New Delhi (CNN) – Six weeks ago, the Indian Health Minister Announced The country was in the “final stages” of the Govt-19 epidemic. This Friday, India announced, for the second day in a row, the highest number of new cases in a single day since the outbreak.
The The second wave Beginning in mid-March, India has destroyed communities and hospitals across the country. Everything is lacking: beds, medications, oxygen and respirators in the intensive care unit. The corpses are piled up in mortuaries and crematoriums.
India on Friday registered 332,730 new cases, the highest number of daily cases in the world. The United States ranks second with a maximum of 300,310 cases on January 2nd.
India’s population is approximately four times that of the United States, and its daily incidence is still low (in cases per one million people) when adjusted for population size.
But the truth is that the total number of cases in India now stands at more than 16 million confirmed cases and nearly 187,000 related deaths. University of Johns Hopkins.
“We are going through the worst phase of the epidemic,” Chandrika Bahadur, chairwoman of the Lancet Commission on Govt-19 in India, said on Wednesday. “The situation has been bad for a few weeks, but now it has peaked.”
And that peak shows no signs of falling at any time. As India sinks into crisis, many wonder: Where are the country’s leaders?
State ministers and local officials in Maharashtra, who have been hit hard, are on high alert about the second wave and ready to take action from February. On the contrary, there seems to be a leadership vacuum in the central government because Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not talk about the situation until recently.
Response from Indian leaders
In sporadic statements throughout April, Modi talked about the national vaccination initiative and agreed “Warning” Cases increased, but it was slow to order states to increase testing and surveillance, urging people to be vigilant and taking control measures.
He praised the country’s success as states imposed new restrictions and hospitals began to run out of space. “Despite the challenges, we have more experience, resources and vaccination,” his office said A press release April 8. Two days later, he celebrated the administration of 100 million doses of vaccines nationwide, Tuittendo They are “strengthening efforts to ensure a healthy and non-Govt-19 India.”
Until Tuesday, Modi had finally stressed the urgency of the situation and laid out new measures in a night-time speech to the nation. “The country is once again engaged in a major battle against Govt-19,” he said. “A few weeks ago, conditions stabilized, and then came the second wave.”
But by then, the eruption in India was already the largest in the world in terms of daily numbers. According to the World Health Organization, nearly 28% of the new cases in the world in the past week came from India.
Harsh Mander, a writer and human rights activist, said on Thursday that the crisis and the administration’s struggle to respond to it “showed complete arrogance and a kind of arrogance” in decision-making. “The government has fully and openly expressed (deficit) capacity and compassion.”
Modi, who won a landslide victory with his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2019, has gained immense popularity in India. Even last year, when the country’s economy was paralyzed by a tight shutdown, Modi often escaped harsh headlines and crushed opinion polls that other world leaders had to compete with.
But this wave is much bigger than the previous one. People have been exhausted and exhausted for more than a year of the epidemic. Patients and their loved ones, unable to get the care they need, have approached social media to ask for medical and free hospital beds. And experts who have been warning for months about a possible second wave are frustrated that their warnings have not been heeded.
The complaints spread through social media last week. Tens of thousands of people took to Twitter with hashtags like #ResignModi, #SuperSreaderModi and #WhoFailedIndia. Political figures, including state and former officials, have been vocal in criticizing the government for being too accountable and handling the crisis.
“The struggle against Govt 19 in India is a reflection of the (Modi) government”, Chidramaiah tweeted on Monday, Former Chief Minister of Karnataka. The government may have been surprised by the first wave, but he said, but “what’s the situation now? The forecast is even worse now.”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, a member of the Trinamool Congress, has called for Modi’s resignation. “The prime minister is responsible,” he said, adding that he had “done nothing to stop Govt.
