Covid Wave-1 vs Wave-2: What changed and where did we falter?

So the 2nd wave of the deadly CORONAVIRUS struck. And it has struck us real bad.

But then weren’t we really expecting another wave?

To say “NO”, would be lying to ourselves. We saw many other countries going through the second wave, though it might not have been as bad as it is in India. But it was there.

It was just a matter of time that we faced it.

And we did.

But this time it came with a lot more severity and chaos.

And just like with everything else in the last 7 years in our country, the chaos was met with even more chaos created by mud-slinging, blame-shifting, name-calling and fear mongering.

The result – Horror!

But what changed from 2020 to 2021.

We had managed the crisis really well in 2020 and countries around the world were tirelessly appreciating everybody from the common citizen to the administration in the way the pandemic was managed.

As nature’s law says, “with the experience, we should have managed the crisis even better in 2021”.

Then, where did we go wrong?

And did we really go wrong?

Is the situation as horrifying as it is made to look?

A Casual Discussion that Changed my View

I was frustrated with all the negativity around. Stories of pain, mis-management and struggle was all I was seeing and hearing. Gory pictures in social media was all that was flipping through my eyes.

It was then that I got to know about a colleague of mine testing positive for COVID – a healthy individual in his late 30s.

I called him and spoke to him. He was fine, cheerful and positive. During the conversation, he said that he was in isolation and he was fine and that all his vitals were good.

2 days passed.

I suddenly got a call from another of my colleague telling me that this guy had to be admitted to hospital and that his Oxygen levels were low.

This was followed by the story of how they struggled to find a bed and then get the Oxygen and medicines etc. As this colleague of mine kept the phone down, he advised, “Buddy, Pray that you do not get COVID. The system is in tatters and we are all going to end up dying for lack of Oxygen”.

The next few minutes passed with me trying to understand what just hit me.

How did a healthy middle aged cheerful guy end up in a hospital in a matter of 2 days?

It was two days later when I spoke to one of my friends who is a doctor (surgeon), that this curiosity of mine found an answer.

This doctor friend of mine said, “60-70% of the people in the hospitals today do not really need to be hospitalized. They could have been treated at home. But they are in the hospitals. Do you know why?”

“Because of PANIC”, he continued.

My curiosity increased. He continued, “As soon as you hear that you tested positive, there is a sense of uneasiness inside you. That is when you hear those gory stories from your friends, social media etc. And then you finally switch on the television sets and shuffles through the various news channels only to find that there is no Oxygen, no beds and no medicines.”

Things were becoming a little more clearer now, as he continued, “This panic increases your blood pressure and you are suddenly breathing heavily. You notice that your aren’t breathing normally. The panic increases and in a few minutes you are gasping for breath. The next thing. You find yourselves in the hospital.”

As he kept the phone down, I was putting the pieces of the puzzle together.

I called the caretaker relative of the colleague who was admitted to the hospital and asked him what exactly happened.

He said, “Sir, he was fine and watching the news on the television. A little while later when I went to give him the dinner, he said he was experiencing difficulty breathing. He was still fine. He was watching the television until late at night. When I went to him in the morning, he was panic stricken when a low SPO2 level and was gasping for breath”.

I could now put 2 and 2 together.

The situation was bad but it wasn’t as horrifying as it was made to look. Yet there was an attempt to make it look horrifying.

That is just one part of the story.

But there’s more questions to be answered and some very pertinent ones.

Why and who was attempting to make it look this bad?

Why did we go wrong in managing the second wave?

The Role of the Cabals

I am a kid of the 80s. As I grew up during the 80s and then the 90s as a teenager, India was an amazing country for me.

But that changed after 2014. As social media and digital media took over the role of building narratives, a new species was born in India – the Cabals.

And suddenly we were looking at an India that was hopeless and was burning.

In spite of statistics looking up, there was gloom in every page of every one of those international magazines with a world wide circulation.

After the first term of the current government, we were kind of getting used to it – the narrative building and the fear-mongering.

But when the BJP government came back with an even bigger majority, against all expectations that the cabals will die a natural death, they took an even worser and monstrous form.

I would attribute it to their desperation. But, whatever it was, it wasn’t something that was going to be good for the country.

And then started a chain of events – the Shaheeh Bagh, Delhi Riots, the farmer protests and now this Crisis.

The scheme was evident – Take it a level up by instigating people and creating unrest. The pattern was similar in all of these –

  • Spread fake information
  • Fear monger and create an environment of uneasiness
  • Portray the impending doomsday using gory stories
  • Command people to take things into their hands
  • Create unrest

The end-goal of all of this was one – Portray the BJP government as a danger to not just the country but to the world and bring it down.

