250-people gatherings? Maybe it's not the time

JULY 1 — It feels odd to see regulations being loosened to have gatherings of 250 people while at the same time, being told to not organise them if SOPs cannot be followed.

The pandemic is the new normal and while we have passed the point where lockdowns are necessary, I question the need for such gatherings.

It doesn't take a big gathering to spread the virus; the high infectiousness of the virus means it takes just one person in a crowded room.

We have been lucky so far that the number of cases and deaths have been so much lower than the rest of the world.

Yet there are other factors that need to be taken into account. There is apparently more than one strain of the virus and it has been speculated that the severe devastation in some countries in Europe is due to their strain being far more potent than ours.

It reminds me of the horror I felt when, after catching dengue, I found out that there are four types and getting either one gives you no immunity to any of them.

A second wave of infections is hitting China and South Korea while in the US, the death toll has reached 125,800.

In India, even weddings have a cap of 50 people but in one case where the rules were flouted, 90 people tested positive and the event was still held despite the groom showing symptoms.

It was a very short marriage as the groom died just two days after the wedding though the bride's own test results came back negative.

My point is this: we can't risk overly loosening restrictions when outside our borders thousands of people are still being infected on a daily basis.

If even India puts a cap of 50 people per gathering, why is ours relatively lax at 250?

Sometimes I wonder how these numbers are even calculated or if they are just based on a VIP's tentative guest list for their offsprings' weddings or the next planned constitutional meet-and-greet.

I'd like to see valid reasoning or numbers that justify 250 being a safe and acceptable number. When actual lives are at stake I would rather not be expected to just take anyone's word for it.

We need more science, not less. We need continued caution, not complacency.

Beyond the local theatre that is the kindergarten squabbling of our politicians, the world is still struggling with a pandemic.

We are never going back to the old normal and I think that is a reality too many of us are struggling to accept.

If you are planning a large gathering, please reconsider. The sobering reality is this: it won't kill you to postpone it but death is a real potential outcome.

Death comes for us all but when it comes for  you and me, best we try harder to ensure it doesn't come while we're hooked up to a ventilator.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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