February 22, 2024

Covid-19 Second Wave – Struck India like an Invader

The second wave of the virus is a shocker to the Centre and to State governments, as well as to people at large.
Keywords: Corona, Health, Lockdown, Opposition parties, Elections, Democracy, Second wave, Death, Kumbh, Restrictions, Modi, Vaccine Maitri, Vaccination, Devastation
Listen to article

The unexpected lethal Covid-second wave caught India napping complacently after the first wave’s containment. This double-mutant coronavirus has struck like a bolt from the blue. Though this tsunami took the lives of the most vulnerable, the number that escaped from the jaws of death is, in comparison, far greater. However, precious lives lost cannot be estimated in terms of numbers.  

Many in the opposition are holding the power at the Centre accountable for this devastation. The critics of the Prime Minister started to strike with cudgels. The wave is still on, but the blame game started too early. During the first phase of Covid-19, the Government at the Centre acted very swiftly in its planning and execution for containing the loss of lives at the expense of the country’s economy. The second wave of the virus is a shocker to the Centre and to State governments, as well as to people at large. For, after the apparent victory over Covid-19 in the first phase (in spite of the warnings from top epidemiologists that people could fall like flies) most became complacent. “Indian exceptionalism” was extolled within the country and outside by other countries.

The Prime Minister from time to time warned the population to follow the Covid-Protocols: masking, social distancing, maintaining healthy lifestyles etc. It is pertinent to recall that soon after the first wave receded, many panicked citizens did not resume their regular activities. So, some State Chief Ministers appealed to them to come out freely to work. They also assured them that the coronavirus was like any other flu virus and that one needed not to get scared. Once the fear was dispelled, people started exercising their freedom, as they had done earlier.

As in most other countries, in India too the vaccination drive started phase-wise. First with health workers, then with the elderly and people with co-morbidities. But these categories of people were also hesitant to take the vaccine, as they felt that the pandemic was nowhere around. Some of the educated and well-aware sections too were sceptical about the vaccination due to blood-clot issues that arose in European countries and elsewhere. Then the virulent second wave made people throng vaccination centres, resulting in shortages. These hiccups have given the opposition weapons to go on the offensive. The double-mutant strain of the coronavirus (an Indian variant plus the U.K stain) has symptoms that are different from others.

In the second wave, more and more people are gasping for oxygen. This phenomenon was not observed in the first wave. The Government is making all-out efforts. Many other nations are also helping. Voluntary organisations and NGOs are trying their best. Yet the needs are often not meeting the expectations. However, the opposition is arguing that the Government did not devise a proper plan of action for the second wave; it conducted election rallies, allowed the Kumbh Mela to take place etc…These are all 20/20 hindsight.

During the election rallies, not only the people but political leaders of high stature also risked their lives, without realizing the novel intensity of the virus mutant. Similarly, the Kumbh Mela is a major religious festival. Faith is paramount to many in India and it would have been difficult for any government to ban such a traditional celebration at a time when the sanitary situation appeared to be under control, after one year of restrictions and emergency measures which had direly affected much of the population. Cancelling elections would have been widely interpreted as a high-handed affront to democracy.

Unlike the former U.S. President, Narendra Modi never called Covid-19 a hoax and did not rail against masks or cast doubt about vaccines. Yet, the opposition and foreign media are fond of making parallels between the Indian Prime Minister, former President Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil.

Even when actions taken by leaders are guided by good intentions, the opposition never goes by ‘intent’. It assesses the ‘consequence’ of the actions. The opposition after seeing the havoc created by the second wave, going by consequences, asks questions as to why many more brands of vaccines were not released. Even, Vaccine-Maitri (i.e.; supplying vaccine to neighbouring countries as a goodwill gesture), is now being found faulty by opposition Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. The intent of Vaccine-Maitri is good. Going by successive mutant virus attacks, one cannot judge the policy to be wrong. If it was wrong, why was it hailed by many diplomats and politicians from all sides within the country, when it was initiated? Even the WTO praised India for helping other countries.

The opposition parties and journalists always castigate the Government for the implications of its decisions. They think, “reason/reasoning” and questioning is their preserve. But they must know “reason” is a double-edged tool. The Government. has its reasons too. Eventually, the Prime Minister will answer the charges laid against him befittingly. 

