Is it only citizens who are suffering from pandemic fatigue or are governments showing it as well? A typical symptom is escapism. When Delhi health minister “can definitely say that the third wave of November has already passed its peak”, even though the widespread violation of social distancing norms during Diwali combined with the spike in air pollution predict Covid cases rising in the coming weeks, it is a very worrying indicator of the government mindset.
It has failed to control the sale of firecrackers and environment minister Gopal Rai is cheering that “70% of the residents did not burn firecrackers”. It has failed to check garbage burning. It has failed to ramp up RT-PCR testing, with 66% of tests even in the last seven days using RAT kits. It has gone to the high court to get 80% of ICU beds in 33 private hospitals reserved for Covid patients, as if this is any substitute for ramping up ICU capacity, as if non-Covid patients are no longer being battered by respiratory and other illnesses.
Augmenting healthcare infrastructure, including doctors and paramedical staff, will need the Centre’s support and that should be optimally provided. But the state government needs to move into top gear as well. That the novel coronavirus has begun claiming nearly four lives in the capital every hour over the past one week, after fatalities rising steadily through September and October, underlines that the Delhi government dropped the ball after getting June’s second wave under control.