The Southwest Monsoon arrived two days ahead of its normal date, but that was a bit of a respite. Mumbai’s summer was very rude this year. Due to lockdown most of the population stayed at home, huge electricity bills, credit card bills, grocery bills, recovery agent chasing and above all hottest summer.
The India Meteorological Department issued a red alert for Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, and Raigad, which signifies a possibility of ‘Very heavy to extremely heavy rain at isolated places’ but that is fine, our Mumbai knows how to deal with waterlogging.
As usual local train services between Kurla and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus were halted as the water was flowing over tracks between Kurla and Sion railway stations. Traffic was stopped at 9.50 am, the decision taken as a precautionary measure to avoid any untoward incident. If sufficient measures are implemented in terms of social distancing, wearing masks and avoiding crowds, it declines COVID but unfortunately, the elections rallies to Kumbh Mela and above all the celebrations made a surge in cases. When – inevitably – people who never respected social distance, mask-wearing or enhanced hygiene get to stroll about sharing diseases.
People thought they have developed herd immunity and now no virus can affect them and they will easily overcome the virus as they did last year but in reality the previous year we were not saved by any herd immunity or any other measure but only by an early Lockdown which helped in curbing the spread of coronavirus.
This mistake caused the number of cases to rise rapidly and soon it became a burden on an already stressed healthcare system which causes the overexploitation of resources and eventually we ran out of oxygen supply. The government lacked in anticipating the second wave which led us unprepared and under-sourced; sooner we fell short on oxygen, the number of beds, medicines, and medical equipment.
In addition to this people started black marketing of beds, oxygen, vaccines and also plasma by worsening the already worse situation. This caused an increase in the fatality rate as the people who could have recovered started fading due to a lack of oxygen support and other medical facilities.
Soon as the situation normalizes, caution is thrown to the wind. I have seen so many examples I don’t even know where to begin. The only language people in India understand is astral fines and severe lathi-charge breaking their bones. Every time restrictions have been lifted, there is a dramatic surge in cases, but that was before a rollout that has seen the most vulnerable third of the nation protected.
From the figures on reduction of transmission, the impact of idiots assuming if the figures fall COVID19 got bored and wandered off to chase butterflies, ought to be reduced by two thirds. A second wave was predicted from the beginning, and a “lock-down, was only a temporary measure while working out how to handle the virus more sustainably.
The second wave so far seems pretty bad when it comes to the number of cases. However, in terms of overloaded hospitals and mortality, it looks a little better, at least right now. So we got an impression that the virus has done, as most viruses do, and mutated into a less deadly but more virulent version. Now the third wave is approaching.
Vaccine drives are on the rise; sooner or later everything is going to be normal. The first wave halted as a combination of a standing level of immunity in the population and cautionary steps. The second wave started because new opportunities for the spread of the infection came up. When the guard drops, the immunity is sometimes not enough to stop the infection from spreading. Many people get infected until a new threshold of immunity is reached.
Such a second wave is typically larger than the first wave. However, multiple parameters can change in small amounts and add up to a second wave which is much larger than the first wave. In early 2021, a very large number of people all over the world had been infected. As the immunity increases, the virus does not have the opportunity to grow.
Phase three of COVID is inevitable given the high levels of circulating virus, but the time scale is not yet clear. On immunity getting eroded by the evolution of SARS-CoV-2, experts said it is positioned somewhere between measles and influenza. Measles immunity never gets eroded while influenza gets depleted rapidly. The viral evolution of SARS-CoV-2 is somewhere in between but will change.
As new variants of a virus are natural, the existing variants will make way for new variants which may or may not be more virulent, but variants should not make any difference in people’s primary approach to combat Covid-19, which should consist of maintaining social distancing. While in 2019 and 2020, the virus continued to be a generalist, like a key that can be fitted into many locks, the virus in 2021 became much fitter and efficient as it is trying a “hit and run lifestyle” to gain entry to the human body. In the coming days, the virus will become more efficient as immunity; vaccination is building adaptive pressure on the virus.
Useless preventive measures are encouraging local and national leaders in many countries to significantly overstep their boundaries. Sooner or later, probably sooner, the average citizen is going to start rebelling. Governments have lost significant credibility on this issue, and this is leading to real and potential social breakdown.