Wading through troubled waters

24 May 2021 / 17:16 H.

TOUTED as the worst in the world, the Covid-19 situation in India continues with desperation and has gone way past the breaking point, with more than 400,000 daily infections. Actually, the number could be much more.

It is indeed acutely both depressing and distressing to watch the horror of India’s health system breaking down in full view of the world. Videos and images of people waiting and screaming to save their family and friends are catastrophic by any measure.

There is a new high in the number of deaths and infections, with no immediate solution in sight for the harassed citizens of India. With deaths looming as a daily threat, we hear horror stories of how money and wealth have been rendered worthless in a pandemic.

Power and influence seem to be still holding fort with the most expensive commodity, oxygen, making itself available to the who is who in the community. One death every four minutes, that is the nightmarish reality in India with dead bodies being burned with no respect nor ritual, in any clearing or open space, car parks, community parks etc.

The region around Varanasi, one of the holiest cities in the world for Hindus, is among the worst affected by the second wave of coronavirus sweeping India. Many angry citizens of the region, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, are now asking where their MP, Narendra Modi – India’s prime minister – is in their hour of need.

India was flying its victory flag just months ago when it had claimed of having contained the Covid-19 spread, and now with multiple new variants, the medical fraternity is giving up hope of any reprieve soon.

Modi has also come under fire for exporting millions of vaccine doses to over 60 countries as part of its humanitarian assistance. It looks like India is now running short of not just oxygen but also test kits as well as vaccines, and Modi is deemed to have failed to ensure the domestic demand was first fulfilled.

How did things come to this state in India? I have my own theories. The numbers started rising soon after the Holi festival, then there were election campaigns and the voting, followed by the mother of all “evil”, the Kumb Mela festival. There were also the more ferocious variants of the virus that are acrimoniously tearing the second largest populous nation.

The Covid-genocide in India is out of control and doctors in India are saying that things have taken a turn for the worse and are beyond recovery.

In one hospital in New Delhi, the entire medical team literally ran away, escaping brutal physical onslaught from angry mobsters comprising devastated family and friends of Covid patients.

In Malaysia, as I write this, we had close to 4,500 cases last Friday and half a million Covid infections to date, and that is roughly 1.5% of the total population. Our National vaccination plan is nowhere near our target and the constant excuse that there isn’t sufficient supply had been overused.

People are getting exhausted, going back and forth with the multiple lockdowns, and having to cope with the convulsing economy. Amongst this, the move to offer AstraZeneca, which has had a series of bad publicity, to volunteers has seen both accolades and brickbats.

I am with the praises, despite hiccups at the initial stage of registration when people were left be wildered, and the initial technical glitch, the process has been smooth so far.

Soon after registration I received a confirmation on date, venue and time, super swift I thought.

So, we are back in lockdown, nothing new except that people are not taking it too seriously. Although there seems to be almost full compliance with masking, social distancing is not being taken seriously and I see pockets of incidents where gatherings are being initiated.

The warning that beds in intensive care units are running low is a good caution to jolt people into realisation that all is not well. The only loud voices echoing everywhere is “stay home”, which is not too difficult and yet the most defied. The lockdown districts and states need to work towards a single objective of bringing the daily infections down.

We are in unprecedented times, needing great fortitude and greater stamina to wade through troubled waters. Good times will be back soon!

Selamat Hari Raya.



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