir API, injections and their inputs have been made duty free. This will help in increasing the supply of this vital medicine at an affordable cost. With the Centre allowing mass vaccination of people above the age of 18 years, the field is now open. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal had promised to vaccinate every Delhite within 3 months if the 18-plus age limit was approved. Let us wait and see whether this aim is achieved.
My view about the present stage of the pandemic is this: WE MUST NOT PANIC. Staying at home is the most secure way of combating this scourge. Those who wear masks will surely protect themselves from the virus. Last year, we noticed how we, as a nation, succeeded in beating this pandemic by sticking to Covid guidelines, but then lethargy and a sense of irresponsibility and fatigue set in.
It is also true that the latest virus is a double mutant which is deadly and spreads faster. But our doctors have acquired the expertise to deal with such variants. And already, their efforts are yielding results. Doctors say, we can win this battle within the next two or three weeks if all of us follow Covid guidelines strictly. India shall win and Corona will lose.
From May 1, the vaccination drive will begin on a war footing in India. Like Israel, which has vaccinated more than half of its population and has allowed the opening of schools and lifting of restrictions on wearing masks, a day will come soon, when we, in India, will be doing the same. Our nation is vast, spread across hills and vales, plains, deserts, marshlands and forests, amidst undulating landforms, hosting 137 crore people. It is a gigantic task. Of course, it will take time to vaccinate every Indian, but be sure: we shall win, all the restrictions will then be removed. Do not lose courage. There is this beautiful song: Man Me Hai Vishwas, Poora Hai Vishwas, Hum Hongey Kaamyaab Ekdin.
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