Pandemic, where are we heading to? – The Times of India Blog

Posted: May 11, 2021 at 10:49 pm

The pandemic has exposed the worst features of our rotten system, With almost 30 lakh active cases and under reported deaths we as a nation are in a mess of our own creation.

If one goes by the report published by Dainik Bhaskar on the deaths in Indore and if those figures are extrapolated on pan India basis with some margin of error the figures of dead would be very very high and mind-blowing.

The media is already awash with heartbreaking images, data and stories showing the failure of the countrys health system in the face of surging infections and deaths. The problem areas in Indias health system have been developing for many years, but we preferred not to see those and shoved them under the carpet, perhaps, Not knowing that a crisis is just brewing round the corner. We even did not take the warnings of First Wave seriously and rather became arrogant.

Only the rich have right to live; Indias health care system.

After decades of under-investment in healthcare and preventive health, India has one of the most privatised health care systems in the world. As a consequence, healthcare costs are not only cause of poverty but also have sandwiched the people between the defunct public sector and the profit-focused private health care shops.

When countries like Vietnam, South Korea, China have successfully contained Covid-19 with fewer deaths, Indias thousands are struggling to find a hospital bed with oxygen supply, are gasping for breath and have died an ignominious death without adequate medical care.

Appallingly, the super-rich have taken advantage of the crisis. When the Covid-19 pandemic initially hit India, it resulted in adversely impacting the earnings of common man. According to non-profit rights group report Oxfam.

Indias 100 billionaires have seen their fortunes increase by Rs 12,97,822 crore since March last year which is enough to give every one of the 138 million poorest Indians a cheque for Rs 94,045 each.

In contrast, daily wage labourers and migrant workers suffered severely due to the pandemic after the nationwide lockdown was announced.

This is a worldwide phenomena. The worlds billionaires increased their wealth from $8 trillion to $10 trillion since March20. In Ireland, the richest 300 have increased their fortunes to 93 billion. These ultra-rich can retreat to their yachts, private islands and mansions for safety, and if needed can quickly access the best of healthcare or are using their substantial political influence to ensure business interests and profit predominate, even during this pandemic illustrating again how backward and unjust society is.

Similarly, As the common man in India struggles to access basic healthcare facilities during the second Covid-19 wave, Reportedly, the wealthy families are fleeing the country. The ultra-rich Indians have successfully managed to distance themselves from the growing health crisis and a majority of them have managed to flee the country arranging private jets to Europe, the Middle East and the Indian Ocean islands, according to a Bloomberg report. The report says -Most of these families are spending at least Rs 1.5 million (over Rs 10 lakh) to book private jets to flee the country. Some are even paying private jet operators for the return leg of the flight if the plane has no bookings, according to the CEO of a private jet firm quoted in the Bloomberg report.

For a country that has almost 85 % population earning approx 10000/-20000/ month, Forget buying a plane ticket, they are struggling to get a bed and oxygen in the hospitals. The affluent and those with Political connections on the other hand comfortably move into a Hospital at short notice.

All this clearly indicates that if the first wave of the pandemichad widened the income gap, the second wave has just exposed it. A Pew Research report from 2021 suggested that Indias poor populationhas doubled from 6 crore to 13.4 crore after the first wave of the pandemic.

The indications are very clear now, the pandemic in its second wave has entered the rural areas and with the monsoons nearby if the farmers are not taken care of we may have a famine-like situation. And the inflation, particularly the Food inflation may just go out of control.

What is needed to be done?

So, we have an urgent problem at hand and the pandemic has compounded the injustices and inequalities. The working class, the poor and the oppressed will continue to die because of government inaction, or more accurately, willful criminal neglect. An economic slump triggered by the pandemic, but caused by deeper contradictions inherent in the capitalist system will also make poverty, oppression, and inequality much worse.

Working-class and young people are fighting for their lives and dying in thousands.

At this stage, passing the buck and blaming China for this biological warfare or to blame the Climate Change or desecration of mother nature or Promised oxygen generation plants not set up or Govt failed to shore up the manufacturing capabilities of vaccines or arrange it through imports or the state governments did not learn from one years experience is not going to serve any purpose, as we have a serious problem whose solution has to be found. We can sort all this out in the next elections.

The scientists have already warned of impending third wave and there are already 5 variants of the virus floating around and on top of that barely 10% of our population has been vaccinated. At the current rate of vaccination, which is about 2.2 million doses administered per day, only 30 percent of the eligible population will be vaccinated fully by the end of this year. If India wants to cover at least 80 percent of its eligible population, i.e., 80 percent of the population above 18 years of age by the end of this year, then it must increase its vaccination rate by about 100 million doses/month

So, in view of this colossal gap, we may even have a Fourth and the fifth wave and the virus would have at least by then have 10 variants.

We need to get organised and mobilised now to break once and for all with this ruinous system that is destroying us.

The suggested course of action.

A famous quote of H L Mencken need to be always kept in mind while dealing with people ; The average man does not want to be free. he simply wants to be safe. So, act ruthlessly in times of crisis and save the lives of the people. This Strategy TTQT must be followed ruthlessly for at least a year plus and vaccination of atleast 80% population by the end of year will only help us all to bring the corona menace under control. The masses are suffering and frustration is brewing.

Views expressed above are the author's own.

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Pandemic, where are we heading to? - The Times of India Blog

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