Experts and health workers say the public has reduced their security with a false sense of security after the first wave subsided, which is why the second wave progressed so rapidly, but this attitude of optimism was exacerbated by government officials. Modi and Minister of Health Harsha Vardhan celebrated the apparent recovery of the country with great fanfare. The leaders did little to encourage public gatherings, allowing a large Hindu pilgrimage to last several weeks, with millions of visitors traveling across several states.
Non-action campaigns against Govt-19
This time the anger increased because Modi flew to hold political rallies when he met his ministers about the eruption.
Four states and one union territory are holding elections for their state legislatures, including West Bengal, a major battleground currently ruled by Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress party, which has never had a BJP government.
It has become the main target of the BJP and Modi has held several rallies in the state with thousands of people in March and April.
However, as the cases escalated, many of the contesting parties withdrew from the campaign. The Indian National Congress, the main opposition party, announced last Sunday that it would suspend all public rallies in West Bengal. Banerjee said his party would also hold short rallies due to the epidemic.
BJP It limited its rallies to “small public meetings” and announced that it would have 500 people. Modi was scheduled to travel to West Bengal for a campaign rally on Friday, but on Thursday he announced that he would cancel the trip to attend top Govt meetings.
But activist Mander said Modi and the BJP’s rallies throughout March and April and his delayed performance would undermine his message to the general public of increased awareness.
“Ordinary people are being blamed,” he said. “But what we are seeing is that the Prime Minister has mobilized a large number of people, none of whom are wearing masks and without any breaks in political meetings.”
The misery of the people on the streets of India
This week, the government launched a series of projects across the country, including 100,000 oxygen cylinders, new oxygen production plants and hospitals dedicated to Covit-19 patients.
But while states and hospitals are waiting for much-needed assistance, the emergence of a black market to fill the void highlights the lack of resources for federal authorities.
Earlier this week, Viswaroop Sharma, a 22-year-old student, took his father, who was suffering from Govt disease, to a hospital in Delhi but could not get beds or oxygen. They had to wait outside, where “nothing, he died in front of me, in my arms,” Sharma told CNN.
When he returned home, he found that his mother was infected and that he was having difficulty breathing. Frenzied, he bought an oxygen cylinder on the black market, put an oxygen mask on her, took her from hospital to hospital for several days, and finally found a free bed 100 kilometers away.
That hope is completely shattered ‘
The country has a long time to prepare because the deficit is particularly bad, Mander said.
“They had a whole year to do it,” he said. “Suddenly we see this criminal shortage across the country. As you start to see, orders were not delivered and companies were not put under pressure because they did not produce.”
He added that the grief and frustration in the country could create a deep generational gap between the people and its government.
“A lot of things broke down last year, but one of them is optimism,” Mander said. India’s poorest and most vulnerable residents “believed that when things got worse, we would be protected by our government and our bosses. That hope is completely shattered … they own it.”
Yet Modi’s reputation can protect him from public backlash and secure his position of power.
Mandar said that when Modi was re-elected in 2019, there were already “very few illusions”. The economy was in trouble, with little job creation; The agricultural sector is in crisis, which has led to a series of struggles by farmers across the country. Despite these many problems in the hands of Modi, his policies and his Hindu nationalist agenda won him a loyal following at a time when tensions were rising between Hindus and Muslims in the country.
Even now, with thousands of people dying every day, “none of this seems to be against the government’s reputation,” Mander said.
Of its Hindu nationalist platform “can only be explained by force”.
In the next general election, it remains to be seen how the epidemic will affect Modi or his party in 2024, he said.
Meanwhile, the public in the aftermath of the eruption must deal with fear, pain and a sense of abandonment.
Returning home after seeing the hospital bed open, Sharma said, “New Delhi is getting worse day by day and it is becoming hell.” “They didn’t get anything.”
“I was completely helpless,” he added. “I’m so scared, I’m scared. I don’t want to lose my mother because I lost my father. I can’t survive if I lose my mother.”
– CNN’s Aditi Sankal and Isha Mitra contributed to this report.
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