Time is running out

Representational Image [Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir]

Lab made or natural, it does not matter as long as Covid is infecting and killing us. India is suffering badly and is expected to suffer unimaginably in coming weeks; Kashmir will be no different, rather things might be much worse here. If we don’t act now we may not be far away from witnessing a catastrophe never imagined.

A study by a group of experts has come up with very worrying projections. The COV-IND-19 study group led by US-based bio scientist and epidemiologist at University of Michigan School of Public Health, Dr Bhramar Mukherjee, has come up with projections to describe the outbreak in India. Dr Mukherjee has predicted a peak in the number of new cases reported daily at 8-10 lakhs. Daily coronavirus deaths will peak in the second half of May and are predicted to be around 4,500.

Dr Mukherjee said in her study and in a tweet that there is underreporting of cases in India and everywhere in the world. “We estimate this factor between 10-20 in all our work. Which  simply means if reported cases in J&K on 24th April 2021 was 2030 in actual the case load on that particular day must have been between 20,300 to 40,600. Another Group of scientists at IHME quoted current estimate for the daily underreporting factor is around 15, this tells us only 3 lakh cases are reported but the situation is much worse,” said Dr Mukherjee. She is of the view that imposing strict regional lockdowns, mask mandates, bans on large gatherings, restrictions on inter-state mobility along with increasing vaccination could bring these projections down. “This will not be the last wave, this will not be the last variant, we need cogent and clear public health action plans,” Dr Mukherjee said on social media.

Jammu and Kashmir Perspective

According to her Model the Jammu and Kashmir, by 23rd May 2021 the projected figures are expected to have total of 4,30,186 cases load as against 1,56,344 positive cases on 24-04-2021 (~350% increase). Some key projection pointers from her study are

  • By 1st May J&K  is expected  to have around 4,000 daily cases
  • BY 7th May around 6,300 daily cases
  • By 15th May around 11,800 daily cases
  • By the end of May it is expected J&K will have 13,000 to 15,000 Daily Cases

As per the study by another expert group of studies done by IHME (Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), USA. The projections are more alarming and as per this study. Some key projection pointers from their study regarding Jammu and Kashmir are :

  • Total Deaths in J&K by July 31st 2021  :  9158 -12,589 persons (At peak)
  • Daily Deaths by 24 th June 2021 is expected to be :    122 persons (At Peak)
  • Daily infections or Cases by 31st May :  25,232 to 52,419 (This includes Unreported as well)
  • Our current Hospital resources is expected to  be fully exhausted by 15th April  to 30th April and overburdened after that.

After analyzing these horrific projections and the current situation in other states of India, we cannot escape this fast approaching Deadly 2nd Wave of Covid but the damage can be drastically reduced by some serious interventions by Jammu and Kashmir UT Government and Creating public awareness by Our social, Political, Religious and community leaders among General public to strictly following covid Norms.

Recommendations and suggestions:

  1. For General Public
  2. Stop following unscientific advices and morphed wattsup forwards. Instead do as follows
  3. Keep yourself updated with all latest scientific recommendations regarding covid 19 and follow it in the same way as we normally follow the prescription of a doctor, without asking too many questions especially, why ?
  4. All eligible candidates should go for vaccination immediately.
  5. Follow Covid SOPs strictly.
  6. Avoid going out of homes unless unavoidable
  7. Stock up food items and medicine for attest next 1 month to avoid going out. Impose self lockdown.
  8. Stock up covid related items like PPE kit, masks, sanitizers, disposable gloves, Oximeter, Dettol liquid or any other disinfectant, disposable items like Plates, Bowls etc
  9. Get a sprayer for disinfecting your surroundings within or outside you home.
  10. Suspect everyone as covid positive thus take all precautions.
  11. Don’t create panic but awareness.
  • For Govt of Jammu and Kashmir
  1. Enforce strict lock down.
  2. Monitor situation at micro level may be at every Tehsil or Police station level.
  3. Create Covid facilities at all Public Health Center  with 10 oxygen beds. Create an isolation center in every ward or at Tehsil, but encourage home isolation in mild cases. This will reduce burden on tertiary and specialty hospitals.
  4. Each PHC should have round the clock adequate doctor and nursing staff. Only very sick patients should be referred to specialty or tertiary hospitals.
  5. Specialty and tertiary hospitals should have separate and isolated Covid ICUs, so that normal patients are not put to risk. Continue with normal hospitalization procedures or else deaths will increase by not providing proper treatment to non Covid patients.
  6. Appoint Tahsildar or DSP as nodal officers, attach a team of officials comprising doctors, nurses, paramedic, SMC officials, other required officials for assistance and also create sub Control Room to assist people of this particular region.
  7. Unlock areas as per Police stations, only  if case load does not overburden the health infrastructure present in the area covered under a particular police station. Allow all business activity within the particular unlocked area and gradually increase the periphery of the areas.
  8. Reimpose the lock down once the nodal officer feels cases are rising and healthcare infrastructure within his duration will not withstand further increase of cases.
  9. Locking and unlocking should be a continuous process depending on the number of positive active cases in a particular zone. Unlocking will also incentivize public to follow SOPs and will promote vaccinations as well.
  10. Increase vaccination drive as much as possible.
  11. Immediately stop mass gatherings, social or religious or political. These can be super spreaders.
  12. Make RT-PCR test mandatory for incoming travellers and quarantine them till their report comes negative. They may be carriers of mutated strains.
  13. Involve local communities for smoothly implementing Covid guidelines.

Er. Meraj Gulzar is an IT Entrepreneur and Ex. Chairman (JKICTA)