Opinion

Laxity in Covid protocols may lead to severe consequences


Published : 19 Jan 2022 11:16 PM

The Delta variant has been wrea­king havoc worldwide since the Corona horror began in 2020. Many people have died in almost every country in the world. Many people have recovered, and even after recovering, many people are still suffering from various physical ailments. Again, many have recovered very quickly. With the development of COVID-19 vaccine in late 2020s in a desperate effort by scientists, there was a growing sense of hope among people around the world that the vaccine could protect themselves against coronavirus infection. Different companies have invented different types of vaccines. A large portion of the world's population has already been vaccinated.

The Delta variant of COVID-19 caused a worldwide panic when the vaccine was introduced. Delta variant infections killed more people in 2021 than in 2020. Even the number of infected people was high. Subsequent vaccinations and various efforts resulted in the Delta infection slowly weakening towards the end of last year.

After August 2021, the infection rate was under control until mid-December. But in November 2021, the Omicron variant, identified in South Africa, began to spread in different countries in a very short time. Outbreaks appear to be exacerbated by December in almost all countries, including most European countries, the United States and the United Kingdom. 

Although health experts initially thought that the Omicron variant would be more dangerous than the Delta. Subsequent studies have shown that although the infection rate in this variant is much higher, it has a lower risk of death and a lower hospitalization rate. Fear of this variant began to wane among people worldwide after the results of such research were published.

As a result, instead of complying with the Corona safety rules, people began to show reluctance to comply, and the infection rate spread rapidly. Various European countries, including Spain, have been thinking to declare Corona as endemic rather than a pandemic. Even in the UK, the health minister has hinted at such a decision. 

However, the situation in Corona in South Asia remained under control till December 2021. But from the beginning of 2022, the situation began to change very fast. The situation in India has taken a terrible turn in the last two weeks. More than 5 lakh patients have been identified in India in two days. In Bangladesh, the rate of daily patient infection has increased from 2 per cent to 21 per cent in the last week.

For the sake of argument, even if we assume that the risk of dying from the Omicron variant is much lower, we need to keep in mind that as the number of Corona infected patients in the country increases, its effects will begin to be felt in various other sectors. If we look at the United States, we will see that about 5 million patients have been identified in the United States in a few days. There is a record of identifying more than 11 lakh patients in one day. In the United States, 1 lakh 25 thousand patients have been admitted to the hospital in one day. The death rate has also increased there. 

Most importantly, there is a negative situation in food transportation in the United States because 25 per cent of truck drivers are already infected with Corona. Corona has affected many drivers involved in the transportation of goods in various countries, including the United States, Europe and Australia, which has created a kind of threat in the field of food transport - which we need to think seriously.

The situation is similar in our neighboring country India. If more than two and a half lakh patients are identified every day and if 2 per cent of the infected patients need to be admitted to the hospital, the number of patients in ten days will be out playing the overall number of seats in Indian hospitals. With this, if the employees of other sectors, including transport, are infected, then the widespread catastrophe of the country is inevitable. Despite the increase in the number of patients in Bangladesh in the last few days, a reluctance has been noticed among the people to abide by the Corona safety rules. Last week, the government issued 11-point directives to control the situation, effective from January 13. 

People are still not wearing masks on the roads and walking without maintaining social distance. Despite instructions from the government to carry passengers in 50 per cent seats on public transport, bus owners have announced to run buses with 100 per cent passengers. Even though the passenger must bring two vaccination certificates, various media outlets have reported that the necessary steps have not been taken to implement the directive. As a result, although multiple types of prohibitions have been imposed, no measures have been taken so far to comply with and enforce them. If such a decision is not implemented strictly, the situation will change very soon. Then the situation could again take a terrible shape like March to July last year.

There is no denying that it is very difficult for the government to deal with it. Because on the one hand, the government has to consider the issue of public health; in the same way, the government has to think about keeping the economy afloat. 

The most successful way to control the spread is to enforce lockdown. If the lockdown is implemented, many people - who live from hand to mouth - will go through hardships. Then the overall responsibility falls on the government. Although under the able leadership of Hon'ble Prime Minister, Bangladesh has successfully dealt with the first and second wave of Corona in the last two years, it is not only the government that needs to take measures to deal with the third wave of emissions and the citizens have to discharge their responsibility as well. 

The government of Bangladesh is indeed in a much better position than many other countries in the world in terms of immunization. About half of the people in our country have taken one dose of vaccine, and over 50 million people have taken the second dose. Even the buster dose of vaccines has been given to people in their sixties who have taken two doses of the vaccines and front liner fighters. Vaccination activities for university students are almost complete. Vaccination activities for children between the ages of 12 and 17 are in full swing. From this point of view, it can be said that since the vaccination activities are going on properly in the country, it will provide resistance against infection. However, despite the government's call, a large section of the population has so far shown reluctance to be vaccinated. If this group is infected, they will infect everyone in the neighborhood, including the family.

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The bottom line is that the situation could spiral out of control at any time as there is less fear among the people about Omicron. The World Health Organization has already stated that there is no reason to consider Omicron as a common virus. To win against Omicron in the light of the experience of the last two years, we all need to be committed to adhering to the Corona safety rules. We have to remember that we have to move forward with Corona as no one can say that Corona will end this year. 

Therefore, if life, economy and livelihood are to take on, we must go along with Corona. The most important thing in this walk is to follow the corona safety rules. By wearing masks, washing hands frequently and maintaining social distance, we can protect Bangladesh from the onslaught of the third wave.

