Page 6 - April 2021
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          COVID-19 and India
The War is Far From Over
Society is solely to be blamed for rising cases in second wave of the pandemic in India
 n Dr Prachee Sathe
The month of March marked one year of the crippling effect CO- VID-19 has had in India and the rest of the world. India was slightly later on the timeline as compared to China where the infection had originated and quickly spread like wild fire to Europe and the US. It did give us some advan- tage to learn from others. Preventive measures, effective drug therapies kept on evolving and in India we received Remdesivir comparatively early on in the timeline. Preparedness in India as far as public measures, bed availability,
development of indigenous equipment like PPEs, sanitisers and ventilators, learning and modifying our strategies helped us boast of improved recovery and controlled deaths as compared to other countries.
It helped us to make a vaccine avail- able when the first wave of the pan- demic was receding in India. We were optimistic that because of the collective effort of the government and the com- mon man, we would be able to prevent the second wave. But as we experience the second wave, we realise it has come with far more vengeance than the first.
LESSONS NOT LEARNT
It was on January 20, 2020, when our country officially reported its first case. By first fortnight of April, we stood at 13.5 million cases with 1,70,000 deaths. The social and economic impact of coronavirus has paralysed us, and we’re already deep into the second wave
with a consistent rise in the number of cases. And we as a society are solely to blame for it. A lower acceptance of the preventive measures has proved to be a critical game-changer for India, with a staggering number of new cases of COVID-19 rising from the lull.
When COVID-19 reached India last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his first address to the nation on March 19, 2020, appealed to the public to observe physical distancing to prevent infection. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare formulated several wartime protocols to achieve this goal. Moreover, the Indian govern- ment implemented a 55-day lockdown throughout the country that started on March 25, 2020, to reduce the trans- mission of the virus. For a nation with six major religions, 28 states and over 6,00,000 villages, inducing behaviour change amongst the masses was not easy. But we managed.
 6 SCIENCE INDIA APRIL, 2021
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