When the year 2019 was about to be replaced by 2020, on 31st December 2019, the WHO was informed of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan city, China. Later, on 7th January, the novel coronavirus was identified as the cause by Chinese authorities and was temporarily named “2019-nCOV”.
The world was yet in a tremble when the deadly virus knocked on the door and pushed the people of the valley into the trauma. The Kashmir valley on March 18th, 2020, recorded its first positive case for the novel coronavirus in Srinagar. It was a resident of Khanyar who arrived on the 16th of the same month and had foreign travel history.
On the same day, authorities imposed serious restrictions on the unnecessary movement of people from their respective homes. Kashmir went into the new political era post 5 August 2019 after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A, and within this difficulty, yet another challenge knocked: Kashmir was going to test its fate once more. No one thought ahead and seriously about what Kashmir was going to experience, at least not so many deaths and mourning!
Alas! After some relief, Mother Nature spotted its wrecked behavior and shattered humanity again by the same virus; now mutations make it harder to control. And it shrouded the Kashmir valley as well with what we called the 2nd wave of covid.
In a conservative society like Kashmir where people still believe in superstitious elements and believe in magic rather than logic, where people prefer saints (Pir Sahab) over medical doctors while being confronted with any kind of disease.
In a society like this where illogicality remains dominant over logicality and where myths are considered as facts, rumors play an important role. The same happened with Covid from the first wave to the second wave. Usually, in a national emergency or natural disaster, people and coordination make a strong and constructive bond but here in Kashmir, people played like a fool and lead to ill outgrowths thereof.
People chose their way according to their desires by which they misled their own self by considering the deadly virus a joke and sometimes violated such norms which were supposed to be followed during the catastrophe. They violated the administrative orders and accorded their way of thinking which led to misery and fallouts as a whole for all.
As the engine is to the vehicle, the administration is to the state. From the beginning of the first wave of Covid to the end of the second wave, the administration here in the valley did not pause to approve suspicious, and most times absurd protocols to fight the pandemic which not only boosted the mysterious nature of the virus but ended with a complete shuffle of the cards.
From the drop in living standards to the economy of the state, from the healthcare facilities to the safety of non-covid patients, Kashmir suffered plenty. In the first wave of the pandemic, more non-covid patients died than covid patients because they did not come out of their homes for treatment due to the fear of getting infected, and non-covid patients were refused treatment at hospitals.
A recent statement issued by DAK president Dr. Nisar Ul Hassan said that we need to treat every patient whether Covid or non-Covid with the same zeal. The government from the beginning to the pandemic failed to provide general OPD after hospitals were switched to temporary covid centers.
Pertinently, the government of India has recently issued a warning regarding the third wave of Coronavirus. Accordingly, logically, the government must ensure the strategies and possible ways, unlike during the first and second waves, to get to grips with and effectively handle the third wave.