Wages Of Misplaced Priorities
IT is a doomsday-like scenario prevailing in the country with a daily cataclysmic surge of around 3.5 lakh COVID cases. Switch on any Indian TV news channel and what we witness are pathetic scenes in overcrowded hospitals of patients fighting for survival for want of oxygen, ventilators, and lifesaving drugs which have disappeared from the pharmacies and sold in the black market at high rates. Over 2,500 people are dying everyday. Hospitals are running full, while a few have kept their doors shut and even sent home in-patients for want of oxygen. Long queues of ambulances are seen outside hospitals, as patients wait for hours to get admitted and some even die in the process for lack of oxygen and timely treatment. An emergency-like situation has now arisen in the country due to the collapse of our health services and hospitals crying out for help with their SOS and the inability of people to help. It is a pity that the second COVID wave has caught the Centre off guard and woefully unprepared, despite all the time in the world to plan, execute and stockpile adequate quantities of medicines, oxygen, ventilators and vaccines. We ought to have started this exercise long back when there were warning signs of the emergence of a second wave. However, our priorities seemed to lie elsewhere. The price we are paying today is here for everyone to see. We have run out of vaccines at this critical stage, and many vaccine centres are forced to remain shut as a result. Thanks to the help offered by the UK, the US, Germany, Russia and Gulf countries. We can now fight the pandemic unitedly.
A F NAZARETH, ALTO PORVORIM
Apocalyptic Times For Humanity
MANY of us, especially our leaders, went on merrily dividing people — and are still doing it — on the basis of caste, creed, gender and so much else, of no consequence. Our pettiness was, and still is, on full display. It is a sad reflection on our collective claim to be a civilised society that we needed a vicious virus to remind us that we all are one, all across the globe — strong only when of one mind; utterly vulnerable to suffering and death, otherwise. Over the last one year the coronavirus pandemic has been unleashing a very unprecedented crisis across the world. No corner, no nation, no people, no section has been spared. Sadly and painfully, many of our fellow human beings were not lucky to survive the first wave. Did we learn anything from that? Now we are battling the fierce fury of the second wave. And nobody knows if and when the third one will descend and how many more will have to die. And who amongst us may be swept away? We need the wisdom and will to live, although we may always be ready to embrace death as God’s will. For now, let us be responsible in our day-to-day living, with full faith in God and in science. Let us observe all the norms and, realistically, accept that life may never be the same again with the face masks, social distancing and the sanitiser. They may be the accessories for our safety for a long haul. Possibly a very long one.
AIRES RODRIGUES, RIBANDAR