20 comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • I hold the public & their leaders solely responsible for this devastating second wave of COVID pandemic. Majority of us have been reckless, totally ignoring the precautions against spread of the disease.
    Even the leaders in most of their public appearances, meetings and public rallies, have not worn the masks or worn masks I’m properly, setting a wrong example for the public. Our religious leaders too have failed in their duty eg to conceal the Kumbh Mela and other religious congregations. They had sought their personal gains such as in earning Punyam by the Shaahi snaans, instead of shunning them in the larger interests of the society. Any action done with a selfless motive and for the welfare of the public would have earn them the credit of KarmaYoga and taken them nearer to God.
    The opposition parties as per their nature, kept up their anti national activities undermining the safety and security of their own country men.
    I can only pray to God to bless us all with sanity 🙏

    • I hold the public & their leaders solely responsible for this devastating second wave of COVID pandemic. Majority of us have been reckless, totally ignoring the precautions against spread of the disease.
      Even the leaders in most of their public appearances, meetings and public rallies, have not worn the masks or worn masks improperly, setting a wrong example for the public. Our religious leaders too have failed in their duty eg to discourage the Kumbh Mela and other religious congregations. They had sought their personal gains such as in earning Punyam by the Shaahi snaans, instead of shunning them in the larger interests of the society. Any action done with a selfless motive and for the welfare of the public would have earn them the credit of KarmaYoga and taken them nearer to God.
      The opposition parties as per their nature, kept up their anti national activities undermining the safety and security of their own country men.
      I can only pray to God to bless us all with sanity 🙏

  • Very true. Opposition is just looking for the reasons to complain. Last year, when the entire world was hit with COVID-19, India made it through the first phase. Government made sure that the public is aware of the safety measures and made PPEs accessible to common man. Now, it’s each and every individual’s responsibility to keep country safe instead of blaming the government or leadership.
    Vaccine Maitri was lauded by leaders and people all over the world. Trying to find fault of this policy now is sheer opportunistic.

  • One thing that bothers me about this second wave management is that the daily case count started going up from 16th February. It was not a one off sporadic increase. If we look at a one week period between Feb16th to Feb23rd we can see that daily cases increased from 10000 to 25000. Wasn’t that enough to warrant a close look or a preventative action? Maybe they should have gone for containment? But fact is that there was a delay in taking action. I also believe election could have been postponed when cases were jumping up daily. It atleast stopped physical campaigning or large public meetings. (Even if the meetings were not super spreader events) they were bad optics.
    Similarly the Kumbh should have been cancelled. It had been seen many times that faith must be balanced with good sense. Those who went to the Kumbh seemed completely oblivious to the revival of Covid. By the time the Kumbh started April 1st the daily case count was over 50000. Ten days before (on March 20) the case count was 40000. Wasn’t this enough to ring alarm bells? The cases were doubling every 4 days. So clearly there were other priorities at that time. During the last 7 years of Modi govt we have gotten used to certain performance standards. The second wave handling delay was the first mistake by the govt. Hence the opposition, the media and foreign agencies have found a chance to bring him down. They seem to have have succeeded in arousing public anger. Today Modi’s ratings would be at an all time low. It is going to take a lot of good work before he becomes popular as before. It has been seen recently that the PM has paused from taking any tough decisions. In any case he is criticized whether he takes decisions or not. He should ignore the negative publicity and lies spread by the opposition and media and go ahead with his work for those who voted for him. Some people are still blinded by loyalty to a certain “family” . They will never come around to see his good work. Also there is a community which is difficult to win over. He should stop trying to become popular with them. Obviously their Mullahs are more powerful and mean more to them than any good work. Modi should act decisively and go ahead with his reforms agenda. This year is a pause for changing laws. From being on the back foot today the government has to resolve Covid crises and take up major overhaul and expansion of our medical infrastructure. This has to be fast and visible. Economy will revive again. The govt should borrow long terms funds to the tune of $100 bn each year for the next 5 years for medical infrastructure, devise method to fund the operations cost and repay the loans.
    In ten years we can have a world class medical infrastructure and also ten institutions of excellence of global standing. I hope the government takes it up.

