Co-Written by Dr. P. S. Sahni & Shobha Aggarwal
Accessed on 22.04.2020 at 9.49 a.m.
Worldwide 168 Countries Have Fewer Cases, Deaths Than India
The grim message conveyed by the title of this article should make rulers in India sit up. Their initial complacency coupled with child-like attitude of being contended with the fact that Indians are better off than their counterparts in Europe and North America is the most mean, inhuman and unscientific way of dealing with COVID-19 pandemic. As a first step those at the helm of affairs in India should visit the following website daily for an update on where humanity stands: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html
This clarificatory note becomes necessary in the context of COVID-19 pandemic and India. The daily hourly news broadcasted (6 AM to 11 PM) on the state-controlled All India Radio gives a 10-minutes account – over a dozen times per day – of firstly developments in India and secondly, a passing, reference occasionally to what the rest of the developed world is going through; all the negativities of the countries in Europe and North America are highlighted. A few 1-hourly special broadcasts (8AM, 2PM, 8PM) are aired every day with reporting being aggressively nationalistic and exclusionist. The single projected leader of the country is praised no end for his benevolence e.g. sending Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to countries who have requested or not requested this drug of dubious role; and very ordinary people singing praises – by way of being quoted in these programmes – for receiving a few hundred rupees or so in their bank accounts courtesy the only leader of the country under this scheme or that scheme. Scores of doctors remind the listeners to maintain social distancing and wear a mask. There is not a word of criticism aired by any of these worthies about the policy being pursued in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Indians are reminded ad infinitum by a particular bureaucrat – a Joint Secretary to boot – in the Union Health Ministry to be content with the fact that many countries in Europe and USA have more cases and deaths than in India. Some questions and comments are in order:
- Are Indians supposed to feel happy/contended that others in developed countries are suffering and are worse off than Indians?
- Why does the Indian Government not display courage and honesty to admit that about 168 countries have fewer cases and fewer deaths than India? Why not learn from their experience?
- An impression is being given that aggressive lockdown is the brainchild of Indian Government; the scientific way in which China has used it for full 77 days is never acknowledged.
- That lockdown and massive testing (as undertaken in China) together gives the best results; yet such testing was delayed in India.
- That countries with massive testing (South Korea) undertaken right at the early stage of the infection got good results.
- That countries without complete lockdown but full voluntary compliance of social distancing, use of mask have also fared better (Sweden).
- The All India Radio has been constantly bombarding us with the information that half of India does not have any infection; but we are never informed that it was northern Italy which bore the brunt and not its southern part; just as South Korea had huge number of cases, while North Korea escaped unscathed because of early closure/sealing of its international borders.
- The Chinese scientist had shared the genome structure of n-Coronavirus publicly on 10-11 January, 2020; the German medical scientist reportedly had the testing kits ready – hold your breath – by 16 January, 2020! Three months down the line the Indian Government is still struggling to get these kits imported!! Who all have then been found sleeping when India had sufficient time to be fully geared to face the COVID-19 pandemic? Those medical scientists, bureaucrats and politicians need to be named.
PM Narendra Modi hugs Donald Trump at Ahmedabad airport / Photo: @narendramodi / Twitter
Both leaders – President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met in Delhi on 25 February, 2020 for signing business deals including defense deals. Were these leaders oblivious to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic?
The real heroes/heroines in the resistance against the spread of COVID-19 pandemic
The medical personnel – doctors, nurses, para medicals; sanitation workers; social workers e.g. ASHA workers involved in door-to-door surveys for detecting those people with flu-like symptoms; ensuring their isolation and quarantine at home; tracing of people in contact with positive cases or those with travel history are performing a thankless job. The medical personnel in clinics/hospitals are risking their lives to contain the spread of the virus; often working without the full personal protection gear; getting infected in the process and braving death. They are the real heroes/heroines in the national task.
[Dr. P. S. Sahni & Shobha Aggarwal are independent medico-legal researchers and members of ABVA. Email: [email protected]]