While the numbers are slowing down
More people are going to die even after testing negative and the time has come for Manipur to start considering on how to deal with post-Covid health issues.
Numbers are certainly coming down in the last two weeks. The daily number of Covid-19 positive cases has come down to an average of below 156 positive cases daily except for a spike of 216 on December 6. The daily number of deaths by Covid-19 is also coming down while the recovery rate has increased to 91.16 per cent on Tuesday. This is indeed a moment for breathing space and time to calculate as to how the state should strategize its effort of combatting the pandemic. A 100-bedded Dedicated Covid Block has already been opened in the JNIMS campus at Porompat, besides the other Covid blocks at RIMS and other private hospitals and Covid Care Centres. With winter, we had thought the pandemic would muddy the waters. But, the numbers had luckily come down. However, we cannot afford to be complacent and should continue to abide by the safety measures or appropriate Covid-19 behaviour.
As regards the vaccine, India is not in a position to afford the prohibitive costs of the Pfizer vaccine and the distribution protocols associated with it. So, one has to wait for the indigenous vaccine which is still in the clinical stages of trial before it is rolled out to the general public at large. While waiting for the vaccine, India has already begun a state of preparedness for effective distribution of the vaccine. The Union government is even thinking of utilising the election machinery for vaccine rollout. On the other hand, while we are still struggling hard to deal with the pandemic Covid 19 for lack of adequate health infrastructure and qualified manpower, a nightmare has come to haunt us in the form of post-Covid complications. Even though we are yet to have a Covid hospital till date, the state health department is doing everything to combat the pandemic with whatever resources it has while also complementing the effort with temporary arrangements including Covid Care Centres. We cannot but appreciate the efforts of the department, in spite of certain misgivings and cases of mismanagement which could be overlooked.
The Chief Minister N Biren Singh has retained the Health portfolio in the recent reshuffle and has appointed a health professional and MLA Dr Sapam Ranjan Singh as Health Advisor to the CM to advise him. Dr Ranjan is now directly overseeing the Covid-19 operations and one can certainly feel a perceptible change in the response to the pandemic. Now, deaths due to either co-morbidity or post-Covid complications have already begun to make its presence felt in the over-stressed health infrastructure of the state. Several people including a former minister who have tested negative after hospitalisation have died due to post Covid complications. The writing is on the wall. We all must understand what the Covid-19 does to the insides of the human body once it enters it and even if an able bodied person recovers from the virus and tests negative, long-term effects are always there while it deteriorates the health condition of persons particularly elderly persons with serious ailments. Doctors have confessed that they know how to treat acute Covid patients, but post-Covid treatment is a new area.
So, more people are going to die even after testing negative and the time has come for the state to start considering on how to deal with post-Covid health issues. It seems only a few high-end private hospitals in the national capital are equipped to deal with post-Covid complications in the whole country now, where only the wealthy and powerful can go for treatment. We are talking of the poor and middle class people, who do not have the resources to go for treatment to such high-end hospitals with exorbitant fees for treatment.