The Lancet editorial quoted the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an independent global health research organisation, in giving its projection for a million deaths by August 1. “India squandered its early successes in controlling Covid-19. Until April, the government’s Covid-19 taskforce had not met in months,” the editorial said.
The science journal said that India must now restructure its response while the crisis rages. “The success of that effort will depend on the government owning up to its mistakes, providing responsible leadership and transparency, and implementing a public health response that has science at its heart.”
Lancet, in its editorial, has suggested that India should adopt a two-pronged strategy. It said that the “botched vaccination” campaign must be rationalised and implemented speedily. For this, it should increase the vaccine supply and set up a distribution campaign that can cover not just urban but also rural and poorer citizens.
Secondly, India needs to control transmission of the virus, publish accurate data in a timely manner and explain to the public what is happening and what is needed to bend the epidemic curve, including the possibility of a new federal lockdown. “Modi’s actions in attempting to stifle criticism and open discussion during the crisis are inexcusable,” Lancet said.
Genome sequencing too needs to be expanded to better track, understand, and control emerging and more transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variants, it said.
In a sharp criticism of the government strategy, Lancet said despite warnings about the risks of superspreader events, the government allowed religious festivals to go ahead, drawing millions of people from around the country, along with huge political rallies—conspicuous for their lack of Covid mitigation measures.
It also noted that modelling suggested falsely that India had reached herd immunity, encouraging complacency and insufficient preparation. “At times, Modi’s government has seemed more intent on removing criticism on Twitter than trying to control the pandemic.”
Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.
As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.
Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.