That scientists have not yet been able to put a pattern on its behaviour is a clear indication that Covid-19 is an inscrutable and eccentric novel coronavirus. It has also shown itself to be capable of mutating into different forms, which gives rise to the fear that not only are the new variants more infectious, they might also prove less susceptible to neutralization by antibodies. Many nations across the world are experiencing renewed waves and the death toll continues to increase globally. Much of this is not only due to the unpredictable nature of the virus, but also the fact that humanity is apparently suffering from ‘Covid fatigue’ and is gradually discarding the protocol which had been laid down by scientists. As far as India is concerned, given her huge population and human density in urban areas, the havoc wrought by the coronavirus could have been far worse, yet the figures so far, around one lakh sixty thousand deaths, is tragic enough. Ominously, this figure might be destined to become even higher, given that indications are rife another wave of Covid-19 might be in the offing. The nation detected 35,871 cases of the novel coronavirus last Wednesday, the single biggest spike witnessed in quite a few months. At least 172 deaths were reported on that day, while the number of active cases had increased to more than 2.52 lakh.
So grave seems to be the situation, especially in a State like Maharashtra, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has had to engage in another virtual meeting with Chief Ministers of the States and call for ‘quick and decisive steps’ to stop the emerging ‘second peak’ of the Covid-19 pandemic. No doubt guided by expert advice, the PM had stressed on the potential seriousness of the situation and listed some steps that States must immediately take to nip a second wave in the bud. In the first wave the rural sector had been less severely impacted, but Modi pointed out that if the virus reached tier 2 and tier 3 cities, then it could also enter villages, making handling of the surge very challenging. By now the entire nation has opened up for travel and the number of people travelling has also increased, which makes imperative creation of a mechanism for sharing information on travel among the States. Since mutant strains such as the UK, South African and the Brazilian variants have been identified in the nation, Modi stressed the need to identify such mutants of coronavirus and engage in track and trace operations to contain their harm potentials. The Prime Minister also flagged multiple concerns emerging from the inoculation drive, stressing upon increasing the number of vaccination centres, taking corrective steps to reduce vaccine wastage, and augmenting RT-PCR tests with special focus on smaller cities that are witnessing a surge.