Though the number of persons testing Covid-positive has shown some signs of stabilization in the past few days, the overall situation in Assam appears to be moving from bad to worse. This has started ringing alarm bells, with the new BJP-led alliance government headed by Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma gradually increasing the daily curfew hours and imposing one new restriction after the other. The number of containment zones has also risen in the past few days at a fast pace. To tackle the situation, the new government has stepped up the creation of several new Covid-treatment facilities, while several oxygen plants have been established in different hospitals across the state. With all offices and establishments – both government and non-government – shut down, and all markets and other business Though the number of persons testing Covid-positive has shown some signs of stabilization in the past few days, the overall situation in Assam appears to be moving from bad to worse. This has started ringing alarm bells, with the new BJP-led alliance government headed by Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma gradually increasing tctivities practically coming to a halt, the common people are once again entering a very difficult phase of their lives. The plight of the daily-wagers is the most pathetic. Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, who had, as the then Health and Finance Minister of Assam, earned countrywide accolades for wonderfully handling the pandemic situation in 2020, is facing the biggest challenge in contemporary times. Eyes of the entire country are fixed on him, waiting to see how he steers Assam out of the current and second phase of the pandemic. Fortunately for him, the Centre has been very generous in providing vaccines and other support to Assam. Meanwhile, there have been demands from various circles that the government should take care of the supply of food and other essential items of the poor section of the society. Similarly, there is also an increasing clamour for further intensifying the vaccination campaign, preferably through a door-to-door campaign.
But then, amid the deteriorating situation in Assam, the good news is that the devastating second Covid wave in the country as a whole is appearing to have turned a corner for good. As of Sunday, the seven-day average of daily cases has fallen for seven days in a row. The nationwide positivity rate over the previous seven days has also dipped below 20 per cent, while the number of active cases has also decreased by more than 1.5 lakh during this period. It has been said that although the average daily fatalities have dipped during the weekend, deaths may stay high for some more time across the country. Though there has been a marginal dip in the average daily Covid deaths, the average however continues to be still around 4,000. The other indicators are looking positive although these may still not be accurately reflecting the massive Covid crisis in India's rural landscape because of low testing. It is also encouraging to see that the national test positivity rate (TPR) has significantly dipped in the previous seven days. The national test positivity rate (TPR) for May 8-14 stood at 19.5% as against 22.4% for May 1-7. According to the Union Health Ministry, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh, which are recording a high number of Covid cases, are also reporting a decline in active cases in the past week. Twenty-four states on the other hand have a Covid positivity rate of more than 15 per cent while Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Daman and Diu, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh have reported a major drop in case positivity. India, however, was still ranked second in Asia in terms of Covid positivity rate (given as a rolling 7-day average) after Nepal which had shown an exorbitantly high positivity rate of 46.7 per cent as of May 13. It is also important to note that 10 states account for 85 per cent of the total Covid cases in the country. While 11 states have over one lakh active Covid cases, 17 states have less than 50,000 cases while eight have active cases between 50,000 and one lakh. All that one can say now is that tough times don't last long, tough people do. According to the Union Health Ministry, the lockdown has started paying dividends in Maharashtra and Delhi, whose improving situation has inspired confidence that lockdowns and stricter curbs on public movement help. Lockdowns have been successful and have yielded results in big cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru, where there has been a decline since the last couple of days. As such, Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma has to be tough, his Health Minister Keshab Mahanta has to be tough, and above all, the people themselves have to remain tough to steer through the tough time which has already begun.