Could India afford to be the epicener of Coronavirus?
By Mansi Soni and Kanika Vij(14/06/2020 07:30 IST)
Spotting huge humanitarian and economic implications of SARS CoV-2, many across the globe had directly accused China of the creation of the virus in laboratories and then spreading to the world. Later published on March 17 2020, in ‘Nature Medicine’ busted a theory with an analysis which states COVID 19 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus". All the available evidence has demonstrated that the virus has an ecological conception. The dietary selections of the Chinese population have affected a leap from wildlife to humans. As wild species-ranging from mammals to reptiles-are a part of their diet. A 2018 report of 'Undark magazine' explains "China consumes 28% of the world meat- twice as much as the United States" which can give a lot of understanding to the world as to how lack of awareness could result in a disaster.
Owing to this cause of spread the question arises If India was the epicenter of COVID 19? By the emergence of basic needs and unopened barriers, a continuation coronavirus consequences have taken over the lives of the innocent citizens of various demographies. Being the 10th biggest hotspot, India is highly affected. Coronavirus cases have risen in the past few weeks. As per the instructions provided by the government for the lockdown, the Indian population now being aware largely by the effects of the virus. Leaving the medical treats overwhelmed in its wake, India is heading towards a gradual increase in its cases rate when compared to the data of other affected countries. According to the experts, the countries with underdeveloped health care operations are the ones who are battling this virus with difficulties.
What could have been the possible response of the government? With no recent outbreak experience, would the government have taken it seriously? Well, I assume yes. Immediately, the Indian government have responded with a statement of emergency, closures of academic or business institutions, public meeting places, and has extended other restrictions intended to halt the spread of the virus. The prevailing infrastructure has supported the will of the government. Undoubtedly, the available resources and the current healthcare infrastructure is suffering in such an outbreak because of incontrollable Covidiots.
Disaster management activities, which comes into the minds of the people who have been witnessing the sufferings of the country’s citizens across the world are the part of the pandemic. The government is taking measures to eliminate the virus by coping up with the situations by putting a nation-wide lockdown to break the infection chain. Whereas, stakeholders could have sharply ramped up the nation’s available tattered healthcare facilities by adding more beds to the hospitals, raised capacity of intensive care units, requisitioned parts of private hospitals, cited ventilators, enrolled more medical practitioners on contract and earmarked government hospitals for COVID 19 patients and the settlers. The government would have rehabilitated medical colleges and railway coaches in the isolation wards and stadiums into quarantine establishments as it did when cases were rising exponentially.
Sustaining emotional support, more or less, lies in the hands of citizens too and just not the media. As we saw, lockdown instructions had a psychological influence on people. The intense alteration in daily formalities and the sudden disappearance of their social and recreational life has affected the youth and the aged not only physically, financially but also psychologically. Many people accepted impulsively by stocking up the fundamental commodities such as food, sanitary and hygiene aids. However, in the time of this crisis volunteering has been an answer to this pandemic as ASHA workers, panchayats, heads of self-help groups, NGOs, NPOs and community religious leaders supported migrant laborers with required necessities and compassion. Social media has also played a helping by empowering sufferers with digital platforms to provide aid or by creating awareness about government instructions. It is uncertain that the situation would have been any different if India itself was the country from where the virus had originated.
As people hardly confronted such exceptional situation in the past, it becomes extremely significant for people to have awareness and understanding about COVID-19, how the virus spreads, and the logic about the need of social distancing. Especially in times of great suspicion, various conspiracies hypotheses tend to sprout up. A Coronavirus (COVID-19) Awareness Assessment showed that around 48.1% people received information regarding COVID-19 through social media, 26.9% through news studies, and 14.7% through health professionals and around 6.8% through peers.
But despite having a complete perception of precautionary measures, people dwelling by those measures are not conceivable. Dharavi, Mumbai which is one of the most colonized areas in the world (with 3.6 lakh people per sq. km) is evident that the one necessary norm to prevent the spread of COVID-19, physical distancing, is practically unthinkable here. Dharavi like the situation might have emerged a few days earlier if India was to be the epicenter of the virus. But there wouldn't have much difference.
- Undark (magazine) - China meat consumption climate change
- The Hindu (website)
- Tata Capital blogs
- Economic Times (website)
- Peronal observations and analysis