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Is India ready to tackle coronavirus spike?

7 2 11
20.03.2020

Watching the interview of Dr. R. Laxminarayan, director of the Washington-based Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy and lecturer at Princeton University, with Karan Thapar on the coronavirus epidemic has been a most edifying experience. A wealth of information becomes available, explained rationally and calmly and with great candour.

That is particularly so, since the interview helps us to understand better the address to the nation by PM Modi on the same topic yesterday. By any reckoning, it was a classic Modi speech — very theatrical, short on facts but appealing to emotions, and, in the final analysis, vague on making any firm commitments.

But it was an atypical Modi speech, too — subdued in tone, no triumphalism, no grandstanding, no tall claims, no sweeping assurances. Above all, the sense one got was that PM knew far more than what he was willing to divulge regarding the actual proportions of the COVID-19 challenge facing India. That is understandable, since this is a dynamic situation.

It is a mind-boggling crisis situation. We cannot live on false hopes that the Indian summer heat will eventually destroy this invidious virus. It is already known that coronavirus keeps mutating

It is a mind-boggling crisis situation. We cannot live on false hopes that the Indian summer heat will eventually destroy this invidious virus. It is already known that coronavirus keeps mutating

Having aid that, it shouldn’t be surprising if the government too is groping in the dark as to where the country stands. In the absence of any attempt to test cases, the government could have underestimated the number infected by a factor of 12, which is Britain’s tragic plight today. In Laxminarayan’s estimation, India is bound to have 10,000 or more undetected novel coronavirus cases as of today.

This becomes the ‘X’ factor. One cannot but recall Laxminarayan’s assessment that India could have entered Phase 3 of the........

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