There is an old saying “What goes around, comes around”. When everyone had just started to once again learn the meaning of a free life when people across the country had just come out of the fears of the victimizing lockdowns and curbs when the life was once again returning to its conventional form and people were filled with zeal to witness the dawn of a new era, there again came a twist in the tale. The wrecking force which just obliterated the entire planet the previous year has once again started giving glimpses of its return.
Yes, the novel corona virus, the unstoppable force which sabotaged the whole world and ruined the lives of people across the globe is not gone. It has once again made its return and once again our future lies in the dark. Will history repeat itself? Will there be another series of Lockdowns? The answer to all these questions is in abeyance.
THE SECOND WAVE OF COVID19
The second wave of Covid 19 in India is being indicated by the medical researchers to be more vicious than the previous one. A look at the pandemic situation in other nations suggests the same. Take the USA for example, the country witnessed the peak of its first wave as early as April the previous year. The second wave which was witnessed in July the last year was more severe as the country reported thrice the number of cases it reported in the previous wave.
These statistics are petrifying. While many nations like the USA and South Africa witnessed their second waves last year, India is witnessing it at the very same time at which it observed a sore in the cases the previous year. While the nation recorded an exiguous number of cases during the winter season, the graph of cases started curving upwards by mid of February this year. The virus had gained pace by mid of March with 8 states in a precarious condition and by the end of the Holi season the virus was in its booster mode with 11 states becoming a matter of grave concern and contributing approximately 90% of cases to the nation’s tally.
At present, India has crossed the mark of 1 lakh cases with the country reporting 2,17,353 cases as of 17 April. The nation had breached the 2 lakh mark on 15th April. Maharashtra (63,729) followed by Uttar Pradesh (22,339) and Delhi (16,699) are the major contributors of the virus with about 80% of the total caseload of the nation.
FACTORS AGGRAVATING SEVERITY OF THE SECOND WAVE
As we know COVID 19 is a deadly specimen that is highly communicable and spreads very rapidly as compared to other viruses. Thus social distancing and isolation are some effective measures to evade the virus.
However, in a country like ours with such a dense population density it is extremely difficult to strictly abide by the above two measures and that’s why our society is quite vulnerable to such an epidemic. Apart from this, several other factors have contributed to the plethora of cases. To name a few-
- Laxity on the part of Common man: As we know, the previous year was a harsh one especially for a common man of this nation. A series of Lockdown accompanied by heavy damage to the economy and a plethora of restrictions completely ravished the life of the majority of the citizens and therefore when the lockdown was removed, the people slowly and gradually once again started living their routine life and thereby completely neglecting the essentials of Social Distancing, mask, and sanitization [S-M-S]. This trend is continuing even nowadays. Despite the heavy surge in cases, people are not realising the importance of S-M-S and the guidelines issued by the governments.
- Elections amid the surge in cases– Elections are the lifeline of the political setup of our nation. Be it state elections or the Lok Sabha election the zeal and passion for both are the same. However, elections involve heavy advertisement and the organization of mass rallies by the contesting parties. Both these events attract a large gathering of people and one can witness complete dilapidation of Covid norms both by the common man as well as the politicians. Currently, Assembly elections are going on in West Bengal and Maha panchayat elections are taking place in Uttar Pradesh and they are significantly aggravating the severity of the virus.
- The Kumbh Mela – The Kumbh Mela is a religious event that attracts a massive gathering of Seers and pilgrims from across the country. On April 12, nearly three million people took a dip in the waters of the Ganga at the Kumbh even as Covid-19 cases surpassed all previous records in many states, including the national capital, merely 200 km awa Over 5000 people have tested positive in Haridwar in the past five days.
There is a constant fear that the infected pilgrims will carry back the virus to the towns, villages, and cities across the length and breadth of the country.
WILL WE WITNESS ANOTHER SERIES OF LOCKDOWN?
So the million-dollar question is will there be another streak of national lockdown as we saw last year? The answer to such a simple question is rather quite difficult to answer and has even put the top officials of our nation in a fix. Though lockdown may be one of the most efficacious steps when it comes to breaking the chain of covid cases, we all know what types of problems a lockdown gives rise to. An annihilated economy, exorbitant rate of unemployment, poverty, and misery go hand in hand with a lockdown.
Due to such ill effects of lockdown, the Government is also in a conundrum about the same.
This time the Central Government has given the authority to impose lockdown to the respective State Governments. They can act to the best of their conscience and do what they deem fit for their respective state. Some State Governments like Uttar Pradesh Government have replied with a big NO to the question of a complete lockdown though night curfew in 10 districts and weekend lockdown in all the districts has been imposed in the State.
Also, the Maharashtra Government, which is having a hard time dealing with more than half of the cases of the entire country has too replied in negative to the question of complete lockdown. The State is undergoing a 15-day curfew which started from 14th April. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 have been imposed till May 1.
Thus it is clearly visible that though covid cases are on the rise but the State Governments are quite reluctant in imposing a full lockdown for their respective states and it is quite obvious on their part as they don’t want to undergo the same agony and trauma that they experienced last time.
Thus we can see that coronavirus is back and has now become much more lethal and vicious. The second wave is augmenting at a whopping tempo. India has secured the second position globally in terms of the total number of covid cases with a total of 1,47,88,109 cases of which 18,01,316 are active ones as per the data released by the Union health ministry on 17th April.
The list is currently topped by the USA. However, if things do not get better in the near time we might replace the USA in a short span. With India reporting more than 2 lakh cases for the past 3 days this may be a possible scenario two or three months later.
Currently, India is using 2 vaccines namely the Covishield and the Covaxin for its fight against the virus. Recently the Sputnik V vaccine has also been approved for emergency use authorization in the country. A person needs 2 doses of Covishield or Covaxin to generate enough immunity to protect him or her from the virus. However, it has been seen that people who just got their first shot of vaccine become quite negligent in following the covid norms which they must follow as a single dose cannot grant them indemnity from the coronavirus. Also, there have been few instances where persons even after receiving both the doses get positive for the coronavirus.
Hence it can be concluded that this second wave of coronavirus is highly fatal and obnoxious as compared to its previous configuration. We need to understand that although we have got the vaccines to combat the virus, these vaccines can only grant a limited immunity and they are no elixir that can bestow one with immortality against the virus. Therefore along with the vaccination, we must go back to the basics of social distancing, Mask, and Regular sanitization in order to keep the virus at bay.
Author(s) Name: Shivanshu Dwivedi (Faculty of Law, University of Lucknow)