The Delta variant has been wrea­king havoc worldwide since the Corona horror began in 2020. Many people have died in almost every country in the world. Many people have recovered, and even after recovering, many people are still suffering from various physical ailments. Again, many have recovered very quickly. With the development of COVID-19 vaccine in late 2020s in a desperate effort by scientists, there was a growing sense of hope among people around the world that the vaccine could protect themselves against coronavirus infection. Different companies have invented different types of vaccines. A large portion of the world's population has already been vaccinated.

The Delta variant of COVID-19 caused a worldwide panic when the vaccine was introduced. Delta variant infections killed more people in 2021 than in 2020. Even the number of infected people was high. Subsequent vaccinations and various efforts resulted in the Delta infection slowly weakening towards the end of last year. 

After August 2021, the infection rate was under control until mid-December. But in November 2021, the Omicron variant, identified in South Africa, began to spread in different countries in a very short time. Outbreaks appear to be exacerbated by December in almost all countries, including most European countries, the United States and the United Kingdom. 

Although health experts initially thought that the Omicron variant would be more dangerous than the Delta. Subsequent studies have shown that although the infection rate in this variant is much higher, it has a lower risk of death and a lower hospitalization rate. Fear of this variant began to wane among people worldwide after the results of such research were published.

As a result, instead of complying with the Corona safety rules, people began to show reluctance to comply, and the infection rate spread rapidly. Various European countries, including Spain, have been thinking to declare Corona as endemic rather than a pandemic. Even in the UK, the health minister has hinted at such a decision. 

However, the situation in Corona in South Asia remained under control till December 2021. But from the beginning of 2022, the situation began to change very fast. The situation in India has taken a terrible turn in the last two weeks. More than 5 lakh patients have been identified in India in two days. In Bangladesh, the rate of daily patient infection has increased from 2 per cent to 21 per cent in the last week.

For the sake of argument, even if we assume that the risk of dying from the Omicron variant is much lower, we need to keep in mind that as the number of Corona infected patients in the country increases, its effects will begin to be felt in various other sectors. If we look at the United States, we will see that about 5 million patients have been identified in the United States in a few days. There is a record of identifying more than 11 lakh patients in one day. In the United States, 1 lakh 25 thousand patients have been admitted to the hospital in one day. The death rate has also increased there. 

Most importantly, there is a negative situation in food transportation in the United States because 25 per cent of truck drivers are already infected with Corona. Corona has affected many drivers involved in the transportation of goods in various countries, including the United States, Europe and Australia, which has created a kind of threat in the field of food transport - which we need to think seriously.

The situation is similar in our neighboring country India. If more than two and a half lakh patients are identified every day and if 2 per cent of the infected patients need to be admitted to the hospital, the number of patients in ten days will be out playing the overall number of seats in Indian hospitals. With this, if the employees of other sectors, including transport, are infected, then the widespread catastrophe of the country is inevitable. Despite the increase in the number of patients in Bangladesh in the last few days, a reluctance has been noticed among the people to abide by the Corona safety rules. Last week, the government issued 11-point directives to control the situation, effective from January 13. 

People are still not wearing masks on the roads and walking without maintaining social distance. Despite instructions from the government to carry passengers in 50 per cent seats on public transport, bus owners have announced to run buses with 100 per cent passengers. Even though the passenger must bring two vaccination certificates, various media outlets have reported that the necessary steps have not been taken to implement the directive. As a result, although multiple types of prohibitions have been imposed, no measures have been taken so far to comply with and enforce them. If such a decision is not implemented strictly, the situation will change very soon. Then the situation could again take a terrible shape like March to July last year.

There is no denying that it is very difficult for the government to deal with it. Because on the one hand, the government has to consider the issue of public health; in the same way, the government has to think about keeping the economy afloat. 

The most successful way to control the spread is to enforce lockdown. If the lockdown is implemented, many people - who live from hand to mouth - will go through hardships. Then the overall responsibility falls on the government. Although under the able leadership of Hon'ble Prime Minister, Bangladesh has successfully dealt with the first and second wave of Corona in the last two years, it is not only the government that needs to take measures to deal with the third wave of emissions and the citizens have to discharge their responsibility as well. 

The government of Bangladesh is indeed in a much better position than many other countries in the world in terms of immunization. About half of the people in our country have taken one dose of vaccine, and over 50 million people have taken the second dose. Even the buster dose of vaccines has been given to people in their sixties who have taken two doses of the vaccines and front liner fighters. Vaccination activities for university students are almost complete. Vaccination activities for children between the ages of 12 and 17 are in full swing. From this point of view, it can be said that since the vaccination activities are going on properly in the country, it will provide resistance against infection. However, despite the government's call, a large section of the population has so far shown reluctance to be vaccinated. If this group is infected, they will infect everyone in the neighborhood, including the family.

The bottom line is that the situation could spiral out of control at any time as there is less fear among the people about Omicron. The World Health Organization has already stated that there is no reason to consider Omicron as a common virus. To win against Omicron in the light of the experience of the last two years, we all need to be committed to adhering to the Corona safety rules. We have to remember that we have to move forward with Corona as no one can say that Corona will end this year. 

Therefore, if life, economy and livelihood are to take on, we must go along with Corona. The most important thing in this walk is to follow the corona safety rules. By wearing masks, washing hands frequently and maintaining social distance, we can protect Bangladesh from the onslaught of the third wave.


Dr. Pranab Kumar Pandey is a Professor of Public Administration at the University of Rajshahi.