All of us have been influenced by the pandemic, one way or the other. People have been battling with this unseen monstrosity for the past year. So many have lost their jobs, their homes and above all, their lives. But during the beginning of this year, it seemed as if there was a light at the end of this dark tunnel after all: the vaccines. Scientists had been putting all the effort into making the most effective vaccines possible in a small window of time. After months of gruesome work, the vaccines were ready and were made available for some of the high-risk groups of the public. Covid-19 seemed to be getting under control as well since there was a visible decrease in the daily cases. Schools, shops and other facilities were opening up and people were starting to get to the pre-covid stage. 

But just when everything was relatively okay, arrived the second wave of Covid. There was a huge spike in the daily cases and deaths. People started to panic and schools started getting closed and some places were even put into lockdown. All of this happened only a few days back and the situation has only worsened since. Now, the big question arises, how did this happen and how can we stop it? Well, experts have the answer to that. There are two major factors to this. The first one is the emergence of new mutated Covid-19 strains that are tougher and more ruthless than the one we had seen until now. Some of the new Covid strains decrease the utility of the current vaccines and can even render them useless in the future. The people that were infected with Covid and survived could get re-infected because their immune system doesn't recognize these mutated strains and hence has not built immunity against them. And studies show that 20-30% of people with immunity against Covid-19 have been re-infected, so that makes building herd immunity, a problem. The new mutations of Covid come with an added set of symptoms to the ones we had recognized before. 

These days, headaches, hearing loss, dry mouth and even an upset stomach could be indicative of Covid. Several new strains have been identified but since many countries around the globe lack the system required to identify new strains, we might just be looking at the tip of the iceberg. The second factor which has had a huge impact on the increasing spread is the relaxation in the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and protocols that we are supposed to follow to try to stop the spread of Covid. With things getting back to normal, people grew complacent and reduced the amount of aggression they once showed in following the SOPs. That is when we grew vulnerable and Covid took flight on the wings of our irresponsibility. Now that we know how the second wave started, the question which remains is "How to end it?". There is no accurate answer to that but on our end, we can try to reduce its spread by wearing a MASK at all times when you're out or in a crowded environment, sanitizing our hands frequently and keeping a distance of at least two feet between yourself and others. What we can also do is to limit going out unless necessary. The last one is the toughest but it could make all the difference. Remember, by following those guidelines you could be saving your  and someone else's life.

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