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The pandemic

India’s self-inflicted Covid crisis

We Indians have only ourselves to blame for the dystopian “Covid catastrophe”, says Zarir Udwadia in The Times of India. A runaway 350,000 infections a day represents a “tragic global milestone”. Yet just three months ago our health minister triumphantly announced that India had “flattened the Covid graph”. Now hospitals don’t have oxygen, drugs are not available, “even at black market rates”, and crematoriums and graveyards are overflowing. “Hospital beds are impossible to come by even for the rich and powerful.”

We lowered our guard. While Britain allocated £20m for investigating variants, we’ve sequenced just 0.1% of cases. So we know nothing about the virulent new strain out there. The unchecked spread of misinformation – “death by WhatsApp” – means Indians fear the vaccine. But our “innate inability” to socially distance is really to blame. I’m convinced many people “acquire Covid at crowded vaccine centres”, get sick days later and hold the jab responsible. What a farce. Meanwhile, “self-congratulatory” Narendra Modi signed off “heinously inappropriate” events such as the huge Hindu festival of Kumbh Mela. And despite mighty factories making us a “vaccine superpower”, we’ve only got jabs into 4.5% of a reluctant population. We’re now running frighteningly short, too. Someone’s export calculations were “hopelessly wrong”. We must vaccinate on a “war footing”, for humanity’s sake as well as our own. 

Read the full article here.