Representative image PTI
The optimists have been proven wrong. History has repeated itself. The third wave of COVID-19 has engulfed many parts of India. It also includes Bihar, the third most populous state of the country.
Capital Patna has emerged as a hotspot in the state. One sign of dark times ahead is the sharp increase in the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 each day. On Thursday evening, the Bihar Health Department tweeted that 1,407 of the 2,379 cases reported across the state on January 5 in the state capital were victims of the new dreaded virus, proving enough to take precautions in daily life. There is a reason. No one, in short, has a choice.
Bihar’s health care infrastructure is woefully inadequate to deal with the impact of the pandemic. The under-pressure administration is on high alert. A night curfew has been imposed in the state between 10 pm and 5 am. Theatres, shopping malls, clubs, swimming pools, stadiums, gyms and parks are closed. The same goes for religious places like temples and mosques that are closed to devotees and schools for students in class VIII and below.
Nothing has changed on the streets of Patna. The sight of residents without masks is normal. Complacency, overconfidence, ignorance: there could be various reasons why the majority are so unconcerned about the re-emergence of the dreaded virus. As motorcycles try to overtake cars and cycle rickshaws block the flow of other vehicles on the cluttered Arya Kumar Road, the average Patnai seems unaware of the need to be careful. Or, he just doesn’t care.
Hari Om, an elderly rickshaw puller, is at work in a residential colony in Rajendra Nagar. He is not wearing a mask because it hurts him. “Sir, you have no idea. Old people like us have trouble breathing when they wear masks,” he says with a plastered smile on his face. “Besides, I don’t know anybody.ill“(Ill) because of the coronavirus,” he adds. “No one should worry unnecessarily.” After offering a brief explanation, he moves toward a potential customer standing a few feet away.
Anantanand makes coffee and smoothies at an upscale cafe on Boring Road during the day and works as a security guard at an apartment building in BM Dass Road at night. Fans of Ranveer Singh, they were waiting for the sports drama film. 83has been released in theaters for a long time. “I didn’t go to see the film after its release because it’s not worth taking any risks at such a time,” he says, adding that very few people are wearing masks or maintaining social distancing as much as possible. are “I wonder why people indulge in such adventures when they know that Covid-19 can be so dangerous.”
Autorickshaws are a favorite mode of transportation in the city. Avinash Kumar, who drives a hired autorickshaw, waits for his customer who has gone to see a doctor at an eye clinic in Kankar Bagh. “When the disease hit last time, many people were falling ill,” says Kumar. I haven’t had a job in months. My family suffered a lot. Today there is no such thing. Theaters and junior classes in schools have been closed as a precautionary measure and not because people are getting sick. Many Petenites need to know that COVID-19 is a real threat.
Bihar residents from villages near Patna come to the city to earn a living. Rameshwar Singh of Bara, who sells vegetables on a mobile cart, told this writer at Ashok Rajpath: “Won’t the corona cause so much trouble? We don’t have to think of any stars.(Corona won’t cause so much trouble this time. I’m not worried at all). Singh sells bottle gourd, and he uses his towel which he ‘usually covers his face with’ to clean the bottle gourd before selling it to a customer.
A family of six is moving towards Patna Medical College and Hospital. Ashutosh Prasad, who owns a ‘business’, appears to be the head of the family. A woman accompanying him covers her face with it. take care of No one else is trying to cover her sari face, including Prasad who speaks.
“Everything’s fine. There’s no need to cover our faces these days,” he says with a smile. Those next to him nod in varying degrees of support for his point.
Although the administration has taken several measures in an attempt to limit the impact of COVID-19, the average Patnaite has not reacted to the need of the hour. That should happen soon. Otherwise, the worst will be worse than it could have been.
The author is a freelance journalist. Expressions are personal
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