Ramp up health infra to not just mitigate current Covid wave but also future ones

Rebuking the Centre for the current Covid situation, the Madras high court questioned the government’s preparedness over the past 10-15 months. There’s no denying that the huge numbers of Covid cases and deaths in the current wave are the result of poor planning and mixed messaging over the months of January, February and March. Five assembly elections with massive rallies, panchayat polls in several states and the Kumbh Mela had created a false sense of normalcy. This despite health experts warning for months about the onset of a bigger second wave. Today hospitals in several parts of the country are overwhelmed and are even having to turn away patients due to lack of beds and oxygen.

While governments race to mitigate the current health emergency, they would do well to learn their lessons this time and not be caught unawares in the future. For, even after this wave subsides, it won’t be the end of Covid and we must prepare for the next wave. After all, the virus is evolving with new variants cropping up across the world. Hence, we simply cannot afford to let our guard down again. Therefore, governments across all levels should use this moment of crisis to ramp up oxygen supplies and hospital beds not just to meet the current patient load but also a future Covid wave.

Also read | ‘What were you doing for 15 months’: Madras high court slams Centre on Covid situation

One thing this disease has shown is that it can’t be tackled through ad-hoc measures. Healthcare and pandemic mitigation measures can no longer be treated as temporary arrangements. They need to be front and centre of the mainstream political agenda. Mistakes have been made that have brought us to this pass. But it would be downright criminal to repeat them again. Boost the country’s healthcare infrastructure – including vaccine supplies – now to prevent an even bigger catastrophe in the future.



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