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Only hope

The tumultuous situation that has unfolded in the last month or so is as unprecedented as shocking it is. More than a year after the virus first hit the world, India is seeing a major health crisis due to it with over 3 lakh people testing positive for it each day and over 2,000 dying of it every 24 hours. These are official numbers and if several media reports are to be believed, these figures are just a tip of the iceberg. There is widespread fear and uncertainty now as against the indifference and careless attitude that many had towards the infection a few weeks ago. It is just that deaths and impact on such a massive scale is bound to shake anyone. Roads, even though there is no lockdown, are seeing lesser and lesser traffic in Kashmir. Markets are witnessing a decreased footfall, and those who are out, most of them are seen wearing a mask and maintaining social distance. The fact that the virus has returned with unthinkable ferocity is making people follow SOPs like they have never before. The numbers are not just worrying, they are bound to sink hearts. In the highest single-day spike, India on Monday reported 3,52,991 Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours taking the case tally to 1,73,13,163. While 2,812 people died of the virus, taking the death toll to 1,95,123. On Monday morning, at least nine people died due to the virus in Kashmir alone. Every second day, J&K is registering a new high in COVID-19 cases and fatality figures. The situation is even dire elsewhere. Hospitals in Delhi and across the country are turning away patients after running out of medical oxygen and beds. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal extended a lockdown in the capital that had been due to end on Monday for a week. Doctors at All India Institute of Medical Sciences have found that one patient is now infecting up to nine in 10 contacts, compared with up to four last year. Maharashtra on Sunday logged 832 Covid related fatalities, which is the highest-ever single-day spike since the pandemic started. With Monday’s count, the death toll in the state has reached 64,760. The six most affected states by total cases are Maharashtra (4,161,676), Kerala (1,322,054), Karnataka (1,247,997), Tamil Nadu (1,037,711), and Andhra Pradesh (997,462), Uttar Pradesh (976,765) and Delhi (956,348). Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended a virtual meeting with all chief ministers to discuss the worrying spike in coronavirus cases in several states. He said that quick and decisive steps need to be taken soon to stop an emerging second “peak” of covid-19 infections. Modi proposed micro-zoning of an area instead of imposing a general lockdown. He also directed states to focus on scaling up testing and contact tracing to curb the covid-19 spread. People must know that their best chance to come unscathed out of this health crisis is to religiously follow all the SOPs and get themselves and their family members vaccinated. SOPs and vaccination are our best options to fight this.