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Newest wave

More than a year after COVID-19 rattled Kashmir and the rest of the world, the virus is back with full vengeance, infecting more people than ever. In India, each day, COVID numbers break previous records. Kashmir too is seeing a huge surge with more than 800 cases being reported on a daily basis now. Doctors have already rung alarm bells and fear that the healthcare infrastructure may once again crumble if the numbers keep on rising the way they are. Even though there are a few vaccines to fight the deadly pandemic, their efficacy will only be practically determined when the numbers really show some slump. Here in Kashmir, health workers are particularly concerned as many cases of reinfections are showing up at hospitals. In many such cases, as reported by the newspaper, the patients who were reinfected suffered from bilateral pneumonia and even lung damage with experts saying that if someone was previously infected and had a mild to moderate disease involving the lungs, there may be some level of residual lung damage. Not just cases of re-infection, those who were vaccinated are also contracting the disease since it takes some time for the vaccine to build anti-bodies in a person to fight off the virus. According to doctors, the vaccinated persons should not take things for granted. Though vaccines do make a person less vulnerable, they do not make him or her completely immune. The ongoing vaccination drive against the pandemic seems to have picked pace in Jammu and Kashmir. Data shows that over 11 people have been inoculated in the union territory. The drive has witnessed an increased participation from the public especially after the administration roped in religious and community leaders to create awareness about the disease and emphasize the importance of taking the shot.  Official data reveal that 1179127 people have received vaccine jabs till April 8.  Of whom 607441 are from Jammu, while 571686 are from Kashmir. Of the total people vaccinated, 134125 are healthcare workers, 367248 are frontline workers and 67753 are citizens above 45 years. Since the second COVID wave swept Jammu and Kashmir, there has been an uptake in the vaccination rate in both regions. Around 81660 people were vaccinated on Thursday alone in Jammu and Kashmir. Of whom 43748 are from Kashmir and 37912 from the Jammu division. People above the age of 45 years constituted the biggest bloc of recipients on Thursday. Nearly 77173 citizens above 45 years received the jab on Thursday. Immunization centers have been set up across 20 districts in Jammu and Kashmir. Each person will be administered two doses of vaccines within a month. Every person is closely being monitored after being administered the first dose of the vaccine. Vaccination and strictly following the basic SOPs are the best way to counter this newest coronavirus wave. However worse the situation is, the fact of the matter is that the world is better prepared to deal with this pandemic now than it was last year. One hopes that in the coming weeks, we witness flattening of the curve.