Tuesday May 17, 2022
Tuesday May 17, 2022

Tackling Omicron: An Institutional Failure?

The policies put in place to tackle the spread of the virus seem to do the reverse of it, so does the blame solely lie on the authorities or are the citizens liable too?


Nepalnews
2022 Jan 26, 16:39,

The past couple years, living through the miasma of the virus, under sheer-confounded fear of an enemy that had simply derailed our lives and changed the mold of how we viewed and lived in this new normal. With the coming and going of wave after wave of infections institutions and the general public have now been reminded of the importance of health care and a proper health directive guiding the nation.


And yet, for all these warnings and literal disaster that have flashed upon our faces, we still find ourselves underprepared in the strategies we adopt to tackle new variants and unappreciative of the work the medical professionals perform daily to keep our lives intact. From botched vaccination plans to underpaid, frustrated workers, the strategy to combat the virus seems to be a faltering cause every passing day.


One need not look far than the throngs of people that line up outside of the barely 20 hospitals where the entire populations of Kathmandu have been asked to get their vaccine doses from. Youths, senior citizens, first dose people, second dose people, booster shot people of every demographic are lining up in the hundreds daily in a city where gatherings of more than 25 have been prohibited. Along with this, the introduction of the odd-even rule to cut down the number of people on streets has filled to the brim the limited public transport within the valley hence incentivizing unnecessary, grouped contact between these people squished back to face on these buses.

The planning and strategizing by concerned authorities is irrefutably riddled with fallacies that overturn the very cause the plans were meant to prevent. The policies put in place today instead of controlling the spread of the easily transmissible variant further catalyze its spread amongst the public.


“The vaccination drive would have been conducted better if it were more decentralized, if the vaccines were spread around the target area and the demographic of people segregated to certain hospitals the crowds and unnecessary contact would easily have been avoided. By bringing into the fold wards in every part of the district and making use of paramedics just like we have done in the past, a lot of this unnecessary contact could've been avoided. These wards have the data of every household so the vaccination would’ve been a lot smoother and less riskier'' says Dr. Ramesh Maharjan, The head of Emergency services at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital.


However the blame for the rapid and uncontrolled spread of this virus lies not only upon the authorities but within the public itself too. “Despite being aware of the virus, there seems to be a lack of awareness on the variants and a more care-free attitude to these variants amongst people. The public are taking the virus too lightly, recently in every 100 people who get tested at our hospital 7 people have positive results, it only goes to show that people have inculcated a false sense of security regarding the virus and its spread.” adds a concerned Maharjan.


And this “false sense of security” is quite palpable amongst the public. Despite the glaring errors in policies concocted by authorities the public too take advantage of these policies furthering the spread of the virus. For while a case can be made for the odd-even rule being counterintuitive one can also be made for the people who instead of understanding the message and staying indoors move out in throngs in these very limited buses.

“There can be a justification made for herd immunity and the weakening of strains but the people still take necessary precautions, it's absolutely critical that people don’t jump the gun declaring the virus an endemic and having the false perception that the virus wouldn’t affect them severely. We’ve seen it with swine flu in the past as well, we must take necessary measures now so that the virus doesn't yet again mutate and cause further problems. Hence, I strongly recommend the people to mask up and avoid gatherings and bear with the medical professional for a few more months until we can get these cases in check.” he concludes.


READ ALSO:

Covid OMICRON vaccination policies Odd-Even Dr. Ramesh Maharjan endemic
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