With as many as 113 people testing positive across Pakistan on Monday (according to the official COVID database) and the frightening spike exceeding 10% in Karachi and Hyderabad, it would be rather foolish to assume that we are still out of danger. The dark tunnel is upon us again, in the form of the sixth wave. With over 56% of the population having been double-bitten and the government having invested heavily in purchasing boosters, public complacency cannot be ignored. The single death reported today can easily snowball into a typhoon, neither our healthcare nor the crippled economy can survive. Therefore, the best chance of survival remains by paying attention to talk about unhappiness and sadness, because medical experts have already started ringing the bells. The new variants may appear with mild symptoms, but their lightning-fast transmissibility can inflict ire on those whose immunity has already been compromised. A virus that a young, healthy man might take a night or two to fight off can easily leave someone with heart disease, say, gasping for a single breath of air. Therefore, regardless of the excitement of returning to pre-pandemic normality, the masses should roll out masks and limit social gatherings. Trying to instill responsibility in societal behavior is key to nip the monstrosity in the bud, as the lockdowns of days past cannot and must not be repeated in a maddening country to make ends meet. Another viable solution would be to make third (and fourth in the case of the elderly) reminders mandatory. There is no shortage of data to suggest waning immunity from vaccination after the six-month pass.
A state mindful of the long-term implications would waste no time investing in public awareness campaigns. The mega vaccination centers also need a light dusting so that an instrumental service to lead us through the curve can be accessed again. Given a general tendency to throw caution into the air, equipping the health system with emergency devices (medicine doses, oxygen cylinders, ventilators) is an unspoken agenda. But until then, let’s hope the elite limit their summer parties and air-conditioned bargains so the unfortunate can enjoy a healthier day. *