A Balancing Act
The Government is in a balancing act of controlling the COVID-19 epidemic and keeping the economy going. This was best illustrated when, before the Sinhala and Tamil New Year this year, while the Government allowed a measure of latitude to the people to celebrate the festival, the head of the National Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak, General Shavendra Silva lamented, predicting that if the people went on pre-New Year shopping sprees they won’t be able to celebrate Vesak.
It has to be understood that at a time when everything is commercialised, allowing for festival time economic activity, mainly purchasing food, clothing and other items was a sine qua non. Only those with an intellectual bent of mind would have thought of foregoing at least luxuries this New Year. It is hard to make the hoi polloi appreciate such high thinking.
So, in their quest for new clothing they gathered in their numbers at shopping malls. That’s how the hellish Pamunuwa cluster was created. In just two months, after the resulting COVID-19 third, the figures are telling. The number of patients has jumped to over 200,000 and deaths to over 2,000 and the silver lining in the cloud is that nearly 200,000 of the afflicted have been cured.
However, it is said that a third wave hitting would make it uncontainable. So, it is incumbent upon everyone the Government, the people, the health officials, the Armed Forces and the Police and not least those in the Opposition to fall in line.
The Opposition parties and individuals must do well not to put ‘iron in the works’ so to say, but offer helpful advice and only constructive criticism to the Government in dealing with the deadly health crisis. This is not an election time by any stretch of the imagination. There is time for it.
The Israeli Opposition waited for nine years to better rule the country. The last Government here would have been ousted in Parliament in just about the same time or before if it was not voted out of power in one term. Advancement in electronics must not be abused to propagate utter lies. The social media not only poisons society at large but even homes where there are members of the same family with differing political views. Some of the posts are in such bad taste that that they will not escape the censor in any decent society. Only the mentally deranged can endure such utter filth.
There is a saying that statistics are followed by lies and damn lies in war time but it cannot be during an epidemic. It is also not fitting that there should be strikes, protests and demonstrations during the time of a near famine, whatever hardships there may be. If what they say is believable there have to be fatalities caused by such misfortunes.
The only deaths reported are those resulting from accidents, drowning by recklessness, long unsolved problems such as wild elephant attacks, landslides and natural disasters. Members of the families of those who die of natural disasters are adequately compensated by the State.
As for handling the COVID-19 third wave and not allowing for a fourth wave adequate measures have been taken by the Government for controlling the disease and no one need panic apart from providing every assistance to that effect in a context where there is history of protesting every move to contain the virus by inexpensive measures. The one that attracted the most publicity was an Ayurveda syrup to boost immunity.
It was forgotten that the cardinal principle in Ayurveda is prevention and not cure. Then again there is a very effective way of destroying the virus itself, by simple steam inhalation which could be practised with little expense being incurred. It is well known that China is a country that has very successfully curbed it has made everyone inhale steam with very good results.
This is one instance where democracy has failed and regimentation has succeeded. The leader of an African country died not because of medicinal steam inhalation but as he had a number of other complications. A local Ayurveda drug company here promotes steam inhalation, three times a day by television and no one protests because it is a paid advertisement. Even western medical doctors have found that the lungs of those who regularly inhale steam are clear and they are free from respiratory diseases.
So, steam inhalation would go a long way in handling the COVID-19 epidemic when combined with the other health guidelines: wearing the correct facemask properly, social distancing, washing hands, sanitizing etc.