How The Center Has Failed To Tackle India’s Second Wave Of COVID-19

How The Center Has Failed To Tackle India's Second Wave Of COVID-19

Last year in May 2020, when the first wave of COVID-19 was at its peak in the country, historian Ramachandra Guha wrote a piece in NDTV and warned that India’s second wave of COVID-19 can be more catastrophic if the central government ignored expertise’s advice. He urged that the worst is yet to come and thus Modi government must adopt a holistic and consultative approach to cope with the deadly pandemic.

Many experts believe that India failed to even anticipate the second wave of Coronavirus in February 2021. When the US and other western countries were dealing with a deadly second wave, ‘unmask’ Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and his star campaigners were holding the election rallies in the poll-bound states.

Modi government, who called Markaz ‘a super spreader’ and held responsible for the COVID blast in country during the first wave, allowed millions of people to gather at Kumbh Mela in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, during the second wave of Coronavirus in early March 2021.

There is mounting criticism by International media and Indian health experts that PM Modi and state authorities have made many blunders, putting millions of people’s lives at risk.

At the time of writing the story (27 April 2021), India recorded 323,144 cases and 2,771 deaths, with hospitals across the country battling a shortage of basic needs like oxygen and beds, including Remdesivir and COVID plasma.

Here we are trying to explain that how this deadly wave has exposed the government’s ‘world largest vaccination program’ and how the country’s health system collapsed.

Neglected Second Wave By The Government

India sees a slight dip in the number of COVID cases last year during winter in mid-October but when the country reports a huge decline with a few thousand cases in February, India’s overconfident Health Minister Harsh Vardhan declared the country was “in the endgame” of the outbreak. Instead of making plans to curb the second wave, the entire cabinet was busy lauding PM Modi’s “vaccine diplomacy” and parts of Indian Media was calling PM a “vaccine Guru”.

When the second wave of the pandemic was ramping up, India allowed businesses to reopen, markets with huge crowds, malls, gyms and swimming pools started in a full-fledged manner all over the country.

In mid-March, state governments ignored religious gatherings, including Holi and most recently Kumbh Mela in Haridwar with no proper COVID rules and regulations.

Read more about how the elections and the Kumbh Mela have become India’s COVID-19 super spreaders.

Dismissed Experts Advice

Indian Express reported that a Niti Ayog committee headed by Dr VK Paul had urged authorities and Health Ministry to scale up the oxygen and beds in hospitals to cope with the upcoming second wave. The panel told the government last year in September that to meet a surge of 3 lakh new cases a day, the country needed 1.6 lakh ICU beds, and 3.6 lakh non-ICU beds. It also said 75 per cent of non-ICU beds should be enabled for oxygen delivery.

Talking to journalist Karan Thapar in an interview, political commentator Ramchandra Guha said that Modi has completely failed in terms of handling the COVID crisis and blindly ignored scientists and health experts’ advices just like Trump did with Mr Fauci.

Failed To Implement Vaccination Program

Union Health Minister Dr Harsha Vardhan’s claim of having enough COVID doses in stock exposed in April last week when the government asked Russia and the US to send their vaccines to meet the demands.

Things turned into chaos at hospitals when the government failed to come up with proper planning and ideas to implement the so-called ‘world largest vaccination program’ all over the country.

As of now, just more than 140 million people in India have received the first jab of COVID since the program started on January 16- which is just over a tenth of the total population of the country.

Pune-based Serum institute- which produces Covishield, said that it would not be able to supply by June due to lack of funding.

Focused To Win Elections

Assembly elections for five states were announced by ECI amid India’s second wave of COVID-19 and the number of cases suddenly raised soon after political parties took to the streets and organized dozens of roadshows with lakhs of their followers.

One thing that was common among all the political parties and leaders was that they were not following the COVID safety protocols during their rallies. Many leaders like PM Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP chief JP Nadda, TMC chief and CM Mamata Banerjee, and many other leaders were cheering up with unmask and carefree crowds.

PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, who were desperately trying to win the Bengal, were completely preoccupied during the state election. It seems that state elections are more important than governing the nation.

Lack Of Planning

Last Sunday, during his monthly Radio dialogue to the nation- ‘Mann Ki Baat’, PM Modi disappointed the entire country with having no ideas, no plans, no vision in his hand even after India’s second wave of COVID-19 crisis—that killed thousands of people over the past two weeks. PM Modi failed to explain that how India needs some stringent and urgent steps to stop the killing due to the virus.

It is important to note that PM Modi, who declared India’s victory against COVID at the Davos meeting in January this year, has been facing massive embarrassment and criticism from all over the world. His vaccine diplomacy proved that it was just a hasty decision to compete with China and other European countries at the international forum.

From January to mid-April, India exported over 66 million doses to more than 80 countries at a time when the country’s two vaccine manufacturers, Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech, were not going to be able to quickly meet the demand domestically.

Meanwhile, India’s second wave of COVID-19 forced the government to stop exporting the vaccines.

Next week, from May 1, India will open the vaccination program for all over 18 years and it will be done with the help of American and Russia made vaccines.

The situation in India is worsening day by day with reporting more than 300,000 daily COVID-19 cases and nearly 3,000 deaths. The country’s health care system has been completely collapsed with the shortage of bed, oxygen cylinders,

India must hold PM Modi and his leadership responsible for this COVID calamity.

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