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Second Covid-19 wave in India

Recent news, emails and social media have been accusing China and various mafia for causing the second Covid-19 wave in India which has been spreading like a wild fire at a speed unknown to date in any part of the world. This Second Wave is the result of the mismanagement and failure on part of the federal and state governments. RSS Chief Shri Bhagwatji correctly summarized, “Public and government became inattentive after the first wave.”

Covid-19 is a contagious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome Virus 2C (SARS-COV-2). The first known case happened in December, 2019 in Wuhan, China. Then it spread all over the world, first in those countries which have active travel exchange with China. Italy, New York and California were regions to get the virus first as these have more travels with China. If China is the culprit, why did it not pick up India first?

There have been three myths about Covid; (1) It is a hoax; (2) It is like any other flu or virus; and (3) China intentionally started it to disrupt the world economy and establish its supremacy. First two myths are not widely believed, however, the third myth is widespread especially in India and the USA.

There were wide spread beliefs that China spread the Covid-19 intentionally to slow down the economic progress of other countries. The ex-U.S. President Trump was one of the first world leaders to blame China publicly for creating and releasing the Corona virus to infect the world. World Health Organization (“WHO”) was compelled to initiate an investigation into the origin and cause of Covid-19. To date, WHO has not issued any report. It is certain that the intelligence agencies of the USA and other countries must have also done extensive investigation of the origin of the Covid, however, no one has been able to provide any evidence that China spread it intentionally.

India was one of the first countries in the world to implement a nationwide lockdown. It did help to slow down the spread of the virus. Although a total lockdown was a good step, it ignored the effect on the poor migrant workers who work on daily wages. With the loss of work, the only places they could have survived were their homes.

The lockdown of transportation left no alternatives for most except to walk to their homes which were hundreds to thousands of kilometers from their workplace. Arrangements for their food and/or transportation should have been made before the start of the lockdown. Such miseries to millions reminded me about the mass migration after partition which I witnessed with horror as a seven year old boy. The only difference with this mass migration was that the people were not killing each other.

Things were going well and with its mass production of vaccines, India was flying high. In this euphoria, the federal and state governments, political parties, religious leaders and general public let their guards down and started acting normal, i.e. no regards for masks and social distancing. The Indian Parliament committees and experts warned about the second and a stronger wave and oxygen shortages. All these warnings were ignored. Kumbh Maila, attended by more than one million people who took bath in a very restricted body of water with poor sanitation, was a disaster. People, coming from many parts of India, took the virus with them. Then there were elections in five states. The politicians encouraged their supporters to arrange large rallies without any protections. Large marriage and other parties also added fuel to the fire. Under these circumstances, a strong second wave should not have been a surprise. A number of pundits, who without any medical expertise and facts, wrote about “herd immunity” which did not happen in India or anywhere else.

A number of social media postings started floating a theory that China and a number of mafias with their own interests caused the second wave. If that is correct, then the Parliament committees and other experts, issuing warnings, must have been in communication with China and mafia groups as they learned about the second wave before it actually happened.

The Second Wave was not unusual for India. Anywhere if there was a laxity in precautions, the Second Wave happened in countries such as such in Italy, Germany, United Kingdom and the USA.

The Second Wave in the USA was very severe but not as bad as in India as neither the USA nor the European Countries had a Kumbh Maila or large political rallies. Did China cause the Second Wave there also? Assuming that China did cause the Second Wave in India, then it reflects a serious concern about the failure of Indian intelligence. Irrespective of China’s role, the Indian intelligence is one of the worst ones in the world. Besides spending a lot of money on buying defense equipment, India must concentrate on improving its intelligence agencies. India failed to properly pursue the vaccination production and availability. Besides bragging about being the largest producer of vaccines, India should have planned for enough vaccinations for Indians. India should not blame China for Covid. However, India should be careful that taking advantage of the severe Corona epidemic in India, China does not grab India’s territory in addition to 4,000 square kilometers it already occupies.

As I mentioned earlier, U.S. and other countries also blamed China. I have been and continue to be anti-China, but cannot ignore facts. Did China gain much, if anything, from the spread of Corona? No. First, China had to lock down its population and businesses when the virus started spreading there. As the news media is controlled in China, we will never know how many Chinese got sick from Corona and how many died. All the sickness and deaths must have taken its toll on Chinese economy also, but these are not small numbers. With the spread of Covid-19 virus, the demand for products, shut down of manufacturing facilities, businesses, leisure and personal transportation slowed down all over the world. China must have lost a lot of export and domestic markets. Because of ill will created against her, China lost some export markets forever and a number of foreign manufacturing activities have also moved out of China perhaps forever. It is correct that China’s GDP has started increasing again, no one knows for sure. Has Chine achieved its pre-epidemic GDP level? The answer is no and it will take at least a couple of years before China or any other country gets to their pre-epidemic economic growth.

A common question in India has been, “Why India is having a disastrous second wave whereas her neighboring countries, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka did not have any such wave?” The answer is simple, these countries did not have Kumbh Maila and large political rallies. Nepal, which has much easier cross border travel, is also going through a second wave now. Pakistan restricted Ramazan gatherings.

It will be wise for people not to believe the nonsensical baseless theories for the Second Wave and they should work together and take every precaution to slow down and stop the Corona virus. There is no doubt that the Central government miserably failed in its responsibilities which was compounded by the laxity on part of the State governments also. The political parties should stop blaming each other and join hands in the time of national crisis and miseries. The federal government should immediately allow the state governments and private organizations to import oxygen and other
medical equipment directly. The production of vaccines should be increased immediately to the maximum extent. The concentrated efforts by the federal and state governments and public and not the “blame game” will stop the virus. Mr. Modi is trying to reach all and let all support him rather than continue blaming the government.



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Disclaimer

Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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