Why The Second Wave Is Devastating India
Image Credit: The Quint
Since February 2021, the second wave of the COVID - 19 pandemic has been even more devastating than the first. The country faces an unprecedented situation. Insufficient medical facilities in the hospitals, inappropriate Covid behaviour among people have accelerated surge cases. Such catastrophic conditions have pushed people into anxiety and mental trauma.
What are the reasons for the sudden spike in the cases? Why is India failing to tackle the upsurge in daily cases? These are the questions that haunts every
Indian. It is a matter of concern and an issue that needs utmost priority and
importance. India is seeing an exponential rise in the daily Covid cases which went towering just in one week. The World Health Organisation states, “India being a region which falls under Southeast Asian countries, experiencing the highest surge accounting for the highest cases in these regions”
In WHO’s recent COVID epidemic report released on 18th April 2021, the countries reporting the highest number of new cases represent three out of six WHO regions i.e. India (14,29,304 new cases as of 18th April 2021; 64% increase), the United States of America (4,77,778 cases; 2% increase), Brazil (4,59,281 new cases; 1% decrease) Turkey (4,14,312 new cases; 17% increase) and France (2,33,275 new cases; 12% decrease).India is experiencing the highest spike rates in the register of new COVID cases. India accounts largely for the global rise of corona patients after the USA. Now it is time for India to combat the second wave and bring it down ,as soon as possible, to prevent adverse effects in the rural and the remotest areas of the subcontinent.
Interestingly, the second outbreak in India has not been unexpected or unpredicted. Dr. A. Fathahudeen ,one of the Covid taskforce members from Kerala, has stated that “The rise was not entirely unexpected given that India let its guard down when daily infections in January fell to fewer than 20,000 from a peak of over 90,000 in September last year” as per the BBC report. Big religious gatherings, the reopening of public places, and crowded elections are being blamed for the spike in the cases. Despite warning signs in February we did not get our act together.
India’s healthcare, under normal circumstances, is good enough to treat bacterial and other physical diseases ,however in the face of the rising COVID – 19 cases the hospital efficiency has been put to test. It has been unable to match the increasing daily cases of the virus. Few states lack hospital beds; supply of oxygen cylinders, proper safety kits for the hospital staff, and medicinal requirements. The areas affected by the Left Wing Extremism (LWE), like Chhattisgarh, lack proper health care facilities and face the adverse effects of the rising COVID cases. This catastrophe has led to hundreds dying and thousands being admitted into the hospitals daily. There is an urgent need to counter the second wave before it turns into a triple mutant which further shows even more adverse effects on the lives of the people.
In these tough situations, India may not go ahead with another nationwide lockdown to curtail the people's movement, because of the adverse effects and consequences that the nation had experienced from its very first nationwide lockdown. People lose employment, laborers lose wages and their lives become hard. The government then not only has to tackle the burden of Covid cases but also has to sustain the lives of the affected. According to the world bank statements on the first nationwide lockdown in India, 45% of the Indian households have seen a drop in their income which affected their lives in all the aspects. During the first 21 days of the lockdown, India lost 32,000 crores every day. If this had continued for a long time this would have pushed India into recession. Further imposing a lockdown shatters the nation’s dream of achieving a 5 trillion economy. To avoid this, remedial ways have to be discovered and implemented as soon as possible.
THE WAY FORWARD
BETTERING THE HEALTH INFRASTRUCTURE
Undoubtedly, the outbreak of coronavirus in the last weeks of December 2019, put significant stress on the medical requirements of the country. One of the main causes for this is the lack of proper hospital equipment and the insufficiency of hospital occupancy all over the country. Today, we see people wait for hours at the hospitals to fetch a bed, people die from lack of oxygen, and ventilators. Lack of immediate medicines like Remdisivir adding to the drastic conditions that the country is facing now. Though the temporary hospitals are constituted in the states like Delhi, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh they lack the proper medical equipment which are becoming difficult to manufacture in a short run or import on time. Indian should have restructured when the cases came in a controlling figure. As the second wave was predictable Indian governments should have focused more on improving the health structure in the country which might have become good enough to tackle the ongoing crisis.
Image Credit: Greenway Health
NEED SPEEDY VACCINATION
The speed at which the Indian people are being vaccinated is still lagging and precious time is being wasted by not broadening the age limits of the people to get vaccinated. "If India goes to vaccinate all above 18 years of age, which accounts for 70% of India’s population, it would cost approximately 0.6% of the Indian budget" says the report of BBC. But for sure this should be implemented for a larger public interest to save the millions of lives being affected by the virus. Failure in vaccine supply leads to great damage. This week we have seen a shortage of vaccination at a large number of vaccination centres. Even the rapid test kits were in shortage for the last couple of days. Urgent supply of the vaccine is a must in these situations to bring it under control. India has already exported 64.5 million doses of COVID – 19 vaccines, as a good diplomatic act ,but it should not be at the cost of domestic requirements. India, now really needs to speed up its vaccination drive with a sufficient supply of the doses.
Despite the high spike in the cases, people are still engaging in crowd gatherings, rallies, ceremonies, family functions which are becoming the platform for the spread of the virus. All sections of the society are fully aware of the virus and its repercussions, but the safety measures they take are inadequate. People should act together to fight the pandemic by maintaining social distance, using hand sanitizers, compulsory masks and by preventing going outdoors. These kinds of civic actions can help in breaking the chain of the virus. As a citizen, it is our responsibility to take part in this global fight.
Restrictions on people’s movement, large public gatherings like theatres, shopping malls, public parks, and amusement parks shall be made strict to avoid unnecessary and unwanted crowd gathering of the people. Massive election rallies and campaigns, religious gatherings should be given up in these unforeseen times. If one fails to follow these safety measures it becomes more difficult to contain the virus. The states like Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra are under complete lock down and the states like Punjab, Haryana are under weekend knockdowns. Most of the states like Telangana, Andhra Pradesh are under night curfew presently. Taking such drastic measures really affects the country in terms of livelihood and economy, therefore people should be mindful of not spreading the virus through their careless, covid inappropriate behaviour.
India is following vast safety measures to contain the virus, all our attempts become futile if one fails to be responsible in breaking the chain. It's not only the act of governments and health workers but also the responsibility of every citizen to contain the spread. Simple acts from us bring down the huge damage. Following primary health measures of coronavirus will help in containing the spread of it. Our negligence should not cause damage to the nation in these tough times. India needs to restructure and regulate its system to contain the virus.
1. Weekly report released by WHO on weekly epidemiological on COVID 19 (released on 8th April 2021)
2. BBC news report telecasted on (18th April 2021)
By Bandi Aadhi
Bandi Aadhi is a first year student of BA programming (History and Political Science). As a student of political science his interests lie in contemporary socio-political issues going around. He is also fond of reading books, listening to debates and watching movies.