India is writing history these days.
With new surges of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) taking place in several countries once again, India is now recording approximately 400,000 fresh cases each day. In a report published by Reuters, it took 10 months for India to reach its first million cases and just a mere four months to explode to 10 million. The current tally of cases in India is already at 20 million.
How it got to this point can be attributed to the following decisions:
1. Leaders – particularly those in the national government, failed to declare in a timely manner a national lockdown;
2. Due to the upcoming elections, political rallies were held; parallel religious festivities and gatherings were allowed; and
3. No strict health protocols in place as evidenced by largely unmasked people attending such events.
This surge in cases is rising exponentially day-by-day. This comes at a time too when India – by far considered as having the world’s biggest vaccine making capabilities – is suffering from a vaccine supply problem and hence is similarly failing in inoculating its citizenry against the virus.
We can learn a thing or two in India to prevent all of us from experiencing the same:
1. Understand that surges happen, and such happen due to in-country activities;
a. Our national elections will be happening May of 2022
b. Election campaign to start February of 2022
c. Religious holidays (Ramadan, Christmas, among other)
d. Community pantries that are physically stationed in different parts of the country where people flock to get goods
2. Acknowledging these potential surges should help us create stricter protocols on top of the minimum/baseline health protocols; and
3. Realistically plan out the vaccine deployment and forecast herd immunity achievement. This is a tough act to do to be honest, especially when processes differ from one local government unit to another, systems get choked along the way, and vaccine supply becomes uncertain due to changing government advisories.
It is imperative that as a barangay, a sector or community – we are really going down to the last mile here – that we remain conscious and cautious of these potential surges, or superspreader events in order to avoid cases increasing. Up to now there is no news on how election campaign (or rallies, God forbid) may be done in this pandemic, but let us be wary of anything that may be done in a physical manner. In fact, there should be a move to do campaigns differently this time. Food for thought: as of 2019, Statistica reported that there is an estimate 74 million Filipino Facebook users, with the 18 to 24 years old segment as the largest group base at 24 million. There goes your crowd.
At the end of the day, there will be policies and there will be business that will remain open.
The decision then is really up to us. We must do our part and think twice before leaving our homes to go to the next potentially crowd-attracting activity (just because we want to help). Given that the Covid-19 vaccine deployment is still not at its peak, and with vaccine supply not guaranteed, what we can do for now is to stay put, work from where we are, maximize the use of technology and arm ourselves with knowledge of what’s happening around the world and ride this out until we survive. Let us learn from this and remember the lesson so we do not repeat history.
Kay Calpo Lugtu is the chief operating officer of Hungry Workhorse, a digital and culture transformation firm. Her advocacies include nation building, sustainability education and financial literacy. The author may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org