The Cabals had their objectives ironed out. And they recruited even more of theirs to help them in doing that.

International media like CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, The Time Magazine and such others joined hands. (Ironically most of these media had erstwhile Indian Journalists, who found that their going was tough with the BJP at the center, as their India reporters).

The Barkha Dutts, Rana Ayubbs and Varadarajans toiled hard to build that narrative and paint that picture of a burning India.

But every time they did it, their success was short lived and it failed faster than it had started.

Frustration was building up. Time was running out. They had to do something and that too as soon as possible.

Along came the COVID Second wave

It was at this time that the second wave struck.

It was that opportunity that they had been waiting for.

And they packed their bags with microphones, cameras and a handful of fake stories and set out to find suitable portraits that they can attach all of this to.

Why?

Because they knew they had to create a nationwide unrest this time. The earlier ones like the Shaheen Baghs, Delhi Riots and the Farmer Protests was all concentrated towards the northern part, specifically Delhi and surrounding areas.

For a bigger impact, the unrest had to be larger and even more monstrous.

And this was their opportunity.

COVID already had that panic element in it. People were washing hands, feet, vegetables, pets, couriers and what not to the extent that a lot of people were even getting psyched out.

It couldn’t have been more easier for them.

Result – it is what we are seeing today.

I used to spend a good amount of time on Twitter which I stopped off-late.

Why?

Because of the amount of negativity on the platform.

If you start your day with a look at your Twitter feed, you day is doomed.

I digress!

Back to what we were discussing.

So, here is what a so-called secular journalist did on Twitter.

People like Arfa will not let go of any opportunity to fear-monger and that is what she did. Posting a fake tweet is endorsement (irrespective of how much ever they try to shed their responsibility).

While verifying information is something that you can least expect from people like her, one would think that situations like the one we are in, will bring out a responsibility sense in them.

But then that’s too much to expect. Isn’t it?

Fake news is their ace weapon and we saw how Rajdeep Sardesai used it during the farmer protests.

Here’s another one from the biggest vulture of all – Barkha Dutt. To imagine that one would use her dad’s death as an opportunity to further her agenda is painful, at least for me.

Barkha was able to get her dad admitted to one of the top hospitals in the country in spite of unnecessarily delaying his admission to the hospital. She could get a bed, Oxygen, Medicines etc. and yet she could go on CNN and fear monger.

Only if she could use this as an opportunity to build some positivity in people. But she chose otherwise – to fear monger.

CNN is not new to it. The hidden camera clip of CNN Director, Charlie Chester confessing to their contribution in trying to get Trump out of White House is evidence enough to show how they work.

What was more horrifying was what came from Times Magazine.

Though it wouldn’t be surprising to anyone, considering the agenda that Times has been peddling for some time now and more so because it came from Rana Ayyub, an anti-India ranter, a known fake news peddler and well known for fear mongering, yet one would have expected even the sinister of souls to show some sanity when dealing with an unforeseen disaster like this one.

But, I guess that was too much to expect.

Rajdeep Sardesai had once confessed on camera about journalists being vultures. This vulturism was in full view and some of the images that were put on sale on Getty Images speaks the extent that these vultures can go to.

Take a few seconds and let that sink in. And then think of the mindset of these people.

But then, when the agenda is to bring down Modi, mindset is a trivial thing to even talk about.

Isn’t it?

Back to where we started.

Was this the only reason why we are where we are today? Wasn’t there anything else to it?

A Collective Failure of the System

While the Cabals and their sinister plot to push their agenda was the catalyst to the chaos the we are in, a good amount of it needs to the attributed to the failure of the system.

Inefficiencies and political opportunism contributed the most.

The objective of the international media, the Lutyens gang and their cabals were all to crucify Modi and his government for the failure. But the truth is far from that.

But then, a wise man once said,

“A lie travels halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes”

Jonathan Swift

There was this interesting discussion that was happening in a Whatsapp group (after all that’s where most plots are made, deliberated and finalized).

One of the member (an anti-Modi) was blatantly blaming the central government for the failure of the system, when another pro-Modi member came out in support of him.

The discussion soon turned into name calling and then abusing.

A couple of things that were being discussed were –

  • the central government not being able to setup enough oxygen plants
  • the central government not making vaccine available for everyone and their choice of doing a phase wise vaccination
  • the central government not being able to predict the second wave

..and so it went on.

