Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Two die and more than 100 test positive in coronavirus outbreak among US diplomatic staff in India

There has been a major coronavirus outbreak among US diplomatic staff in India with two locally employed staff dying and more than 100 people testing positive in recent weeks. This comes as India struggles to cope with a dramatic surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.

A US embassy spokesperson said necessary precautions were being taken to safeguard health of US diplomatic staff in India after two died of them and more than 100 tested positive for Covid-19 in the recent weeks. 

“We’re closely monitoring the situation & taking necessary measures to safeguard health & wellbeing of our employees, including offering vaccines to them. Due to privacy concerns, we’re unable to share additional information. We offer our deepest sympathy to the people of India who are suffering during this global pandemic," US Embassy spokesperson told ANI on Tuesday

The spokesperson also offered his sympathies to people of India "We offer our deepest sympathy to the people of India who are suffering during this global pandemic."  The US operates five consulates in different cities and an embassy in New Delhi.

According to CNN, US personnel, family members and locally employed staff in India only began receiving their COVID vaccines within the past two weeks, one of the sources said. Within the past six weeks -- even as India's case rates were ticking up and staff had not yet been vaccinated -- there were two high-level trips by Biden administration officials to the country.

A few days ago, US Secretary of State,  Antony Blinken tweeted

India has reported more than 360,000 covid-19 cases, a new global record Wednesday. According to Indian Ministry of Health, there are 2,978,709 active cases with 201,18 deaths. 

Monday, April 26, 2021

COVID 2.0 Crisis in India (April 2021) Is this the time for finger pointing over “failure of government" ? Not right now!

There is a tremendous amount of finger pointing over COVID-19 and the failure of government in the media.

Stop and think for a minute how all this finger pointing over the “failure of government” is utterly counter-productive... and it can be disheartening to government and frontline workers and policemen/women helping us battle the pandemic. 

Yes, it is heart-breaking to see thousands dying and millions being affected by a virus. Images of mass funerals bring tears to our eyes, but let’s step back and think how WE are helping battle this pandemic!

Image via NYT

About a year ago when the world was coming to grips with the virulent effects of COVID-19, the central government used all its political goodwill to impose three rounds of nationwide lockdowns.

  • Stage 0: Jaan hai to jahan hai - Even during that stage, the media was quick to focus on the negative - the plight of migrant workers returning back. Did we once stop to question why the greedy factory owners and builder forced this on the workers by refusing to pay them during lockdowns? 
  • Stage 1: Jaan Bhi Jahan Bhi - The same industrialists, commercial leaders and builders then used political pressure on the government to open up the economy. 
  • Stage 2: Present-day crisis - After restrictions were lifted and people took it easy. This led to a free-for-all and a callous attitude towards the risk posed by a virulent pathogen. Why, we were blaming local officials and policemen who were enforcing mask-wearing rules!

Guess what? After restrictions were lifted, the pathogen mutated and came back with full vigor

I love it when folks like us sitting in front of computers are able to collate digital resources - “Reddit - Resources for Covid-19 - Beds, Plasma, Oxygen, Vaccines, Medicines, Grocery etc” Try to upvote and RT tweets that from folks who are trying to help, get oxygen, vaccinations etc. We should do more if we can and contribute to such efforts.

It is easy for armchair critics like us to sit back and criticize “the government” while thousands of central and state government officials, workers and contractors are helping us battle this pandemic. Just sitting back and forwarding articles and posts about “failure of government” is counter-productive at best.

Remember, there is a time and place to criticize: make sure you reflect on all this when you get to the voting booth during the next general election. But till then, help contain this pandemic if you can.