Covid cases in Punjab are peaking and so are the gatherings that flout precautionary guidelines with impunity. The daily count is expected to touch 3,000 levels by this weekend and experts are warning of a severe second wave in the state.
While the large number of farmer mahasammelans to protest against the farm laws continues to pose a serious challenge to health authorities, the enhanced political activity has made it even tougher for the health authorities to keep the Covid number under check.
“We are grappling with twin challenges. One, the gathering of farmers where no Covid guidelines are followed and now big political rallies where mockery is made of social distancing,” commented a senior health official.
On Sunday, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) rally in Moga drew thousands of people to the venue where Covid guidelines were thrown to winds. Not just the AAP but other political parties like the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) have done the same. The party chief Sukhbir Badal after addressing a rally in Fazilka had tested positive for Coronavirus.
The Congress has put its rallies on hold till March 31 and is now mocking other political parties for continuing to hold rallies. The Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar tweeted: ‘Height of duplicity – While @AamAadmiParty leadership openly flouted & mocked Covid-19 rules at their rally in Punjab yesterday, their government in Delhi charges a fine of Rs 2,000 from people for not wearing a mask.’
The political slugfest comes at a time when experts have warned that the second Covid wave in the state could be more severe. The state witnessed the first Covid peak on September 17 last year, when 2,896 cases were reported. The highest single day deaths of 106 were reported on September 2. On Sunday, 2,669 cases were reported, though the fatality rate slightly came down to less than three.
A study by Ludhiana-based Christian Medical College, based on mathematical calculations, has predicted that the state could see the peak again later this week and through the first week of April. State health officials said that the peak could be followed by a flattening of the curve, but when the decline in daily cases will start cannot be predicted immediately.
Health official said it was imperative that all protocols are followed strictly by the people and also by all political parties in the state.