Post Mortem

India’s deadly second wave: Subdued everything

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 4/25/2021 1:17:30 PM IST

 Second wave mutant variant is far worse than the first one, reigning high and freely travelling right across the borders. Thus far vaccines and human intervention hardly seem to have worked and thus helped the global humanity to stop or reduced its spree. Leaders across the borders thought that there would be some reprieve, but the second wave has hit harder and subdued the humanity than the earlier one. Leaders are perplexed and taken aback; people are confused as it indiscriminately kills and infects people in hundreds and thousands that runs to millions. 

Second wave is severe and ruthless. It has killed and infected thousands and millions of people. It is in our midst. Though the politicians and leaders say that “they don’t believe in lockdowns and curfews”, but the second wave of mutant coronavirus does not believe and dictates its way that forces the leaders and politicians keep dancing to the rhythms of coronavirus. What we are watching is a ‘sea-saw battle’—a ‘roller-coaster’. As of now, the second wave is in absolute control and in the process dictating its terms and conditions. 

India would soon become largest number of infected people and those died of coronavirus in the world and the curve is rising higher and higher. We are now witnessing over two hundred thousand plus new cases. In every 24 hours thousands of cases are added The speed at which the second wave is striking India is stupendous and so alarming. The strike rate of the new variant is horrendous. Indians are worried as they keep witnessing and watching people dying in hundreds. People have come to a realization that anything could happen at any moment not knowing how to handle the virus.

Take for example, the state of Karnataka and its capital Bengaluru broke single-day cases record for the second consecutive day as the overall infections in the state crossed the 11-lakh as on 15th of April, 2021. On the 15th April, 2021, the state of Karnataka witnessed 14,738 cases that includes 10,497 in Bengaluru – both happened to be record numbers—66 new deaths were added to the total to 13,112. Bengaluru reported 30 of the 66 deaths and has 4,963 of the total deaths. In all, Bengaluru accounts for 74 percent of the patients in the entire Karnataka.

What is happening across India is mind-boggling. For instance, the mega-cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Trivandrum, Lucknow, Bhopal, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and others look like ghost cities where hospitals, morgues, cemeteries and crematorium are filled with ambulances and hearses. Second wave is presenting a bleak picture to all ages that the death strike rate is so severe and at any time they could succumb.  Data that we come across everyday should never be taken as just numbers—but have flesh and blood filled with life, but now lying in the hospital either alive or dead.

The sufferings of those who have been infected with the second-wave and members of their families have their own stories to narrate—real and factual. Those stories and their experiences make us to wonder and thus pushes us to ask many questions. In the morgues, graveyards and cemeteries dead bodies keep piling. Bodies are wrapped in sheets like look like ‘sacks’ and handled roughly as if they lost their dignity and value. The scenes and the settings we are pushed into makes us to wonder as to why did we struggle all through makes us to reflect: what then after all is life about? All of us at one point or the other we think: when is my turn?  

At a Surat crematorium in Gujarat five bodies were cremated on a single makeshift pyre built to speed up the disposal of a rush of corpses. Similarly, in crematoriums across Gujarat, non-stop smoldering pyres were testimony to fatalities much higher than the government’s official reports. Bulletins released by municipal corporations of four major cities state around 25 deaths each daily, but the mortalities are much higher. A 49-year-old woman and her 75-year-old mother-in-law succumbed to Covid-19complications on the 11th and were buried next to each other the same day at a cemetery in Shantinagar, Bengaluru, as two bereaved young boys watched their mother and grandmother for the last time. 

The tendency of the Centre and the state governments is always to downplay with the numbers. In Varanasi, situated in UP cremation and burial grounds show about 50 percent Covid deaths are not officially recorded. In the industrial town of Bharuch, at least 260 Covid-19 victims have been consigned to the flames in the designated crematorium since April 7.Dharmesh Solanki, who handles cremations on the banks of the Narmada river said, “Over the last one week, we are getting bodies of 22-25 patients daily in this designated Covid-19 crematorium. Nearly 7,500 kg of wood is being supplied by the Rotary Club, Ankleshwar, every day.

In Ahmedabad, the last rites of about 100 bodies are being performed daily for the past four days across 10 crematoriums and burial grounds, according to Covid-19 protocol. Reliable sources say that in the past week at least 50 bodies of Covid patients have been handed over to their families every day. “In the past two days, this figure has crossed the 100 mark”. Further, the sources rip open the data and sources that underplays. “If one considers 147 public and private hospitals treating Covid patients, the daily death toll in Ahmedabad is definitely not under 30 as reported by the government in the past three days.”

In Rajkot district alone over 298 deaths in various government and private Covid hospitals from April 8 to April 14. The majority of these death, around 85 percent are from the city alone. When TOI checked the records at two big crematoriums in Surat, there were at least 80 bodies brought daily, the majority being Covid-19 patients. From April 5 to April 13, 21, three new crematoriums started to function. In newly built Pal crematorium where at least 20 bodies are brought to one crematorium daily. The political leaders and government agencies as usual deny.

Another glaring incident was a Covid patient in Bhopal died at a government hospital after his oxygen supply was allegedly switched off b a ward boy. Chilling CCTV footage shows that ward boy unplugging and wheeling away what looks like an oxygen concentrator to another bed in the same ward. While debating on health crisis in the assembly, a minister from BJP ruled government in Madhya Pradesh by name Prem Singh Patel stated that while no one can stop death due to the disease as “people get old and have to die”. What did he mean?

When citizens look to their leaders and when the leaders offer bizarre statements and use the helplessness of people to their advantage, they are left with no option as second wave is striking so intensely. Allowing mega political rallies to go on wherein politicians partake without facial masks and social distancing. Similarly, thousands and lakhs of people attending the political meetings without facial masks and social distancing—all in the name of politics and power.

By allowing kumbh mela in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar where thousands and lakhs of people participated and out of which hundreds and thousands were infested and tested positive. Due to the public outcry, PM Modi called up the chief organizer a seer to close the Mela a few days earlier in line with the tradition and convention. Apparently, almost all who went to kumbh mela were seem without facial masks and social distancing. 

It shows ‘selective amnesia’ for the majoritarian religious group—BJP’s base. Is it not “patronizing” and playing politics? If other religious communities had done it, the Home Minister and his ministry would have charged them under “sedition” and called them as “anti-nationals”.The political class invokes laws and regulations wherever and whenever they want, that suits them for their political ends. Consequently, people suffer in silence.

Dr. John Mohan Razu

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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