Akeel Rashid

Where are we in the fight against coronavirus?

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The administrators are looking at numbers and not treatments. The numbers lead to the question: What should we do about the pandemic? And treatment leads to: What is happening with the pandemic?

The “PLEASE STAY AT HOME FOR US” phrase often affixed to the tweets posted by medical officials sound like grandiose. The phrase has a tempting appeal as it convinces us to believe that “staying at home” is the panacea to COVID-19. If that’s the case, I think we’re already halfway there. Here is how: We are all right here at our homes. Nobody is going anywhere. The people are following stay at home directives obediently and there are very few breaches whatsoever in this regard. Amid the ongoing lockdown, authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have been able to get a level of cooperation from people that authorities of other parts of the country couldn’t. Unfortunately, lockdown alone won’t do it: Shelter in place is the most indispensable part of the struggle against coronavirus but it’s not the be all and end all – as a back-of-the-envelope assessment of ongoing pandemic suggests it. The behaviour of the virus varies from country to country, so far not a single nation state has declared itself coronavirus-free. China’s lockdown strategy was considered to be the most effective model to check the spread of coronavirus and the country recently claimed that it had brought the virus “well under control”. However, it reported new coronavirus cases on Sunday. As I write this, global cases of coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins, exceeded 1.2 million. A baffling question remains: What happens after the first lockdown?

Readers, please note!

As we keep saying, we are all in this together so in that sense what I have pointed out in this article is in the spirit of being constructive. Above all, the stakes are too high today and it is more important than ever to question the authorities.

Moving beyond self-applauding

I think that everybody recognizes the extraordinary and exemplary work of frontline workforce in J&K. The spirit of cooperation exhibited by the people is commendable. We need to move beyond self-applauding and be sure that we all have signed up to fight selflessly against coronavirus – and without getting emotional about it we can do better. A little self-back-patting is appreciated. However, we should remember that nobody is doing any favour to anyone by staying at home or at the frontline. We are fulfilling such obligations because they’re part and parcel of our survival. Speaking of which, it is the responsibility of the citizens to continue to do what they are doing and also responsibility of those at the frontline to continue their unflinching work. This fight is all of us against the virus.

So where are we in the fight against coronavirus?

The overarching role being played by bureaucracy is important in these times of crisis, but that’s not enough. Every day, the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus is rising in J&K. Official tweeter handles are being updated and breakdowns of new cases are delivered during press briefings but the data alone cannot provide the full picture of coronavirus situation. Data isn’t just data as it can’t exist without context and only medical professionals can put this data into context. Unfortunately, this is not happening yet. There are no first-hand medical inputs coming from senior doctors who are in charge of the Covid-19 situation in J&K, they are emulating the bureaucrats by resorting to information sharing on tweeter with no medical or scientific background. Their job is to organize and analyze the accessible information in order to help policymakers get ahead of the Covid-19 pandemic. They are the ones who understand virality and thereof can make wide-sweeping predictions about coronavirus. The administrators are looking at numbers and not treatments. The numbers lead to the question: What should we do about the pandemic? And treatment leads to: What is happening with the pandemic? The question related to the treatment needs to be urgently addressed, by the health professionals, alongside the question of numbers being already addressed by administrators.

Also Read : To be blunt: World, for now, is helpless in the face of Coronavirus

Tailpiece

If the government is not ready to allow the doctors to make comments in personal capacity, why doesn’t it create a platform for medical professionals so that they can keep people up-to-date on the situation?

We are missing out on some important lessons that this situation is teaching us. The medical and scientific data needs to be properly documented so that might be used in the future for dealing with similar kind of situation. We have to save lives and also all the details of this pandemic.

The author can be reached at akeelsofi@gmail.com

 

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