Virologists, scientists and doctors all over the globe are struggling to understand the novel coronavirus. Many medicines are being experimented against the misleading nature of this virus. Despite groundbreaking advancements in medical sciences, the world is yet to make out the actual mode of transmission, definitive treatment and effective preventive vaccine for the virus. Contrary to what the world assumed, the virus is turning more dangerous and virulent during hot weather.
Kashmir is witnessing a steep rise in symptomatic corona patients. All beds, ventilators and ICUs in the designated Covid-19 hospitals–SKIMS, CDH, SMHS, JLNM–are swarmed with sick patients. The more alarming are the reports of young people with bilateral pneumonia getting admitted in these facilities. Doctors predict that if this spike shows up with the same trend, our medical system is prone to crumble down.
We are already threatened because of the idiocy and callous attitude of people (covidiots) and mishandling of the current situation by the administration. It won’t be an exaggeration to state that we are at the verge of a colossal medical catastrophe. Our limited overburdened hospitals have reached the capacity as Kashmir records the higher infection and hospitalisation rates during last one week.
Seems people here are ignoring the seriousness of the fatal pandemic that has left mercilessly lasting impact on global health and economy. A huge number of people are unnecessarily coming out from homes. Downplaying the severity of Covid-19, people are seen moving without face masks. Exhibiting a very casual attitude towards advisories, people are mocking the concept of social distancing. Justifying their slack attitude towards Covid-19- as herd immunity is a broke medical argument.
As far as the handling of Covid-19 crisis by the administration, the least said the better. The administration never seemed prompt and serious in taking the repeated suggestions of epidemiology experts here. The logic of reopening public places and parks during the worst phase of Covid-19 infectivity and hospitalisation while mosques remain out of bounds for public sounds abysmally bizarre. It is going to take a seismic toll on public health. Mind the voyage of Spanish Flu when after the first spike, people and governments across the countries lowered their guard and the virus came roaring back in its second spike, wiping out millions of people.
Alas, conflict pushes its role in every affair here! During the initial phase of Covid-19 transmission across India, all public and sports events were bunged up except for Khelo India in Kashmir. And today amidst the massive surge in Covid-19 cases all over India, the administration here is inviting devotees for Amarnath Ji Yatra. High altitude and cold weather en route Amarnath Cave is a predisposing factor for respiratory diseases. Any of the devotees being an asymptomatic carrier and false negative for Covid-19 test can’t be ruled out. This condition can be a potential threat to jeopardize the lives of thousands of devotees including people allied with pilgrimage, from security apparatus to civil administration. Even a PIL in Supreme Court filed by Shri Amarnath Barfani Langar Organisation has, given the coronavirus outbreak, asked for restricted access of general public/devotees for the pilgrimage this year and in the alternative sought live darshan through internet and TV “so that crores across the country can have access”.
Bottomline: Various news reports suggest that certain states in India are demonstrating better recovery rate mainly because they have taken many indigenous decisions to keep the transmission and fatality rate low. In Kashmir, it seems pandemic is also being treated politically and policy decisions aren’t based purely over the existing ground realities integral to grim public health concerns. No gainsaying that the bush bureaucracy is a major risk factor for the spread of corona infection, and conflict has a synergistic effect on its virulence. In a way, the new set of circumstances shaped by the pandemic leads to its “instrumentalization” in advancing certain pre-existing agendas.
Right now, it’s still not obvious what the trajectory of the virus will be, but for covidiots like us, breathing corona in a conflict zone, the cruel reality remains—“It’s not just the virus that’s deadly…….!”