I had written about the onset of second wave in India on 15th Feb 2021 and the post had gone quite viral. But who in the government takes blog posts seriously. Instead we heard platitudes: it’s not as virulent or dangerous, mortality is much lower, it’s not a second wave, we are well prepared. And people kept believing, “corona khatam ho gaya”. It has backfired badly.
This Guardian article quotes me extensively and reasonably correctly, except at the end where it quotes me as saying that the worst is yet to come. On the contrary, I have posted openly on my Twitter account last week that Mumbai has peaked and that things should get better from this point onwards. Although the situation is extremely grim, I still stand by my statement and am certain that the number of cases in Maharashtra will start falling soon.
I don’t agree with the conclusions of this article that India’s healthcare system is “broken”. The system is functioning to the best of its ability but is overloaded to way beyond capacity. Even first world countries whose systems are “unbroken” haven’t been able to give beds to all their seriously ill patients and a large number of them passed away at home waiting for medical care that never came.
We are also reading many articles on India’s “faltering” vaccine program. But despite all the so called faltering, India has managed to complete 13 crore vaccinations in three months, almost equivalent to the populations of UK and France combined, while first world UK has still not reached half its own population, having administered just 3.3 crore doses in six months. By reversing the gaze, one could just as easily conclude that a “broken” Indian healthcare system is still superior to “working” first world ones.
I would like to acknowledge the untiring efforts of Panvel Municipal Corporation officials to ensure that supplies of oxygen are maintained. It is yet another proof that the system is working, and working very hard to keep things functioning despite all odds. Yes, the costs of oxygen have gone through the roof. Yes, I am still fighting a legal battle with the Corporation and have several issues with them that need resolution. But I will still not stand by and watch their genuine efforts being belittled.