Fight Against Coronavirus: Now’s The Time For Cooperation, Not Criticism!

Last night while watching an Indian news channel I heard one ‘expert’ criticizing the 21-day lockdown in India as an ‘overreaction’ to the novel Coronavirus. Such criticism or comment is totally unwarranted and irresponsible at the present juncture, because there is no discernible premise. We shall never know what would have happened to the spread of COVID-19 in India had the lockdown not been imposed, and due to this fact of the matter we cannot find fault with the final possible outcome of the lockdown—whether it is a success or a failure as far as checking the virus is concerned. Furthermore, we also don’t know if the lockdown would have to be extended further. This deadly human-to-human virus is having all of humankind at its mercy now, and every human must realize this fact before trying to criticize or foment dissent on it.

All of the medical and other experts of the world have agreed on one common observation: the behaviour of COVID-19 has been highly unpredictable, and that no vaccine or medicine is available at the moment to combat the viral disease. It started in China infecting over 80 thousand people and killing over 3 thousand; then it seemed to have been contained—the death rate here being not so formidable. However, its behaviour elsewhere has been very undecipherable. In the last few days there had been spurts of death in Italy and Spain—a horrifying death rate of over 10% in Italy and only slightly less in Spain. Meantime, the US has surpassed China in terms of total infections crossing 85 thousand people while, fortunately, it has given a death rate of less than 2%. In some other countries this rate has been even less than one per cent. The case of South Korea is very curious: with infections nearing the 10 thousand mark the number of dead is just 139, and the virus even seemed to have been contained. In citing these cases we are totally in the dark about its would-be behavior in the coming days. It has also been deadly in countries like UK, Iran and France in terms of fatalities to infections while in some other countries it has been milder in its attack so far. The fact remains: we just don’t know.

India, with its extremely limited health infrastructure and almost an unmanageable population, can only learn its limited lessons from the experience worldwide. As the virus is spreading slowly but steadily the country must ensure that it remains in a position of control should the virus create a tsunami of infected—like it’s doing now in the US and in UK. Therefore, the country thought it better to follow the path of precautions strictly. However improbable it might have sounded in a country of teeming millions—with more half of it poor, India have gone ahead with a total lockdown, because there is no other option available at the moment to try control the virus.

Of course, there have been stumbling blocks coming in the way after trying to shut up 1.3 billion people behind doors—the worst hit being the migrant labourers in the urban areas, the landless agricultural labourers in the rural areas and the small-time vendors of the cities. We’re finding migrant vendors/labourers walking hundreds of kilometers homewards through lonely streets with no facility of public transport, no food and no money in pockets. The various state governments have been taking laudable initiatives in terms of providing cash, food and shelter, though it might have come a shade too late in some parts. The Government of India has also announced a compensation package yesterday promising more support in various ways. Yes, problems are numerous, but steps are being taken in earnest with all governments coming together in spite of political or ideological differences. This all-out approach is the only way forward at this crucial stage with no information if COVID-19 would explode or tread the steady path till 14th April, 2020 or thereafter.  The medical fraternity, the administrators, the law enforcement authorities are all waiting with bated breath…


Therefore, we must all come together in total cooperation and national spirit to do our best to check the killer virus, no criticism, no cynicism please. The mantra, as rightly put forward, is naturally ‘follow the guidelines religiously, stay at home, protect your life, save other lives’. Forget your social existence; forget your luxuries; forget your preferences; for now. And just: Stay Home, Save Lives, Save India…

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