The Coronavirus, which appeared in 2019, has undergone several mutations, each one being a deadlier variant. Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and now Omicron, which is already considered to be an aspect of concern by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Currently, Omicron is the latest concern that could trigger the third COVID wave in our country.
We know that this variant has spread to many countries, and the United States and Europe are suffering more and being partially locked down. At the moment, India does not face as many cases of Omicron. However, after detecting the first two cases on 2 December, 2021, the total cases crossed 1,000 within a short period of 20 to 30 days. This is alarming for us.
Since we begin the new year in the shadow of Omicron’s fear, many things need to be done next year. The biggest one is our state elections. Political leaders are all set to fight in the coming elections. Rallies and campaigns are already on, but is it possible to hold an election yet?
As the tenure of the five state assemblies is ending next year (Goa on 15 March, Manipur on 19 March, Punjab on 15 March, Uttrakhand on 17 March and Uttar Pradesh on 14 May), assembly elections are expected in the first 2 months of the year (January, February). But the current situation makes it impossible to conduct such a large-scale assembly election because it may result in heavy losses of lives.
The answer is yes. Prevention is always better than cure. In our country, the number of COVID cases are increasing every day. We are not in a position to take chances with people. Organising elections according to the constitution is crucial, but nothing is more significant than life. We can’t afford a horrible situation like the second wave.
I would say no to the third wave, and the easiest and best way to cut the chance of another COVID wave is precautions.
Variants of COVID-19, such as Omicron, remind us that the pandemic is far from over. A wrong step can lead us to a situation we faced in April and May of 2021. It is, therefore, essential to stop all public rallies and campaigns where thousands of supporters gather because not everybody follows the protocols of COVID.
The #teachers were summoned for poll duty training, packed into small rooms with four dozens of others while they received instructions on how to manage voting booths. They were then driven to polling sites in crowded trucks typically used to transport grain and cement. (7/n) pic.twitter.com/XCAWFxcgt5
— Youth Ki Awaaz (@YouthKiAwaaz) May 27, 2021
At the time of the second wave, the UP panchayat election and West Bengal assembly election were held. The consequences of that were very severe. Thousands of people, including government employees on duty during the election. It is always helpful to learn from our past mistakes, and this election is the right opportunity to do that.
The UP Minister of Health stated the government is prepared and will take care of all facilities, oxygen concentrators, ICU beds, doctors and vaccinations. While it is commendable that we are preparing our health structure for the future, it is better to prevent the situation from getting more serious.
Taking the risk of human life in the most densely populated state is not a wise move. For the health of the people, it would be wise to postpone the assembly elections.