Apr 29, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – The true number of deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic is staggering. Words like catastrophic and colossal cannot be considered to be overstatements since the experts from across the globe who are watching on, with fingers crossed, believe that the real official death toll is anywhere from two to five times the number being reported in India. The numbers in the subcontinent break one record after another with no end in sight.
The first problem, among many others, is that health and government authorities in India do not have any time to spare on such luxuries as counting the dead, for they are too busy dealing with the living and struggling to keep them in that state. Already fears are intensifying about where this will all end up, first in India itself, and next regarding the prospects for the rest of the world, in this pandemic which shows no signs of letting up. On each occasion that there is some little bit of a respite that is experienced there is some new development in some new corner of the globe about a new variant, new cases, new numbers, all of which send everyone rushing for cover.
Though it may smack of second-guessing of hindsight, of being after the fact and of not being helpful to anyone, it still has to be said. For starters, the highly populous nation of India, with its 1.4 billion people, made a major blunder, when its authorities allowed the mass gatherings of tens of thousands of its citizens for a Hindu festival. That was asking for trouble and though no one could have imagined the extent of the fallout, there it is being lived with now and in a very worrisome state. Sometimes discretion and commonsense are the best part of judgment and wisdom. There is no need for any advanced university education to appreciate the dangers that are inherent in some situations.
That was one opportunity bypassed when firm discipline and the orderliness that follows from such would have served the now suffering and barely able to breathe people of India well. But that is now history and the consequences have to be absorbed, the punches rolled with, which is the same story that has relevance to the current severe spike in COVID-19 confirmed cases and still to be estimated real death toll. It needs to be mentioned also that those record-breaking confirmed cases may be the smaller part of that horror story, since those are the results from actual testing done. The other instance of thoughtlessness was when large gatherings, against all good sense, were allowed, if not encouraged, by the Narendra Modi Government, in favour of attendance at the party’s mass rallies. Unthinking and selfish leaders have brought down the wrath of God upon the heads of their peoples.
Now, in recent days, something as basic and taken for granted as breathing has transformed into the huge undertaking of a life and death gasping for air that is not there. Further, there are no hospital beds, no oxygen tanks, not enough expert hands to tend to the wave after unstoppable wave of very sick patients that come seeking relief, any kind of relief. And the relief oxygen supplies that have to make their way from the industrial states to where they are needed the most seem like an eternity away to those waiting. All of this has made the news in the starkest possible fashion in the New York Times, Reuters, USA Today and the BBC Online news editions, among other well-read news sources.
The news cannot be grimmer, which is what makes a watching world take an indrawn breath and observe. No place is safe or out of reach. Right here we have anxieties and concerns over reports of variants of the virus in nearby Brazil. The word from India is of a still unknown and unconquerable strain of the virus, which is part of the problem. For the virus operates in an almost spirit form: it can be anywhere, grab hold of any human carrier, and wreak havoc on those systems that are frailer, less vigilant. Though the various vaccines currently approved for production and use offers a level of protection and confidence, there are still those unknowns that come out from behind the bushes and lay low. The COVID-19 virus, as is now known and encountered and accepted knows no barriers capable of stopping it from taking root and flourishing rapidly.
This is what an alarmed world is concerned about, since it exhibits all the frightening characteristics of endless self-renewing and at will. The best that we can do at this time is get vaccinated, take sensible precautions, follow the protocols (all of them) laid down by the COVID-19 Task Force, keep our head on and hope for the best.
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