The next covid wave………myth or reality. Will it spell disaster.

The world witnessed the back-to-back waves of covid 19, bringing with it devastation of human lives and sufferings unimaginable. As we await a next possible wave to swoop down upon us each one is keeping their fingers crossed, will it come or will it not?

No one is sure, but what if it does, are we prepared to face it, how will it strike us, when will it come if it ever does.  We all are all hoping possibly against hope that it will never come.

From where I come, the beautiful district of Pune in Maharashtra, India, the same thoughts are at the back of all our minds. We too have borne the brunt of covid, especially the city of Pimpri Chinchwad in Pune where I live.

 Ever since covid struck us in the March of 2019, we have gone through ups and downs, increasing and decreasing cases, deaths initially not much but later so many.

 We faced similar problems as in the whole of India, lock-downs, restrictions on movements and businesses, shut down of educational institutions, closed markets. Shut down of all entertainment places, no cinema, no restaurants and many more Travel was restricted, you couldn’t move in groups or gather, sporting events were a no no, even gyms and gardens were closed. People wore long beards as the barber shops too were shut down.

As of today, we have had over 2.65 lakh cases, have tested over nearly 15 lakh people with a positivity rate of over 5% and have had nearly over 4300 deaths. Not a really happy state of affairs. The government, local self-body, the private health care system, the police all slogged it out 24 by 7 to take care of the sick, to help prevent spread, to implement the lock down. The doctors, paramedics, the police, ambulance drivers, NGOs all strove hard to help out those in need. It was a massive collective effort. Holidays were unheard of, it was work and only work, no Sundays no weekly offs.

 Today the cases are hovering around 150 to 250 daily in this city, that’s like a plateau for some time now. Deaths are less, the odd 1 or 2 daily but people have become complacent, perhaps the health system too is taking a sigh of relief.

Every one is talking about and anticipating a third wave soon, but no one knows when and how it will strike us if at all it does.

The government and the health system are on high alert not knowing exactly what is coming or when and how it will come. People have grown complacent, traveling has increased, crowding is common, the guard indeed is down. Fear is not seen among most of us, some laugh it out, yet some others are scared and the remaining don’t care. Many are confident that now as they are vaccinated the virus cannot touch them anymore, they don’t need to fear.

 Each one though has taken note that vaccination is important, vaccinations centers are crowded, yes, vaccine is in short supply, yet over 10 lakh people in this city have had their first dose already, that means more than a third of the eligible population is now vaccinated for the first dose at least.

Preparations are up to the mark here, ample beds, oxygen storage tanks, oxygen generators, logistics, manpower, pediatric wards, medicines, ICUs, ventilators vaccination centers, testing centers with augmented capacities. Daily and weekly meetings of the bureaucrats at all levels are having brainstorming sessions on what else need to be done. They believe they are ready to face the virus if it comes in whatever variant or form it decides to.

Are all our efforts good enough is the question we should be asking ourselves. No idea in what form, variant this next wave will come, will it be more dangerous, will it be fast spreading, more infectious, will it be really lethal or will it just come infect some and go. Will the vaccine be able to stop the virus? How can we predict this? Not many answers to our questions.

Positive cases keep hovering above 150 daily, will the virus strike out of the blue as we take comfort in the present status that cases are not increasing, will the situation be as in the second wave, sudden spurt in cases over a short period of time and deaths too, or will it be faster than lightening putting all our efforts and preparation to naught. Are our preparations good enough? We know not.

One scenario is it never comes, another is it does strike again but won’t be as infectious and lethal, but yet another possibility that scares me is it could be worse than the previous and break through all our defenses. Whom will it take away, as it is so many doctors have lost their lives to covid, the back bone of the medical system that is that nurses and paramedics have faced the brunt of the previous two waves and a tired lot?

Will the story of the boy who cried wolf repeat itself, if we ignore the signs of an impending wave we shall be in for a major disaster? Even as I conclude there is news the next wave will be upon us this month of August itself. It is estimated to peak by October 2021. Deaths it is being predicted will be less and daily cases might cross 100000.

Yes, we are ready to face this belligerent virus gifted to us by Wuhan. Man will win, we shall overcome unless the virus mutates to put all our efforts to naught.

Covid 19- A pandemic of Covid, an epidemic of lies, deceit and corruption.

All lies masked

Covid hit the world some time in late 2019, initially at Wuhan and then slowly spread its tentacles to spread to every country in the world devastating human lives.

After Auschwitz now Wuhan became the most cursed city in the world history. Covid brought misery and suffering to mankind, but not to all. A few or many flourished. They made the pandemic to work to their advantage, many lost their lives, many cashed on them. Doctors, paramedics, traders, bureaucrats, politicians NGOs all went for the kill.

Lockdowns broke the backbone of the masses

Even as lock-downs hurt business, people lost jobs and found it difficult to make ends meet the unscrupulous made merry. As the second and third waves followed the first the series of deceit, lies and corruption kept on mounting.

