Urgency to save lives stares at state government and administration, any delay may cause a big health-crisis
By Ishwar Krishna Ojha
Jamshedpur: Social distancing, masks and hygienic practices are good measures. They help in containing spread of the virus. But these measures may not be enough in all cases at all times.
In critical cases, where the threat of loss of huge number of lives looms large, as it is witnessed in our city right now, a complete lockdown may be fully warranted and need of the hour.
Jamshedpur, if not the entire state of Jharkhand, is reaching a stage where complete lockdown for at least 2 or 3 weeks would be the only appropriate response to the rapidly rising numbers of fresh cases as well as deaths in the city.
A complete and strict lockdown is not only necessary to save precious lives in the city, it is also necessary to save the economy.
Economy is run by living people. And if the city falls into the gorge of a major health crisis, there would be nothing left to salvage in the name of economy.
Think of it: the first cases of Corona were reported in Jamshedpur in the middle of May. And within a short period of around 3 months, 75 people of this city have lost their lives and the number of positive cases too is raring to cross 3000.
The situation is turning worse every day. People are oblivious of the dangers and the threats lurking around them.
It is clear that only social distancing and mask wearing are not going to help in curbing this tide of deaths and new infections and drastic measures are required at this point.
The world over it has been observed that depending too much on a slowly developing herd-immunity is a dicey option. Many countries, like UK, had initially implemented this idea. But later they had to quickly go back to the policy of lockdowns.
The experience of most of the countries, including China, has been that lockdowns do help in containing the spread of the virus. Even in our own country, the initial lockdown did help in containing the surge.
It is true that lockdowns impact economy adversely. But you need to save people first in order to have an economy.
Since we do not have a vaccine right now and only a few limited options are available to us, including the most drastic option of a complete lockdown, the government and the local administration need to use and mix from these available options judiciously.
The city is at a crucial inflection point. The health infrastructure in the city is completely dependent upon Tata Main Hospital. If there is any surge in the number of cases beyond what it is now, the available infrastructure would not be able to cope with it.
We need to contain the spread of the virus for now.
There are many organisations in the city, including the trade bodies, who have shown willingness to support the government if a lockdown option is considered.
It would be too late if the government and the local administration do not show alacrity.
The situation has now reached a critical point.
The time to impose a complete lockdown in Jamshedpur, if not entire state, has come and this option, even if drastic, must be exercised.