Complacency is proving to be deadly. The ratio of corona-positives in daily tests is again over 25 percent, which means at least one of every four of us has the Covid-19 virus. The total number of covid deaths, meanwhile, has crossed 10,000.
This isn’t a surprise. Under 10 percent of the population is fully vaccinated yet most folks seem to have thrown caution to the wind. Masks are being ditched. Few are now using the once fashionable hand sanitizer. Public vehicles are crowded again.
Yes, the vaccination rate is up, as reportedly around 200,000 a day are being administered. Vaccines are also arriving from abroad in large quantities. Yet that does not mean we are safe. Even the fully vaccinated are showing troubling covid symptoms as the virus continues to mutate. For the rest, they simply don’t seem to care. Having had enough of being locked down in their homes, they are breaking free with abandon. Covid numbers are shooting up all over the country and empty ICU beds are again starting to fill up. Authorities meanwhile seem to be groping for a coherent response.
On August 10, the covid-restrictions in Kathmandu valley were extended till August 24, with a new provision that bars non-essential vehicles from plying after 8 pm. But that means little when nearly all establishments have been allowed to open, in clear violation of the restrictive measures. Our local, provincial, and federal authorities, it appears, are happy to be seen as doing something—anything.
Corona-related restrictions are tricky and hard to get right. Health is important but so is getting back to your professional and academic routines, which, when disrupted for long enough, can invite their own set of challenges. The missing ingredient in effective corona control in the past year and a half was trust. Still, not much is being done to regain that all-important component of the social contract between those governing and the governed. And without it, even the best of plans will fail.