Friday, March 31st, 2023 02:01:02

Second Wave of Covid-19 : Acid Test for Governments

By Dr. Alok Chakrawal
Updated: May 25, 2021 11:06 am

The second wave of pandemic Covid-19 is devastating and leaving the entire country in a state of trauma. Country wide casualties per day is crossing 4000 for several consecutive days in the month of May 2021. The second wave started taking bad shape in the second week of April 2021; and it is o of control till today. Undoubtably, the second wave of Covid- 19 in India is more fatal as compared to the first wave during April – June last year.  But there is a major difference in tackling of this pandemic wave one to wave two.

In the first wave of the virus the Central Government of India has imposed countrywide lockdown at a stretch from March 25th to April 14th, 2020, in the first spell. Further, the Central Government extended it for another 21 days till May 3rd 2020. The lockdown was extended till the month of June 2020. Looking to the bad shape of the economy, the Central Government started issuing guidelines for unlocking the economy from June 8, 2020. India is a democratic country; and, hence, people have freedom to criticize the Governments and machineries to any extent. There were good number of critics of the central Government for its policy of locking down the economy. The Central Government learnt a lesson from this and decided to give freedom to the State Governments to take decisions about managing their respective economies during pandemic period. Now, the onus was shifted from the Central Government to the State Governments.

The Indian states are governed by various political parties such as Bharatiya Janata Party, Indian National Congress, Aam Adami Party, Communist Party of India (M), DMK, BJD, TMC, JDU, and others. Some of the parties are having certain defined ideology whereas some are open to align with the ruling parties. Obviously, these political parties are bound to be critical about each other’s policies, ideologies and actions. As a matter of fact, the Central Government and the ruling party was at the center of criticism by the opposition and so-called intellectuals of the nation during the first wave of pandemic Covid -19. As we know that it is the State Government who has to decide about how to tackle to grim situation of second wave of virus attack with more fatal attack; various State Governments are imposing lockdowns in different phases with a combination of restricted movements, limited economic activities, night curfews, and close monitoring of the state of affairs. The present situation is tough for the Central Government as compared to the first wave but it is even tougher for the State Governments as they are more responsible for providing facilities for proper treatment and care to the Covid-19 patients.

There is another type of threat knocking the door. The new threat is black fungus clinical known as mucer mycosis. It is a kind of fungal infection happening to those patients who have been recovered from Covid-19 infection. Doctors say that black fungal infection is a common disease but Covid-19 patients have low immunity power; and, hence it is difficult for them to fight against this infection.

India recorded its highest single day Covid-19 infected new patients on May 6, 2021, figuring out to be 4,14,433 in numbers. Experts say the peak of the second wave is over; and it’s coming down gradually now. Latest figure of daily Covid-19 positive cases on May 20, 2021 was 2,59,269. We must realize that this considerable decrease in the new cases in Covid-19 patients is a combined effort of the Central and State Governments. This is the time when need to show our solidarity instead of counter blaming Central and State Governments.

There are people who will always be critical about the administration irrespective of the ideology and principles. There are many vocal agencies criticizing Indian state of medical affairs without considering the ground realities. They do not hesitate in comparing Indian scenario with the USA, UK, Australia, Israel and other developed countries. We cannot ignore the fact that we are a developing nation; and, we are far behind in terms of medical facilities and healthcare as compared to the developed nation. Despite having limited resources, India has fought well against the first wave as well as the second wave to Covid-19 pandemic.

Covid-19 vaccines manufactured in India has played a vital role in saving lives in developing countries all over the world. India has supplied 66 million vaccines to 97 countries commercially of by way of grant under the global agreement. In June 2020, long before their vaccine had been authorized anywhere, the University of Oxford and pharma company AstraZeneca did a deal with the Serum Institute of India, a private company that obtained a license to manufacture “1 billion doses for low and middle-income countries.” India has its own vaccine, Covaxin, produced by Bharat Biotech. It is also licensed to manufacture two more, the US’s Novavax and Johnson & Johnson shots, but neither are authorized for use in India itself. Moreover, Russia has started supply of Sputnik V to India. Further, they have agreed to its production in India by local firms. There is a lot of hue and cry that why India did export vaccines to the other countries when they did not have enough dozes for domestic consumption. We need understand that as per the agreement with the pharma company AstraZeneca we are bound to supply certain percentage of the manufactured vaccines to the low and middle-income countries.

Covid-19 is not the only pandemic which has created havoc in the world. The experts say the Covid-19 may affect 0.04 to 0.1 percent of the global population. If we look back in the history, there has been even deadlier pandemics creating horrible scene on this earth. The Spanish Flu left almost 100 million people dead during 1918 to 1920 AD. Similarly, Plague of Justinian killed 15 to 100 million people worldwide during 541 to 549 AD. Antonine Plague has also devastated this earth brutally in the late 2nd century.

An objective analysis will prove that India has fought more successfully the war against second wave of Covid-19 as compared to the other developing and developed countries. Let us examine it objectively. The United States of America has registered almost 10% of its total population as Covid-19 patients. 7.5% population of Brazil and 7% population of United Kingdom are affected by Covid-19; whereas, hardly 2% Indian population is affected by Covid-19 pandemic. It is a fact and data are available on records. A critical analysis will certainly prove that India is a better country in managing the crisis time and fighting against the pandemic Covid-19. Every pandemic has life of 3 to 10 years; and, hence, we need to be more careful and prepared for further wave/waves of Covid-19.


By Dr. Alok Chakrawal

(The writer is a Professor at Saurashtra University, Gujarat)

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