India has crossed 80,000 cases with no peak in sight in the near future after fifty-two days of lockdown; phase IV of lockdown will become effective from 18 May, 2020 onwards. The daily increase of cases even as of today is 5 %; with no hope of reaching under 1% in the foreseeable future. It means that unlike China, Indian health authorities did not do aggressive and adequate testing; so asymptomatic cases could not be detected and the infection continued to spread. The ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) – approved testing kits were returned back to the Chinese firms; if these were indeed faulty has anyone from ICMR/Union Health Ministry/All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) been punished for the initial approval? Delay in adequate testing raised the number of cases in India; this could have been prevented. India could have just followed the Chinese template of management. Indian Government did not.

China reached its peak of 80,000 cases within 40 days of clampdown (22/23 January – 1 March, 2020). About 20,00,000 tests were conducted in these 40 days. In the next 81 days the daily increase of cases stayed under 1%, nay a fraction of 1%. China continued the lockdown for a total of 77 days. When it lifted the lockdown the daily increase of cases was 0.08%. Thus at a total of 81740 cases on 6 April, the increase was by 62 cases on 7 April!!

After reaching 40,000 cases China doubled to 80,000 in 20 days (Doubling rate 20). India reached 40,000 cases on May 3 and doubled to 80,000 cases in 12 days on May 15. Our daily increase is 5% on 15 May. It is 5 divided by 0.08 or 62.5 times the Chinese growth rate on reaching 80,000 case mark!

Cabinet Ministers in the Indian Government were openly asking foreign countries to shift their manufacturing bases from China to India; these Minsters joined the motivated campaign of isolating China presumably at the instance of USA.

China offered help by way of sending medical experts; the Indian Government did not care to accept. The Indian Government all along took solace from the fact that a dozen odd countries mainly in Europe as also the USA were doing worse; whereas comparison should have been between the four Asian countries – more so China, South Korea, India. The Indian Government failed to learn from both the Chinese and South Korean experiences of managing the COVID-19 Pandemic faster and much better with less morbidity and mortality.

Dr. P. S. Sahni is an independent medico-legal researcher and member of ABVA. Email: aidsbhedbhavvirodhiandolan@gmail.com


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