COVID’s Cruel Joke

COVID has played a very cruel joke with India. Last year, the first strain of COVID-19 in India was quite mild. The country immediately went into a lockdown and the spread was totally contained. India had become a model of how well things can be managed.

After that, the economy started to open-up. Just like in the US, people let their guard down and started to avoid wearing the mask, even in public. This confidence was further boasted after the farm bill demonstrations in Delhi and adjoining states. Even with hundreds of thousands of people protesting in proximity of each other for months, there was no surge in COVID cases. Lot of health care analysts in US/world had showcased India as a model for COVID containment and even conjectured that India might have achieved herd immunity. Social activities increased with political rallies and Kumbh Mela under a false sense of security and a belief that the worst is over.

Unfortunately, that was not the case for this new mutation of COVID. All scientists have recognized that this mutation is far more contagious and deadly. Though it is a double mutation- with elements of both Brazilian and British variants of COVID-19, it is lot more as per the NPR news

( Though there is limited scientific information on how deadly and contagious this virus is, all evidence suggests that is very dangerous. Absent this critical information, attributing all the fault to the government that did an excellent job in managing the first wave, is highly irresponsible and political.

It is not expected or done in responsible democracies during times of war (as with China sometime back) or human catastrophe (like this one). These events are supposed to bring the nation together. COVID does not kill BJP or Congress citizens exclusively. Unfortunately, political parties have started to point fingers to make political gains.

Not surprisingly, the Mainstream Media has done the same. It has labeled everything wrong as incompetence of Modi and BJP government. Various nefarious individuals and organizations have attempted to spread this all over the social media. Hosting rooms on Club House daily to present the horror in hospitals in Delhi and other cities (some of which was true; some were fabricated stories like BJP leaders hogging ICU rooms for their families) with the intention of creating a narrative against the Modi Government is becoming a common thing.

Accusing and criticizing the Indian government of ignoring the voracity of the new mutation of the virus that was supposedly known to everyone is a narrative that is being created. However, there is no criticism of Biden administration for withholding essential supplies if they also knew how dangerous it was.

Frankly, the situation in New Delhi is no different than what it was in New York City, Italy or Iran last year. Showing images/videos of large number of funeral pyres on TV or using them as their face pictures on CH and Twitter is simply to dehumanize “brown” Indians and to reinforce their narrative. In fact, the reality was not much different when there was mass cremation in New York City, Italy and Iran.

We never saw those pictures on the front page of Time magazine or mainstream media. Ironically, Gov. Cuomo, who was personally responsible for the deaths of large number of senior citizens, was heralded as a great leader. Similarly, politicians holding rallies in India were no different than what happened in the US before Presidential elections. Rallies and elections were held because COVID was under control in both the countries at that time. The arrival of the new variant of COVID was very sudden and fatal that no one had anticipated. The same can happen in any other part of the world, including USA. If it does, which I hope it does not, the outcome will be no different, but the coverage will be.

Lockdown and other preventive measures are needed in India to contain the spread. It is happening, but the highly contagious and deadly variant has already spread. It will take time to flatten the curve. Things are likely to get worse before they get better. This government handled it very well last time and I have reason to believe that they will do it again. India needs support from all Indians- inside the country as well as those living abroad.

Non-resident Indians and Indian Americans (like Vinod Khosla and so many more) have donated and mobilized resources in ways never seen before. This is what India needs. Those who are simply finger pointing and criticizing the government are not doing any good to the country or themselves. The fate of the politicians will be decided by the voters and that is the power of democracy. *Indian Americans of Irvine and Orange County*