Sunday, January 17, 2021

US Media Attacks PM Modi Over COVID-19 Crisis But Forgets Its Own Devastation

The New York Times in a recent article reported the failure of Indian PM Narendra Modi’s government in managing the Covid-19 pandemic which has so far claimed over 4500 lives and infected around 160,000 people in the South Asian country.

The article asserted that the severest downfall of Indian PM Modi’s coronavirus policy has been the destruction and agony it inflicted on the nation’s informal sector, mostly involving people from poverty-stricken villages, who work in big cities like Delhi, Mumbai and elsewhere.

Thousands of migrant workers were left without any earnings after the lockdown was ordered with a four-hour notice. The migrant workers couldn’t pay rent; they didn’t have food to eat. They looked toward their villages, where they could find refuge and food by relying on extended family, the NYT report said.

NYT criticised the Modi government for abruptly halting public transport, adding that the migrant workers were compelled to travel by foot towards their villages, walking hundreds of miles in high temperatures with many killed in the journey.

The article lamented the lockdown and said that it was implemented keeping the middle and upper classes in mind and not the poor workers. But the COVID-19 cases are expanding in dense urban clusters of the poor, who can’t afford the luxury of social distancing. “It is India’s poor who are and will be affected the most by a rising number of infections and economic catastrophe,” it added.

According to the article, a monstrous 60 per cent of the coronavirus cases in India have been reported from five cities — Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Pune. “India’s commercial capital, Mumbai, and Pune are already running out of hospital beds for critical patients. Mumbai is the worst hit and accounts for more than 20 per cent of all cases, and the rise in cases is outpacing the ability of the city to ramp up its health infrastructure.”

The article said that of the 30 countries that have registered more than 25,000 coronavirus cases, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are amongst the nations with the lowest levels of testing per million people, which creates doubts whether the slow spread of the Covid-19 cases in South Asia is a result of the lack of testing.

But the low mortality rates in South Asia, the article added, appears to be true as no indication has emerged of large-scale under-reporting of deaths across India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. “It seems that a major factor explaining the lower fatality rates in South Asia is demographics. The median age in India is 29 years, 23 in Pakistan and 27 in Bangladesh, while the median age is 38 in the United States, 40.5 in Britain and 45 in Italy.”

Meanshile, the US death toll from coronavirus crossed 100,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. That means an average of almost 900 people died every day in the US since the first known Covid-19-related deaths were reported.

The article was originally published in The New York Times

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