When the “Indian variant virus” made the whole world talk about it, what happened to the “epicenter” in India?
On June 15, India’s latest official statistics showed that in the past 24 hours, there were 60,471 new confirmed cases, 29,570,881 confirmed cases, 2,726 new deaths, and 377031 deaths.
In other words, although there are still more than 60,000 diagnoses and nearly 3,000 deaths every day, and the real situation is probably worse, this is the lowest level of the epidemic in India in two months, compared to the 100,000 diagnoses every day when it was at its worst The severity of the tragic situation has been relieved.
At the same time, the Indian epidemic has shown a trend of “southward movement”: Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located, and Tamil Nadu, which borders the Indian Ocean to the south, have already surpassed the number of newly diagnosed cases in the northern capital, Delhi. The first and second place in India.
Suishui, a Chinese blogger currently living in Tamil Nadu, said that the spread of the epidemic in India is “much like a wildfire”-“the fire in North India has been reduced, but it has spread to South India, where the latter is burning. , And even the entire Southeast Asia has been’ignited'”.
One of the reasons why the epidemic in India has not been effectively controlled is that the “closure of the city” has distinctive Indian characteristics.
At the end of May, the number of confirmed cases in the southern state of Tamil Nadu leaped to the highest in India, so the state government announced a complete lockdown for one week (afterwards, it was extended by another week due to the severity of the epidemic). However, the government has also “humanized” giving the people a day to “prepare for the blockade”, and they can go to the streets to buy daily necessities without restrictions.
People who have witnessed it said that they have never seen such a “chaotic magical” scene-people flock to the streets to buy food, queues everywhere, and the prices of vegetables and fruits have soared. Most of them have doubled to three times and are still in short supply. Thousands of people crowded into the long-distance station to return home by car.
Later news referred to that day as “Madness on Lockdown Eve” (Madness on Lockdown Eve). Needless to say, these crowds on the eve of the lockdown may have further aggravated the spread of the virus.
During the lockdown period, all grain, oil and non-staple food and grocery stores were not allowed to open, which caused new problems in India. There is a kind of grain and oil store in India called PDS (the abbreviation of Public Distribution System), which is the supply store of the government’s subsistence allowance system. Families that meet the poverty standard are issued by the state with ration cards, and they can get free rations and rations at these stores every month. Other consumer goods at ration prices.
The fact that PDS stores are not open means that for many poor families in India, food will be cut off for a week. Rice is the staple food of South Indians. To save money, many poor people often only eat staple food without eating vegetables. For example, you can cook rice with lemon and a little salt and spices to make you full. Therefore, no rice supply is tantamount to being hungry.
The state government was aware of the flaws in this system, so it quickly revised the decree to allow PDS stores to be open for 4 hours every morning. The problem of eating is solved, and there is also the problem of drinking water-many people in India do not have tap water at home, so they have to go to the water point to fetch water. In this city, fetching water has become a problem without letting people gather.
Suishui believes that the “Indian-style lockdown” can only prove one truth: the lockdowns that lack supply and logistical support are all “pseudo lockdowns”, which will inevitably bring chaos and may aggravate the spread of the epidemic.
Local vaccines “roll over”
Another reason for the uncontrollable epidemic in India is the shortage of vaccines and the low vaccination rate.
In January this year, the Indian government launched an ambitious vaccination plan starting with first-line medical care and people over 60 years of age, and it also made bold claims to export vaccines to save the world. However, when the whole of India was deeply affected by the epidemic in May, people discovered that India’s vaccine reserves were completely insufficient. What’s more serious is that the local vaccines that have been high hopes have “rolled over.”
There are three vaccines currently in use in India: one is the “Indian version” of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine Covidshield, authorized by the British company AstraZeneca and produced by the Serological Institute of India; the second is an imported Russian vaccine; and the third is in Hyderabad. Covaxin, an inactivated vaccine produced by Bharat Biotechnology, a local Indian company.
Among them, Kovacin is a fully localized domestic vaccine promoted by the Modi government. In December 2020, this vaccine received a “green light” from the Indian regulatory authorities before valid data was provided. Since then, despite repeated criticisms of poor transparency, the General Administration of Medicines and Drugs of India has endorsed it all the way, declaring its “110%” safety, and “proud to develop an Indian-made vaccine in record time.”
At the end of May, Indian local media Mint broke out that Bharat skipped some of the important testing steps because of its eagerness to go public. As a result, the new crown vaccine was not completely inactivated, and the vaccine may be contaminated by microorganisms.
As soon as the news of “vaccine becoming a source of infection” came out, it immediately caused a sensation in India and the countries that ordered Indian vaccines. Brazil, which has received 9 million doses of Kovacin, immediately suspended orders for 20 million doses.
On June 10, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration refused to grant emergency use permission for the Kovacin vaccine. This has caused Indians’ trust in domestic vaccines to continue to decline. In some areas, there have even been dramatic incidents of people jumping into the river to “escape” when epidemic prevention personnel came to inject domestic vaccines.
Currently, only about 2% of the population in India have completed two doses of vaccination.
Everything is politics
According to Sui Shui’s observations, the root cause of India’s ineffective fight against the epidemic lies in the “politicization” of the fight against the epidemic. According to the Indians, “everything is politics”.
Some analysts believe that what Indian politicians care most is not the safety of ordinary people, but how much political capital they will gain or lose in this war against the epidemic.
For example, India is a multi-party federal system. In the case of a run on medical resources, whether the local government can obtain key medical resources such as vaccines first depends on whether the local government and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Modi government are in power. The “primary line” of China, the regions controlled by the “primary line” will be able to get more resource tilt.
The governor of Tamil Nadu, where Sui Shui is located, is not a “direct line”, so the vaccine supply is “stuck”, and the vaccination rate is also at the bottom of India. Now, vaccines are absolutely in short supply in the local area, and it is not easy to get them on the black market at high prices.
Because there are too many “slots” in the fight against the epidemic and there are no complaints, the social media platform Twitter has become a de facto “government hotline”. Thousands of ordinary Indians can only share stories and express dissatisfaction on Twitter. Seek help.
The Indian government then simply followed up with social media Twitter, asking the other party to delete those tweets criticizing the government and Modi himself for failing to fight the epidemic, and to block a number of related accounts. The Indian police also raided the Twitter India office at the end of May.
Twitter finally compromised and blocked some tweets that violently criticized the government, causing intense controversy.
The suffering of the Indian people is still continuing and even worsening. 19-year-old netizen Chahat Balhotra wrote: “I don’t know who to call. I don’t know what to do when someone dies in front of me. Twitter is now the only way to save life.”