Prevent second wavePhysical distancing and use of face masks can avert a large second wave of new infections.
These are burning questions with Covid-19 infections in the country surging for three weeks straight. Still, neither the Oli administration nor the Covid-19 Crisis Management Centre seems to have any answers to contain the second wave and avert any disastrous situation.
Meanwhile, the worst fears of epidemiologists and infectious disease doctors are coming true. Pressure on hospitals has increased as doctors report more seriously ailing patients. Cases are rising among children and the working-age population. At the same time, life continues in the country as if there is no pandemic despite several warnings by the Health Ministry that we need to continue practising physical distancing and wear face masks amid a fragile situation.
Given our fragile situation, it will take both the government and the public to avert a large second wave of new infections, which can jeopardise our economy and social fabric. We are all in this together, and each one of us has a significant role to play. The government must urgently communicate the grave risks and the devastating consequences a second wave can bring. It needs to ensure that the safety protocols are strictly adhered to, or the virus will circulate swiftly and overwhelm our poor health systems.
The public also needs to understand that our situation will only worsen if we do not practise safe behaviour and continue to be callous when wearing masks and practising physical distance. No one is safe unless we are all vaccinated and the vaccines, too, are only capable of preventing severe or life-threatening cases. Studies have shown that implementing public safety protocols can avoid the need for lockdowns, and the lifting of temporary restrictions should be gradual and guided by epidemiological data. A large second wave is preventable. Let’s not ignore science and worsen our situation.