In the initial stages of the pandemic especially in the first wave, everything from gloves, sanitizers, N95 masks, PPE kits were being bought and 5 to ten times the cost, argument being we have to provide. Equipment was need to tackle the pandemic, the suppliers managed to sell equipment both wanted and unwanted at twice or thrice the cost and in quantities perhaps which wasn’t needed. Right from hand sanitizers to funny equipment that promised to clear the atmosphere of the virus was purchased, not to tackle the epidemic but to fill one’s pockets. All knew opportunity knocks only once! Then came the testing kits sold at exorbitantly high costs. Rapid antigen kits sold then at above 500 rupees are now available for less than 50 rupees, but the killing had been made. Money had exchanged hands, every one in the system was happy, to hell with the patients, covid must stay now, it was their bread and butter.

ICU just no beds

Some where somebody frantically searched for an oxygen bed an ICU or a ventilator while the pimps in the system bought oxygen from their greedy suppliers at a premium. What normally cost 12 to 15 rupees a unit was purchased at 25 to 40 rupees. that’s because the kickbacks traveled from the lowest clerks to the highest officers.

Reasons given were that it was in short supply, in a disaster or emergency they had no other option, so they weren’t wrong. Then again people kept moving from one hospital to another on search of an ICU bed for their loved ones, literally none were available, many died for lack of an oxygen or ICU bed. Another opportunity grabbed, hawk eyed officers saw it immediately, buy more ventilators, buy many more oxygen generation machines, buy more jumbo cylinders, HFNO, syringe pumps, ICU beds,defibrillators etc. of course all at highly inflated price ranging from 100 to 200 percent of the original peace time costs.

Bureaucrats are bosses

Non-medical bureaucrats took over the control measures for the epidemic. They prided themselves in their knowledge of medicine mostly acquired from the internet, google and some from the doctors. They shared their newly acquired knowledge with the political class and then they together took decisions which in the eye of citizens seemed to be so citizen friendly and proactive. Half-baked ideas took the forefront not knowing the outcomes or implications of their decisions.

They worked

Meanwhile, the doctors and the paramedical staff slogged, especially from the government sector and so also the private sector. Long endless hours of duty, no leaves, they had to save peoples lives. The private sector too was overburdened as the flow of patients and deaths went on rising. Beds were scarce so were medicines like remdesivir and tocilizumab. The black market thrived. Deaths kept on rising. Some died {the poor and the downtrodden} some passed away {the rich and the elite}. Each person had a tale to tell as to why the deaths occurred, lack of medicines, not getting a hospital bed. No oxygen beds available or no ventilators available. There wasn’t a single person who hadn’t lost a near one, maybe a friend, an acquaintance, parent, child or sibling. The wrath of the virus took them all away.

Some of the private and corporate hospital too jumped into the fray of making a fast buck, exorbitant bills were passed on to patients, medicines in short supply were being sold at a heavy premium, patients were being over charged or wrongly charged. Not all hospital owners though were as unethical, there were those who did an excellent job treated their patients well never fleeced them but the ones who fleeced patients overshadowed the work of the good ones. Some of them earned money that they wouldn’t have earned in their lifetime had covid not come. The money they generated was unbelievable, of course the common man, the patients lost out. Governments made a feeble attempt or was it a show bringing prices under control but never succeeded, in fact it looks like they never intended to.

Mad rush at crematoriums

 The rush at the crematoriums were huge, waiting period to get on to the traditional pyres or the electric crematoriums was long, indeed a sorrowful state of affairs. It took hors hours for ones turn to come. There was no dignity in death too. Relatives too shied away from accompanying their dead, the fear of contacting covid kept them outside the crematoriums. A handful of good Samaritans came forward to cremate or bury the dead for no remuneration, God bless these kind souls. The people who looked after the crematoriums too found a chance to make a fast buck, payments if made got the dead and early cremation, even in death no one gave up the opportunity to make a fast buck.

Social media like Facebook was daily filled with obituaries of people who had succumbed to covid, of course soon to be forgotten. This made no difference to the wolves in the system whose only aim was to find newer avenues to make more money. Suppliers of plastic death bags too were happy at the increasing deaths; they could sell more at a cost they and the system decided.

The silver lining in the whole situation was the advent of the vaccines, the scientist worked overtime to get them ready, excellent research by them. The manufacturers got their work going fast, were able to provide succor to a frightened population. Of course, they shall make their profits but one thing is certain, they kept the prices affordable. At least they did not take advantage of the situation, thank God for this.

All said and done covid played havoc with lives of many families while it came as boon to others. Who is to blame, China? The virus? God? Or the system of the country and state?

Answers to this cannot be readily got, but the human being’s natural instinct of greed to make more and more money by whatever means without respect for lives of their own brethren is the root cause for the suffering during this pandemic.

Whether it, the virus and the illness itself could have been prevented or controlled is another debate.

One thing is for sure, had the political class left the management of the pandemic in the hands of the medical fraternity rather than the bureaucrats , the picture would have been different

Welcome all to K Anil Roy speaks.

Starting today, my blogs. Will be covering a vast number of topics ranging from health, medicine, environment, finance, social, industry, politics and many more. My feelings, understanding of the issues will be my own perspective of looking at it and I intend to get all of you engrossed into it. My views will be rebellious and unsparing. The subjects will be varied, mostly current but from a very different view point. I intend to dwell on the points that other perhaps would rather not comment upon. Hope to keep you all captivated. Will cover all right from grassroots to grass shoots.

Soon will be coming up with my first blog.………K Anil Roy speaks

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