  • Best analysis of The present Pandemic situation INDIA facing, Indira U said exactly what dirty politics The opposition is playing targeting our Honorable Prime Minister Modiji,So Unfortunate INDIANS for this . INDIRA u told each n every word in my mind Ur Analysis 100% correct.Hatsoff to U. Keep Going

  • Blame lies not just on opposition but also on ruling party. People thought that for NAMO and Amitshah capturing WB and Kerala more important than containing Carona. Though I do accept that if a proposal to postpone all Elections for one year and allow statuesque by bringing in a constitutional remedy to Electrol law would have been objected, why no party made proposal including ruling party. This in fact would have saved this country from this pandemic.

  • It’s a good article defending the PM for 2nd wave.But we have to agree that kumbhamela is one of the aggravating factors.can we explain why our neighboring countries do not have such 2nd wave.

  • Very nice analysis👍

    1. Any govt will only be instrumental in bringing up policies , limited help, while good governance is expected , there is a citizen partnership and role is absolutely necessary for any country to be successful.
    2. It’s hard to see so many lives lost. At the same time we also did this to other species in nature . We did abuse nature . Prakriti includes our body as well animals and all that we see. For every action there is equal and opposite reaction. Law of Karma . When we realize this we will be more careful.
    My heart goes to all those who lost lives.🙏

  • Gravity of pandemics internationally need a mention as governments held by centre/states/union territories failed in their mission to to address ‘waves’of present pandemic.
    Death of Roman Emperors Marcus Aurelius (Antonina plague 165-180A.D;Black Death(1347-1350A.D.); influenza plague in Europe (1831;1833;1837);Russian Flue(1889);Influenza pandemic (1899-1904);Spanish flue(Mar1918-Nov1919) left millions to lose their lives.
    Present pellmell witnessed in India owing covid19may be addressed in the following manner:
    To focus on essential emergency Health and critical care; provision of oxygen; discourage rapid use of Remedesivir; convalascent plasma;Tocilizumab.
    Mechanical ventilators in phased manner;to import industrial oxygen and to increase country oxygen production.
    To expand and maximise health service capacity via Military,home based care and mobilising international support; Military services via field hospitals;ambulances;airlifts of oxygen,medical structures may be cited.
    Home based care is utilised through collective families;volunteers,contributions;services of NGOs; International organisations like: IMF;World Bank;European Union and friendly foreign countries.
    To strengthen public health and morale short lockdowns may be preferred by centre as well states and union territories provided care is taken for migrant labour,their transport/livelihood; to provide cleaner communication and importantly to provide vaccination to aged 45 and older people and and health care to provide financial inputs to indigenous vaccine units and massive care while receiving vaccine from abroad.
    Hope the governments carefully adopt these guidelines to to arrest ‘waves of pandemic-provided measures such as usage of Masks;Social distancing;avoiding mass gatherings; political rallies and religious congregations of multiple regions that are existing in India.
    Writer of the article judiciously has gone through all areas that culminated in present mess and this need to be addressed vigorously by saner minds of Indian public.

  • Gravity of pandemics internationally need a mention as governments held by centre/states/union territories failed in their mission to address ‘waves’ of present pandemic.
    Death of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Antonina plague:165-180A.D.); Black Death(1347-1350A.D); influenza plague in Europe (1831;1833;1837); Russian flue(1889);influenza pandemic(1899-1904);Spanish flue(Mar1918-Nov1919)-left millions to lose their lives.
    Present pellmell witnessed in India owing to covid 19 may be addressed in the following manner:
    1.To focus on essential emergency Health and critical care; provision of oxygen; to discourage rapid use of Remdesivir;convalascent plasma;Tocilizumab. Mechanical ventilators in a phased manner; to import industrial oxygen and to increase in country oxygen production.
    0. To expand and maximise health service capacity via Military, home based care and mobilising international support Military services via field hospitals; ambulances;airlifts of oxygen;medical structure may be cited. Home based care is utilised through collective families; volunteers; contributions; services of NGOs. IMF; world Bank; European Union and friendly foreign countries.
    0. To strengthen public health and morale short lockdowns may be preferred by centre as well states and union territory provided care is taken for migrant labour their transport/ livelihood; to provide cleaner communication and importantly to provide vaccination to aged 45 and older people and health care services. Government has to provide financial inputs to indigenous vaccine units and massive care while receiving vaccine from abroad. Hope the governments carefully adopt these guidelines to arrest ‘waves of pandemic’ provided measures such as usage of Masks; social distancing; avoiding mass gatherings; political rallies and religious congregations of multiple religions that are existing in India.
    Article penned by writer is judicious in subject/ narration of events and remedies that are crucial to wipe out ‘waves’ of covid 19.

