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Covid-19 in India: India reaches 111 thousand deaths

The failure of government lockdown places India just one million cases away from the USA.

By: Maen Al-Tayyem

India, one of the world's largest states, has just hit an all-time high in its COVID-19 cases and deaths. Specialists predict, that if the growth rate maintains its course, it is just a matter of time until India surpasses the USA in the same way it surpassed Brazil recently.

Photo curtesy of Ketut Subiyanto via Pexels

Although India had its first case of COVID-19 at the end of January, it did not have any community transmission until March. Shortly after, the state decided to lock the country down, suspending all domestic transportation and requesting people to stay home. Local police brutally enforced lockdown. Videos were posted on social media platforms of policemen forcefully ensuring people were complying with governmental instructions using methods such as public humiliation and beating transgressors with metal and wooden rods. However, there is more to the story.

India is currently ruled by the BJ party ‒ a right-wing Hindu nationalist party with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at its head. Modi was elected due to his record in economic reforms, but these have been impacted negatively by the pandemic and the lockdown.

Amid the struggle of the state to control the pandemic, the economic hardship, the hunger and the misinformation, some estimate that between March and the end of May around 600 people died due to circumstances created by the pandemic and the terrible government response.

As lockdown measures proved ineffective and caused more harm than good, the government decided to repeal them and open most sectors. Since then the toll of the disease has been increasing substantially, which has led to India surpassing a 100 thousand Covid-19 related deaths with a daily average of 1100. Experts stress that the virus is still making its way through the country with the health sectors already overwhelmed and deaths among staff in hospitals on the rise.

The urban districts are the ones that have been hit hardest which is expected due to the condensed living conditions. This is especially true for poor neighborhoods and people travelling to urban areas for treatment and healthcare.

Looking at the situation in different Indian states, Maharashtra has been hit the hardest and reports the highest rates of infection and deaths whilst having the same testing capacity than other states that have low rates of infection. The impression that many experts have is that this is due to the failure to accommodate to various scenarios in different states. However, others deem that the worst has already passed when it comes to Maharashtra as immunity antibodies have been found in almost half the population of some neighborhoods. This has come at the high price of almost 38 thousand lives and the world’s highest infection rate.

Photo curtesy of Google Maps

In Punjab state the situation is different. Although the state’s infection rate is in line with the national incidence rate, Punjab has a high case to fatality ratio ‒ the highest in the country ‒ which is still on the rise. This has been attributed to the latency in tracking cases leading to their discovery when it is already too late.

Photo curtesy of Google Maps

India’s rates on infection and death will remain high and it will take time for the curve to be flattened, experts predict. Nevertheless, the economic impact on the country might be far greater than that of the virus ‒ the poor and the weak will be the ones who pay the soaring price of this pandemic.


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