How July month turned deadly and changed entire Covid-19 discourse in J&K

Abid Bashir

Srinagar (NVI): Till June 30 this year, the novel coronavirus had been behaving very mildly in Jammu and Kashmir but the month of July changed the entire discourse and turned out to be a deadly month that witnessed 276 deaths and 12,862 positive cases in the UT.

Official data accessed by the NVI suggests that in the first 115 days (from March 08-June 30) 101 Covid-19 related deaths were witnessed in Jammu and Kashmir including 89 from Kashmir division and 12 from Jammu division.

“Till July 1, 88.11 percent deaths were from Kashmir division while 11.89 were Jammu division,” the data reveals. “From July 1 to July 31, 276 deaths related to Covid-19 were recorded in J&K which is around 73.20 percent of the total deaths.”

Among 276 deaths in July month, 260 were reported from Kashmir division while just 16 were from Jammu division which means 94.20 percent of Covid related deaths were reported from Kashmir while just 5.79 percent are from Jammu division in the month of July.

Overall, out of 377 deaths related to Covid-19 in J&K, 349 are from Kashmir while 26 are from the Jammu division.

So, the overall share of deaths of the Kashmir division is 93.1 percent and that of Jammu is 6.8 percent. Interestingly, there are 20,359 positive cases in J&K, among them 12,862, which means 63.17 percent of total positive cases in J&K were witnessed in the July month alone.

“Out of total 20,359 positive cases, 15,915 are from Kashmir division while 4,444 are from Jammu division,” officials privy to the data revealed.

So, Kashmir’s share in total positive cases is 78.17 percent while 21.82 percent positive cases are from the Jammu division.  It may be recalled that the first case of the COVID-19 in India – a student studying at Wuhan University – was reported in Kerala’s Thrissur district on January 30. Slowly, the pandemic spread to various states and union territories including the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.

Two suspected cases with high viral load were detected and isolated on March 4 in Government Medical College, Jammu. One of them became the first confirmed positive case on March 9. Both individuals had a travel history to Iran.

Despite witnessing a surge in positive cases, people are not adhering to the protocol which can prove disastrous for the whole community, say experts and doctors.

Dr Muhammad Sultan Khuroo, former director SKIMS and head of the advisory Committee of government regarding Covid protocol, said that as people are not taking Covid protocols seriously, it seems that J&K is heading towards a disaster.

“Despite witnessing a surge in positive cases besides death, people are still non-serious about Covid-19 and are roaming without masks and are not maintaining social distance which is very unfortunate and can prove dangerous for all of us,” he said. “If conditions remain the same, we won’t have beds and space available to treat patients due to which death rate will increase.”

He said that if the callous approach of people towards Covid-19 continues, the situation will become out of control. “It is not still late. People must follow Covid guidelines and take precautions,” Dr Khuroo said. “If people continue to show laxity, pandemic will engulf the entire Kashmir and it would be like Wuhan (China) here,” he added.