R Dutta Choudhury
GUWAHATI, March 15: Everyone should remember the fact that a spark neglected can burn the house and adequate precautions should be taken while attending election rallies as COVID-19 has not yet been eliminated, warned noted epidemiologist and former Vice Chancellor of Srimanta Sankardeva University of Health Sciences, Dr Umesh Chandra Sarma.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Dr Sarma pointed out that several states of the country have started witnessing another spurt in COVID-19 cases and adequate precautions must be taken by everyone. He admitted that it would be difficult for a State like Assam to deal with another public health emergency and that is why, every citizen should be careful.
Dr Sarma pointed out that with the elections to the State Assembly approaching, large numbers of people are attending the rallies organized by the political parties.
But unfortunately, majority of the people are not taking precautions like wearing face masks, which is dangerous, he added. He pointed out that if any person attending a crowded rally is infected, he can infect a number of persons near him and they would, in turn, spread the disease to many more and in such a manner, the situation may go out of control. That is why, every person attending public rallies should wear face masks, he added.
Dr Sarma said that after the elections, the people of Assam would celebrate the Bohag Bihu and if people are not careful, the situation can turn worse. He said that the enforcement agencies should take stringent measures to ensure that all the people attending crowded rallies are forced to wear face masks. “The government recently ordered that anyone not wearing masks would not be allowed to board any flight. Similar orders should be issued to ban any person not wearing masks from attending crowded rallies. Though the number of COVID -19 cases in Assam has come down, we should not be complacent as even deaths due to COVID- 19 are still reported from different parts of the State. We should also remember that if any person is infected, the clinical manifestation of same comes only after a few days,” he added.
Dr Sarma was the first person to take the COVID -19 vaccine in the State and he said that the vaccine is safe and every person should take it whenever his or her turn comes. The vaccine does not give 100 per cent protection from the disease, but it is one of the weapons to combat COVID- 19, he said. He admitted that in a country like India, it may not be possible to vaccinate 100 per cent people, but even if around 80 per cent of the population is vaccinated, that would be adequate to deal with the problem.