  • Despite the opposition’s strategical attack on Modi ji, majority of te population is rallying behind te PM because it’s him who brought many radical changes that were unthinkable… As Indira ma’am said, the second wave was unpredictable and hence, the present crisis.
    This too shall pass for the man who came out with flying colours whenever situations weren’t in favour. Nice article by Indira Ma’am explaining how the intent of the actions were overlooked n only the consequences weigh, by large…

  • True that the second wave took us all by surprise even when there was a continuous awareness info shared by the Central Govt.This was a fault of both State and Central govt but the Sates are more responsible for containing the spread.Opposition parties are behaving in an immature way to score brownie points rather controlling the behaviour in their respective states.
    Accountability rests on every citizen of the country and the respective state with a better coordination from the Central Government.

  • Very good analysis
    Corona Pandemic is something which mankind has not faced before. So many experts giving so many opinions shows nobody can deal with this situation perfectly
    Even the highly developed and rich countries are still struggling to contain this virus
    It is unfortunate that at a time when all parties should wholeheartedly support the government they are blaming government and shredding venom in people’s mind
    I am sure we will succeed in the war against Covid
    Vande matharam

  • Kumbh mela is caused lot of confusion.Modi did good job.

  • Certainly , political leadership are to be made responsible to the current situation of Covid . The leadership which was very exemplary last year during first wave, has this time behaved negligently by allowing political rallies during elections and religious gatherings like kumbh mela.
    It has failed to access the impact of second wave and make necessary preparation interms of medicines and equipment . I Consider that It is Self-deception to praise the leadership .

    Of course , we need not blame leadership squarely , We also must own up the situation and accept our irresponsible actions in disregarding Covid norms and letting it’s super spread .

  • The partisan media and its friends abroad will find fault with our beloved PMno matter what. Let’s not forget the media’s covert support to the farmer protests just as the first wave was receding. The origins of the second wave can trace to these gatherings.

  • I found the article useful. What we need now is a response not just from the government, but also from all across society. We have many lessons to learn from the crisis. We must reflect on strengthening the societal response to big challenges.

  • Nicely written.
    Good Analysis of the current situation prevailing.
    We as a Nation are facing traumatic and testing times due to the pandemic.
    The need of the hour is that All of us should focus on how we can contribute to fight the situation and come out of the same, while the Government is doing their Best.
    This applies to Opposition too, instead of using these unfortunate times as yet another opportunity for mudslinging on the Govt, they should act responsibly.

  • Great to see the author defending the government verifously. We need to encourage such articles since the opposition went overboard- which is natural given our freedom of speech policies, they are free to criticize the prime minister, I am proud of our constitution.

    What I really liked are the actions that our PM took post the second wave, whether it is oxygen supply solutions, coordinating drugs/oxygen across all states, speaking with each and every CM- advising them and in some cases taking their recommendations(KCR) etc….

    Any other leader would not have turned the tables from a very severe situation, we all should be proud of our PM, he’s proved himself as a world leader since he looked beyond India and helped SNA countries who couldn’t afford vaccinations. Rich countries like US, UK, Europe, Australia etc couldn’t think beyond their citizens, they had a first our citizens policy….I was amused by one of the US govt spokesperson who said the world will benefit when all US citizens are vaccinated!

    We also have to understand that this situation was unique, very complex and getting a billion citizens vaccinated is no joke…let’s appreciate the positive intent shown by the government, there are multiple heroes emerging whether it is the young Tejasvi Surya, our own KTR, Naveen patnaik, Piyush goyal, Nitin Gadkari etc who are seen actively involving in helping and coming up with solutions….indeed we all need to stand together in unity and help ourselves first by following the covid protocol and by supporting our brethren actively whether it is financial support, moral support, being part of covid support groups also can be done.
    We need to show compassion at this hour, let’s give our shoulder to our fellow citizens to lean on.

Indira G.

Indira G is associated with the organisation Pragna Bharati, Hyderabad and is Incharge-Publications. She also contributes to Opindia and other news platforms.

View all posts