For a moment, it looked like there was just the central government in the country.

As I read the conversation it reminded me of a post that I happened to read on Facebook.

An anti-Modi and pro-Mamata Bengali friend of mine had written numerous posts on Facebook saying what Mamata has done for Bengal and why there is no need of a Modi or, a BJP in West Bengal.

During the election rallies, BJP happened to promise that if they come to power, they will provide free vaccinations to everybody. (It is important to note that the government had opened up vaccination for everybody above the age of 18 and the responsibility of it was entrusted to the State government who could procure the vaccinations directly from the manufacturers).

The immediate next day, this gentle soul put out a post on Facebook. The post read,

How dare he? Isn’t he the PM of the country? Why is he forgetting that he is the PM of the entire nation and not of a handful of people or, states?

It is his responsibility to provide free vaccinations to everybody irrespective of his party being in power in the state or, not.

We elected him not to give us a step-fatherly treatment. He needs to understand that.

As I finished reading that, I couldn’t but smile.

When you need him, he needs to be there. But when you don’t need him, you will cling onto your agenda.

Okay! I digressed again.

Where exactly is the problem?

“Intellectual property today, is an outcome of very little reading and lot of forwards, retweets, shares and like on social media like Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp”.

And to expect anything more from a generation whose pinnacle of success is the instant gratification that they get by seeing a video or, picture of theirs going viral on one of the social media channels, will be a little far-fetched.

That’s exactly what the problem is.

People flow with the narrative and for anything that isn’t working, they blame it on Modi. And for all that is working, their favorite state governments and political leaders (anti-Modi, of course) are responsible.

If the central government forces the state governments to do something like in the case of the “Ayushman Bharat” scheme, there are cries of Modi being a fascist and not respecting the boundaries of democracy.

And if Modi and his government doesn’t meddle with the state’s affairs, they are called as useless and good for nothings.

When criticizing the central government, people fail to spend some time to understand what the jurisdiction of the central government is.

All discussion today ignore a few very pertinent facts –

Covid Facilities – Central govt had put together plans and allocated funds to the states for setting up Oxygen plants, healthcare facilities etc. The execution was supposed to happen at the state, which never happened. Almost 80% of the funds were left un-utilized.

Not Reporting the rise in cases – Maharashtra and Kerala were the first states to see a huge spike in COVID related cases. They should have stepped up testing and put restrictions in place so that it did not spread to other states.

But both these governments were living in La La Land. While Kerala was busy celebrating the so-called “Kerala Model” and the success of “Shylaja Teacher” as the health minister, Maharashtra was busy extorting money from bars and cafes.

Both these states failed to report the magnitude of the spike or, control them.

It spread to other states who were caught unawares.

Misleading the public on Vaccines – Political opportunism looks to be a subject of research with the Gandhis and Congress today.

While the whole world was applauding India for their Vaccines, the grand old party and their senior leaders were busy questioning the efficacy and reliability of the Vaccines.

But the ironic side to the story was that every one of these people who fear mongered the efficacy of the vaccine, went and got themselves vaccinated including the Congress President Sonia Gandhi and ex-PM Manmohan Singh.

If so, then why did they create this sense of distrust in the common men.

I wonder how many people would have followed their advice and stayed away from vaccinations. If statistics was available, it would have been interesting to see how many of them contracted COVID.

This fear-mongering went to the extent that the Chattisgarh government (Congress) didn’t implement vaccination until very late. Probably after they saw the sudden increase in cases.

But then hardly has anybody questioned them. And Congress and Rahul Gandhi continues with their shoot-and-scoot strategy even now.

There could be many more that I could write about.

But then, will it really make any difference.

It wouldn’t change anything.

We are already in the middle of a huge problem that we brought upon ourselves.

And we need to deal with it right now and right here.

While I could have spent a few minutes and tried to make that friend of mine in that Whatsapp group understand the purview of the central and state governments, it would have made very little difference.

Why?

Because, just like in the movie “Dhrishyam”, they have been pulled into a story that they were made to believe. And anything against that would be illogical and unrealistic for them.

And for me, it would have been a sheer waste of time and energy.

The country is going through a churn today. It took 67 years for this to happen.

And when a churn like this happens where, the termites who have been eating into the system fall off from within the books that they were hiding in, into the middle of the millstones and get crushed, there sure will be some unrest.

But sense will prevail and at some point people will realize.

This too, shall pass.

And to those, who think that they can break us – “Bring it on. We are ready!”

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