After weathering the initial storm, India has once again descended into COVID-19 chaos.
As the situation across the country continues to be a story of helplessness with humanity pitted against a hideous adversary which has been remorseless in its overwhelming devastation, it lays bare quite a few follies committed by both the government and the public which if consciously attended to in its actual context could have helped reverse the situation.
India is already looking at a future where, if the coronavirus continues to evolve further, the country will not be spared from a third wave of the pandemic which has already swept a few nations like Canada, France and Italy.
The situation at home is not very encouraging either!
Goa today sits in a very precarious position with the daily spike in cases exposing the state’s vulnerability to the unmanageable spread of the disease. Reportedly, Goa tops highest COVID-19 positivity rate in the country today.
The state thus went into a unique sort of lockdown – a ‘weekend special’ detractors called it!
While there is no doubt whatsoever that a strictly enforced total lockdown is the need of the hour in the state to check the escalating COVID cases, but how justified are some of the legislators in demanding that the Pramod Sawant-government extend the present one imposed in its diluted form for another specified period!
From a situation where an unmoved regime was only paying lip service to the idea of carrying out stringent restrictions to curb the malaise of the disease even when the state recorded unprecedented spike in cases, a complete volte-face on its earlier stance on the matter is itself encouraging.
When a lockdown which is being pooh-poohed for its insincerity gets the sort of response that has been reported in parts of the state with citizens enforcing a voluntary lockdown by remaining indoors to break the COVID chain, it is an indication of the fact that gradually people are realizing the seriousness of the situation that they are in.
By taking evasive action to protect itself against the potency of the virus, it is as if the public has come to terms with the enormity of the situation.
With such a scenario in evidence, it is half the battle won for the state which has so far had hardly anything to show for its beleaguered fight against the dreaded microbe.
When, as responsible citizens, people attune themselves to the task of safeguarding their own lives, adhering to safety guidelines will be a natural public response.
While it is quite obvious that it is the panic that has set in in the wake of the marauding virus which has elicited such an ‘enthusiastic’ reaction from the public, it is difficult to understand what exactly refrains people from adopting a more proactive role during such calamities when their own lives are at risk!
Moreover, when it is a question of lives and livelihoods of its people, every government will try to maintain a balance between both while formulating policies during the pandemic.
Even now, the partial lockdown has been imposed with a view on controlling public movement. But the manner in which it has drawn criticism for its illogicality says a lot for the fault-finding attitude of political leaders and people alike whose empty talk only worsens the situation.
It is said that people with premonitions of an impending threat tend to behave irrationally.
But as is evident in Goa, it is an acute awareness about the ravaging effects of the marauding virus which has brought the public back to its senses.
Seen merely as the government’s formal response to the echoing demands for a shutdown in the wake of the spiraling rate of infections witnessed in the state, the weekend essay has however veered off course and manifested itself in a ‘phenomenon’ never before experienced.
As a severe course of action, the imposition of any sort of lockdown was inviting opposition from various sectors for the harm it would cause them economically and otherwise.
Besides, it was as if people were yet to get over the euphoria of the new-found freedom after the harshness of the first lockdown had severely restricted their fondness for ‘social interactions’.
The second wave of COVID is certainly to be ascribed to this slovenly habit of the people for whom, so far, a mood for enjoyment and personal entertainment has preceded any consideration for their safety in the face of the virus scare.
It is this fallacy that the government ought to have addressed in the earlier stages so as to keep the charge of the coronavirus in check.
But amidst the relentless efforts to save the lives and livelihoods of its people, the government has been taking one faulty decision after the other which has led to this overawing situation.
Very clearly, the COVID second wave is a result of negligence. But who exactly is to be blamed!
At one stage it was the government which stood out as the villain of the piece and was accused of watching on helplessly as the situation turned from one which could be controlled to an irremediable one in the state.
But how gracious enough have the people been in admitting that their irrepressible manners have been equally responsible for the state being pushed to the brink of yet another catastrophe!
Amid a scenario where the scarcity of hospital beds, vaccines, medicines and lifesaving oxygen has compounded the woes for an overburdened healthcare system, it is now for the public to strengthen the hands of the government by willing themselves to stay home and avoid the risk of infection.
With COVID-19 fear gripping the state, more local bodies across Goa have commenced imposing voluntary lockdown in their respective areas.
However, as has been suggested, these local lockdowns reflect fear and lack of confidence in the government’s efforts to keep the harmful effects of the virus at bay.
But, need we have waited for so long to understand the urgency of the situation!