Towards the end of 2020, Indian cricket team was playing test cricket in Australia. It played the first innings of the first test well. In the second innings, however, India collapsed for 36 runs and lost the test match. The current second wave of the Covid 19 virus in India has resulted in such a disaster. While there is finger pointing all around, with experts commenting on what went wrong, a dropped catch here, a run out there, I am cautiously optimistic about the future.
Criticism has poured in from all corners of the country as well as the world on how the government handled the crisis. Regardless, I will try to be as unbiased as possible in my comments. India played the first innings really well. With PM Modi’s initial lockdown arresting the spread of the virus. Towards the beginning of 2021, the number of cases came down drastically. And the mass vaccinations started. That is where India lowered its guard. Then the second wave stuck with a vengeance, catching the nation off guard.
During the great performance in the first innings, makeshift hospitals were created, medical equipment like masks for doctors and the ventilators were built on a scale. All these came off when the guard was lowered. When the medical opinion swung in favor of treatment using oxygen instead of ventilators, the oxygen logistics got highlighted. As soon as the oxygen shortage started emerging, hoarding started. And the mad rush to divert the scarce resources their way became the norm.
What caused the strong second wave ? There is a lot of speculation. Maybe a combination of several factors. The farmer’s agitation near Delhi, the largely maskless Kumbh mela at Haridwar, unmasked crowds in a cricket stadium in Gujarat, election rallies in states. And probably general attitude of complacency after a long and protracted confinement indoors.
The lowering of the guard could also be blamed for the vaccine logistics. Lot of dependence on SEI (Serum Institute of India) which invested its own money to start the production. No government bulk contracts or investment or financial aid was given to the company. While vaccine diplomacy is laudable, in competing with China, to gain influence in other countries which do not have vaccine manufacturing capabilities, millions of doses were given away. Leading to wide scarcity of vaccines. People’s negative attitude towards indigenously developed vaccine Covaxin and the Russian vaccine Sputnik V did not help either. Both of them are good enough. In any case, the current doses are only for us to get our foot into the door. More shots will be needed in the future anyway.
When the tragedy started unfolding, finger pointing started happening. It was the opposition parties, it was the media, particularly the western media. India, like China, is an ancient civilization with a lot of heritage. As a consequence it is sensitive to criticism coming from outside. The US government was blamed for not supplying the raw material for vaccine production. I am not supporting the US position, which all along said that her citizens are her first priority. The key question is when was the raw material ordered ? When was the contract signed with US companies ? Does not seem like until March, which is too late in the game anyway. It is a moot point now. The US government has already released the raw materials a few weeks back.
The US played the first innings really bad. It came back to play a very good second innings.President Trump was part of the first innings disaster. But to his credit, in spite of all other fallacies, he planned well for signing contracts with vaccine manufacturers ahead of time. He funded the Moderna vaccine in return for guaranteed supplies. Very aggressive logistics were put in place. President Biden ensured that he implemented the rollout with near flawlessness.
India assumed herd immunity has been achieved due to lowering of cases happening earlier this year. I for one questioned that assumption. Herd immunity can only be achieved if at least 70 to 80% of the population is vaccinated or has been exposed to the virus. It was unreasonable to expect such a large percentage being exposed to the virus. And the vaccination rate was miniscule.
India did not utilize its IT (Information Technology) prowess in setting up war rooms and digital dashboards to track the logistics and cases. It has reacted lately in doing so. Regardless, all is not lost. I dont want to spell doom and gloom. Things are likely to get better, in fact, a lot better.
States can be blamed and so can the local administrations. But the main blame rests squarely on the shoulders of PM Modi. He could have done better. I dont want to judge the capabilities of a person based on one disaster. He did well in a lot of other situations. In this innings, he scored a zero. Like one zero does not define a Virat Kohli, but if that zero comes in the most important match of his career, it does have some impact.
Continuing with the cricket test series in Australia, India came back to win two test matches and sealed a historic series win down under. If the cricket team can recover from a perfect storm, so can the nation. The current disaster will pass. I am cautiously optimistic that months ahead will be good. But the lessons learnt should stay with us for the rest of our lives. The match is not over until the last ball is bowled.
Thewriterfriends.com is an experiment to bring the creative people together on one platform. It is a free platform for creativity. While there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of platforms that provide space for expression around the world, the feeling of being a part of fraternity is often lacking. If you have a creative urge, then this is the right place for you. You are welcome here to be one of us.
लेखक: राजगुरू द. आगरकर अनुवाद: आ. चारुमति रानदास खान के साथ गए साथियों को गॉडफ्रे से मिलने के लिए इन्तज़ार नहीं करना पड़ा। गॉडफ्रे उनकी राह ही देख रहा था। उसे उनका आगमन अपेक्षित था। उसने प्रतिनिधियों को भीतर बुलाया। ‘‘आपकी शर्त के मुताबिक सभी सैनिक अपने–अपने जहाज़ों और नाविक तलों को वापस लौट गए…
YAHOO NEWS (ALEX WONG) August 12, 2020, 4:42 AM·2 mins read President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced a $1.5 billion contract with US biotech company Moderna for 100 million doses of an eventual coronavirus vaccine, the sixth such deal reached since May. This is 6th vaccine contract announced in USA. “I’m pleased to announce that…
India- China, Love Hate Relationship and Self Reliance Note:- I started writing this article some time in February but then forgot about it. Ever since the outbreak of Covid-19 from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the tirade against China has been gaining momentum all over the world. The whole world is obviously angry because every…
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for Corona Virus. They both have been quarantined separately. President Trump is at Walter Reed Medical Center, where he will spend “the next few days.” Trump has had a fever since this morning, a source said. He received a dose of the experimental Regeneron…
KARKIDAKA VAVU BALI-THE DAY WHEN SPIRITS COME ALIVE: Beneath everything lies trust and faith. It is only because of our Ancestors that we live and thrive in the present. A fact that is undeniable, in both biological as well spiritual senses. World over propitiating spirits is a practice that is done with fervor and dedication.…
Regret Plenty and bountiful! Everyone has their own Me, for missing my Blue Label in Mumbai Despite bountiful The shepherd boy On the top of the mud hill Staring at the setting sun Had his own! for not having taken birth in affluent lands! At the middle age many regret After having met a lovely…
RUSH OF MEMORIES Again I am a little boy with ruddy cheeks With twinkling eyes and bruised knees Running up the stairs two at a time Breaking into a song on a lonely climb Again I am a trusting soul for my friends so dear As I whisper secrets after drawing them near I…