India Fights COVID-19: Apprehensions, Politics & Negative Reports!
For the last few days new infections have been rising at nearly 10000 and new deaths at over 200 per day in India. Following such heavy spikes there have been scares, worries, apprehensions and unwanted speculation that have led to negative reporting by some sections of the utterly divided and biased media and the ensuing scenario has been further worsened by politics of various kinds. For example, in the worst affected state of Maharashtra, ruled by opposition alliance, and in Delhi where new cases have been rising worryingly the media had launched into unnecessary ‘investigative’ reports that had created conflict between the concerned governments and the medical fraternity, supposed to be the much revered ‘COVID Warriors’. The reports including some videos showing inside happenings in COVID ICU wards doing the rounds were mostly based on the one or two stray cases where private hospitals allegedly denied admission to COVID suspected cases leading to deaths of the patients and government hospitals allegedly mishandling dead bodies and patients under treatment. Well, such unfortunate incidents should not at all happen, but discretion and private consultation should have been the ideal way to go ahead rather than putting these reports in the public domain. More ominously, the respective opposition-ruling party at the center, took up such reports as excuses to indulge in power-politics, criticism and demonstrations in those states/UTs grievously hurting the public perception and the united fight against the killer virus. Meantime India has climbed up to the fifth place in the world’s worst affected countries-in terms of total infections, not in terms of total deaths though.
On the top of it India has largely been opening up under Unlock 1.0 at this crucial juncture after Lockdown 4.0 with malls, religious places and restaurants allowed to roll up shutters in several states and union territories. The Delhi Chief Minister looked clueless in a recent press conference: expressing worries at the rising new infections and trying to arrange more beds for COVID patients by restricting admission in government and in private hospitals of Delhi only to local residents, and at the same time under tremendous pressure to ease curbs in the above-mentioned categories. However, although the central government’s ruling under National Disaster Management Act is binding on all the states and union territories it allows them to continue the restrictions with more strictness, if they want. And therefore, states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Odisha and other have decided not to open up religious places, malls, restaurants etc. till the end of Lockdown 5.0 in containment zones while allowing other activities like restricted public transport, shops and markets, walks, jogging in public places and opening of private offices with only 10% of staff allowed-masks and strict social distancing norms in all those relaxations. This scenario presents a rather divided picture than a united fight, unfortunately.
While the scenario in India is far from encouraging we can try putting the focus on the universal behavior of the Coronavirus, or rather in most of the countries suffering badly. It has been seen from the world-wide statistics that the virus spread steadily in the first two months and from sometime in the third month it started rising at an exponential rate till at least a month, and then showing signs of rising at a slower rate and then falling-both in terms of new cases and deaths. USA, Italy, UK, Spain and in some other European countries where lockdown was imposed late this trend has still been observed. The case of Russia can be directly related to India. During the third month of the virus’s reign Russia had displayed spread of new infections at an exponential rate for nearly a month-at well over 10000 new cases per day taking the total infections to over 400,000. For the last few days increase of new cases has come down below 10000 and now below 9000. From Russia’s case we can safely state that in a few more days India’s new cases would steady down and start falling at least in those states where the increase rate has been exponential. However, the real worry for India is that by those few more days when the peak is supposed to be arrived at should the number of new cases overwhelm the already pressurized health infrastructure and availability of medical staff. This, only time can tell; but we can always hope that the universal behavior of the virus is going to evolve in India’s case too, well before the danger mark.