May Day, May Day, May Day!

Flights Of Fantasy

[ M Panging Pao ]

Named after the Greek goddess of fertility, Maia, the month of May marks the end of the spring season. The 1st of May is marked as the International Workers’ Day, also known as Labour Day in many countries. In India, the Labour Day, or May Day, was first celebrated in 1923 in Chennai.

‘May Day’ calls are also internationally recognized as distress calls. Aircraft, ships and other vehicles use ‘May Day’ calls to announce imminent danger to the aircraft, ship or vehicle and passengers. The standard call made over internationally recognized radio frequencies is ‘May Day, May Day, May Day!’ Any station/person listening to ‘May Day’ calls are supposed to rush to the assistance of the distressed station and report the matter to rescue agencies by the fastest means.

Over the last one year and five months, Covid-19 has spread to all corners of the world and has infected more than 15 crore persons with more than 31 lakh fatalities. India has more than 1.8 crore persons infected with over 2 lakh fatalities. Arunachal has 18,256 infections with 59 deaths. Presently, India is undergoing a second wave with over 3.5 lakh daily infections and 3,500 daily deaths over the last few days. Many hospitals in different towns and cities are reporting shortage of oxygen, ICU beds and critical medicines.

It’s almost four months post the launch of Covid-19 vaccines, including two made-in-India vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin. More than 33.5 crore persons have been vaccinated with more than 7.5 crore persons fully vaccinated. In India, more than 15.5 crore persons have been vaccinated with about three crores fully vaccinated. Arunachal has completed about 2.4 lakh vaccinations. The pace of vaccination is being expedited and vaccines are being extended to all adults above 18 years of age.

However, it appears that too much panic and fear psychosis has been generated by the electronic and social media. This hysteria is leading people to panic and seek hospitalization on the onset of any symptoms. Research data reveals that majority of infected persons will not develop any symptoms or develop very mild symptoms which can easily be managed locally. Only about 10-15 percent Covid-19 infected persons may need hospitalization, out of which only 3-5 percent may require ICU facilities. Therefore, more positive news and awareness is required to ensure that people do not panic and become victims of social media hysteria. The government is initiating steps to resolve this evolving crisis with health facilities being ramped up, more oxygen being made available, and by expediting the vaccination process of the entire population. As of now, the only reliable defence against Covid-19 appears to be vaccination of at least 60-70 percent population, which may lead to herd immunity.

The citizens must believe in science and get vaccinated while masking up and following Covid appropriate behaviour. Hopefully, there will be no ‘May Day’ distress calls in our state this summer in terms of Covid and natural calamities.

(The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)