BHOPAL: Rise in corona cases and deaths has left Bhopalites jittery. Fear of situation going out of hands is lurking in their mind. The fast pace of the virus spread, they feel, can be checked only if people pay heed to warnings and follow precaution. They also feel that a way should be found to ensure that battle against disease does not lead to loss of livelihood.
Excerpts from their conversations with Free Press:
Shibani Sharma, state coordinator, The Hunger Project, Madhya Pradesh
Basic problem is that we lack adequate medical infrastructure, In Bhopal, for example, just 60 beds are now vacant in three Covid Care Hospitals. There are only 300 ventilators. The number of Covid patients in the city may cross 6,000-mark by July-end. How will we deal with the surge. I feel that private medical institutions have not been proactively involved. Rural areas are facing another kind of problem. ANMs, ASHA workers and other frontline health personnel have been deployed for Covid-related duties. Hence, they are unable to perform their actual job of taking care of mothers and children. I fear that a silent health crisis is looming in rural areas. Malnourishment would increase and Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) would shoot up.
Mahaveer Singh, former director, AIR, Bhopal.
The government is urging people to follow certain precautions. The problem is that neither the guideline is implemented strictly nor is followed sincerely by people. The pandemic is growing by the day. Months have passed but we neither have a medicine nor a vaccine for the disease. One good thing is that fatality rate in India is low. I think the pandemic has already reached the last stage and hopefully, cases would automatically start coming down soon.
Babita Agrawal, Professor
The rise in cases indicates community transmission. Some of the suggested precautions are not practical. How can we maintain physical distance of six-feet at public places? Members of the middle and upper-classes can afford to stay at home. But can a daily-wager afford it? The guidelines are changing by the day. We have a large number of illiterate people and they cannot access newspapers and social media to know what they are supposed to do. People are angry and scared both. Scared because they fear for their lives and angry because they feel that the disease was brought into the country by the elite class and they have been forced to pay its price. A strategy should be evolved to control the disease and protect livelihood.
Narayan Vyas, archaeologist
The government is doing whatever it can. People also need to realise their responsibility. Wearing a mask or washing hands are not difficult things to do. The elderly are confined to their homes for several months now. That is creating psychological problems. Some way should be found to deal with it. The well-offs should help the poor and vulnerable in this crisis.
Govind Vishwas, artist
The situation is worsening by the day. I am staying at Jabalpur now and I do not even go to the neighbourhood shops because there are elderly and children in the family. We all should try not to waste money, we should exercise self-control. There is no need to feel depressed. One should not give up hope. One should remain positive. The job situation would improve once the pandemic abates.