An Underprepared India Is Teetering Under COVID-19 Second Wave
Having withstood the first wave of the COVID-19 attack in 2020 rather commendably, the Narendra Modi Administration in India declared “victory” and virtually ignored the threat waiting around the corner – the second wave of the virus attack. India is now paying dearly with lives and general chaos caused by Global Pandemic.
On May 4 (2021), the World Health Organisation (WHO) figures indicated that India accounted for nearly half of the COVID-19 cases reported worldwide in the previous week. The WHO mentioned in its weekly Epidemiological Report that India accounted for 46% of global cases and 25% of global deaths reported in the previous week. New daily infections in the South Asian country numbered 382,315 on May 5, the Health Ministry data showed, the 14th straight day of more than 300,000 cases per day. Officially, India has reported more than 3,500 deaths every day in recent times.
On May 4, the Allahabad High Court (AHC) in northern Indian Province of Uttar Pradesh observed that the death of COVID-19 patients just because of the lack of oxygen in hospitals, which is widespread throughout the country, was a criminal act and was “no less than a Genocide”. The AHC stated that the authorities in power were responsible for not taking adequate measures to ensure maintenance of the oxygen supply chain.
In January-February 2021, the first wave of COVID-19 had waned in India and the official numbers showed a 90% drop from the peak of 96,000 per day in September 2020. The daily death toll dropped from 1,200 to 80. A sense of triumphalism began to emerge, led by a pack of cheerleaders close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who unleashed vigorous political campaigns in five provinces going to the polls in March-April. On February 21, the senior leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) thanked Prime Minister Modi for his “visionary leadership” that effectively weathered the COVID-19 attack! Addressing the annual conference of Delhi Medical Association on March 7, Modi’s Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan triumphantly declared: “We are in the end game of the COVID-19 pandemic in India.”
By April 4, the second wave of COVID-19 attack became evident, when daily new cases exceeded the peak load of September 2020. Other than banning exports of vaccines at the end of March, the Modi Administration did not take any new measure to either ramp up vaccine production or the production and supply chain of oxygen. Foreign vaccine developers, who had applied for authorisation, were told to carry out bridging trials that would take a few months before emergency use authorisation could be given. The dam broke in mid-April.
It became evident on April 15 that India’s fragile Health Infrastructure, under the second attack of COVID-19, had collapsed. Oxygen shortages were causing deaths at hospitals throughout India and the vaccination rates dropped from about 3.5 million jabs a day to below 2.5 million, reflecting a looming vaccine crunch.
From one million active cases a week during the last peak, India already has 3.2 million active cases, and the peak lies somewhere in the future. The second wave of COVID-19 has hit India like a Tsunami and the Modi Government is wholly paralysed, leaving the people unprotected to face this deadly wave…
Boundless Ocean of Politics has received this article from Christopher Lewis of Schiller Institute, Frankfurt, Germany.
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