Another Covid wave brewing?

| Updated: June 20, 2022 22:20:18

Another Covid wave brewing?

Signs are increasingly becoming prominent that another wave of the Covid-19 pandemic is brewing in the corner. After a long lull, the SARS-Cov-2 is staging a comeback, it seems. Nobody knows for sure what tricks this pathogen has up its sleeve this time. Is it Omicron, which is contagious but less deadly? Or, is it a new variant? One has to wait and see how the infection situation unfolds. Given the increase in the rate of infection--- from less than 1.0 per cent to over 6.0 per cent within a matter of days, it is time for all concerned to be cautious. Citizens need to follow health safeguard measures.

The government, too, needs to be watchful and put the health authorities on alert. There is no denying that with infections remaining below 1.0 per cent and the mortality rate at zero for quite some time, people are in a relaxed mood and engaged in normal economic activities. Not even one per cent of the population, these days, wears masks and maintains other health protocols, as advised by the directorate general of health services. But, there are genuine reasons to be concerned, as the second-largest religious festival of the Muslim holy Eid-ul-Azha is not far away. The movement and mobilization of a huge number of people across the country take place during the event. In a situation marked by a high rate of Covid infections, this will be a risky affair.

Though vaccination does not guarantee full protection against infection, it protects people from severe illness and death to a great extent. So, people who have skipped Covid jabs, deliberately or otherwise, should get the vaccine immediately. If the rate of infections continues to go up, health experts need to find out the reasons for it. This is necessary because more than three-fourth of the population is now vaccinated and the rest are supposed to have developed herd immunity by now. If infections keep on rising with little or no fatality, all activities, economic or otherwise, are expected to go undisturbed.

There should be justifiable reason to be alarmed if both Covid infections and fatalities rise. That would deal a death blow to both people's livelihoods and the country's economy. The latter is amid a recovery mode after a prolonged disruption caused by the pandemic for nearly two years. But factors such as rising inflation both at home and in most other countries, pricier food and fuels in the global market, primarily because of the Russia-Ukraine war, and pressure on foreign exchange reserve together have lately emerged as severe hurdles to the recovery efforts. The global economic prospects also remain clouded with uncertainty and signs of stagflation like that of the 1970s are looming on the horizon. Unless those are noticed and addressed with due earnestness, there could be a full-blown global economic crisis, and Bangladesh might not be able to escape the fallout. In such a situation, the people and the government need to pay due attention to the Covid issue and avoid repeating the mistakes they had committed during the earlier waves of the pandemic.

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