THEME: CAN WE PREVENT THE POSSIBLE 3RD WAVE OF COVID?
Vaishnavi C, The National Institute of Engineering, Mysore – 2nd Prize sponsored by Lake View Hospital, Belagavi.
The covid-19 pandemic which started as a geographically isolated regional phenomenon back in December 2019 has now ensnared the whole world into its grasp leading to a global pandemonium. India was no exception to this onslaught of cases especially with a mammoth population 1,394,790,627 and total reported cases have been approximately around 2.284% of total population which in hindsight highly commendable.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus belonging to the family of corona virus has wrecked havoc throughout the world leading to immense loss of lives and livelihood. The 1st wave identified as the initial “tsunami” of cases from the period of March 2020 to September 2020 where the covid cases peaked and affected more older and vulnerable population and attacked mainly the respiratory system. However the subsequent mutations of the virus lead to a 2nd wave of infection affecting more younger and healthier population and resulting in lesser mortality rate but more gastrointestinal and neural complications. Despite valiant efforts of covid-warriors, governments and widespread vaccination drives, experts have predicted the horrifying analysis that the new “3rd wave” of corona virus which has been armed with different mutants has increased the intensity of the infection to be more vicious and resistant to existing vaccines administered in India.
Since the 3rd wave is projected to target the younger population which comprises of about 34.3% of total Indian population, the responsibility rests heavily upon the shoulders of youth. During the 1st wave, the mantra to curb the rapid spread of virus was “lockdown” and “social-distancing”, however this solution was not viable in the long run as it had economical repercussions. The key to curb 3rd wave has now been identified as “vaccinations.” Through thorough investigations, virologists have developed vaccinations to fight the virus. It is the responsibility of youth to get vaccinated and also urge their older family members to do the same especially since the younger generation have more access to media and the importance of vaccinations maybe lost upon the elders due to either lack of information or superstitions. The share of population which has received at least one dose of the vaccine as on August 3rd 2021 is 27.6% in the 18-44-year-old age group, compared to 55.9% for those over the age of 60, which is still a little less compared to other countries. The younger population is more likely to venture out and be potential carriers of the virus. Therefore they need to be mindful of their activities which could potentially endanger the lives of their near and dear ones. Another ongoing battle parallel to the pandemic are the myths and truths spreading over social media, which has been both boon and bane. Youth must be vigilant and accountable coming across various posts on social media and debunk falsities that may be detrimental and cause panic.
Youth can abet safeguarding people by leading the way in the battle against covid-19 through heroic acts of goodwill. Many NGOs and initiatives like “Blue Brigade” and “Youth4Children” comprising of young volunteers are conducting rigorous campaigns especially in rural areas. They advocate for complete immunization, and inform the public about importance of nutrition. They have eliminated misconceptions causing vaccine hesitancy in tribal-dominated areas who were reluctant to take the covid-19 vaccination through door-to-door campaigns.
The youth as a powerful organization has access for more visibility and voice to be heard in media and spread authentic information. We as the youth must also take the responsibility to be role-models and advocate importance of vaccinations, maintain social distance and avoid going out unnecessarily. We hold the power to transform lives and use our creativity and resilience to bring awareness and fight the pandemic. The youth must come together to tackle these unprecedented chaos and betterment of the country.