Even though the ‘second wave’ in India has already peaked and the active cases are declining rapidly, the efforts to build the narratives to show the Modi Government in the negative – that the government handled the pandemic very badly – are still on the rise. The international media is buzzing with haunted stories about India’s covid scenario. The sad videos, hopeless sounding articles, pictures of mass funerals and then the pre-planned social media campaigns – exactly on lines of the leaked congress toolkit – to show India in a mess and, particularly, to discredit Modi.
But, data has another story to tell. Let’s see!
The Overall picture in Numbers
Reporting the data in proportion to the population and in absolute numbers, both present the contrasting picture. For example, while comparing India’s story with other countries, If the covid related cumulative deaths or the cumulative confirmed cases are reported in absolute numbers but the vaccination magnitude in the percentage of population – a grossly misleading and inappropriate procedure, it would certainly give a gloomy picture of India. But if we reverse this, i.e., if deaths and confirmed cases are reported in percentage or per million and vaccinations in absolute numbers, the scene is just the opposite.
The table and few charts below elaborate the overall picture in detail.
May 31, 2021
|Cumulative Confirmed Cases||Cumulative Deaths||Vaccinations
(at least one dose)
|Absolute No.||Per Million||Absolute No.||Per Million||Absolute No.||Percent of Population|
(data sourced from https://ourworldindata.org/covid-cases)
After studying the charts above, it becomes evident that the story of India is opposite of what most of the international media like the BBC, Washington Post or the Guardian, and their minions in India (the Wire, the Print, Mojo, Lallantop, NDTV etc.) including the stooges of Congress and AAP, want us to believe. Beside other numbers, even the case fatality ratio of India (1.12%) is much lower than the world average (2.08%), the UK (2.84%) or the US (1.79%).
Under-Reporting of the Death Count in India?
Once it became clear that the available data doesn’t paint India at all badly, they started peddling the stories that the fatalities are being massively under-reported by India. The stories of dead bodies flowing in the Ganga, overburdened crematoriums and pictures of mass funerals were peddled across national and international media.
Of course, all covid waves, across all countries, suffer from somewhat inaccurate counting/attribution of deaths. In theory, there’s both under and over counting (since any death with covid +ve report is counted as covid death though true cause may be some other ailment). Though, in practice, it is undercounting in aggregate. Even developed countries with better tracking/systems may have 1.5x or more deaths than their reported data. This ‘innate’ error may apply to India as well. It may be a little higher in India since the death registration process may be a little less efficient. If it is 1.5x for the West, for India it cannot be too much more than this. This certainly cannot automatically mean 5x or 10x of the official numbers. The extraordinary claims of 5x or 10x need extraordinary proof, not just shoddy anecdotal analysis as these peddlers are doing.
So far, such proof is absent. Robust systematic, pan India evidence like Oxygen consumption proves the opposite. As per the table below, India’s medical oxygen demand trend offers strong evidence that our measured severity of wave-2 based on cases, hospitalizations and deaths is roughly correct. It suggests no dramatic all-India under-counting and proves all those 5x, 10x peddlers plainly wrong and motivated.
|Comparison of peaks between wave 1 and wave 2|
|Wave 1||Wave 2||Multiplier|
|New Cases||97894 (Sept 16, 2020)||414188 (May 6, 2021)||~ 4 x|
|Active Cases||120929 (Oct. 10, 2020)||3741302 (May 9, 2021)||~ 3 x|
|Deaths||1281 (Sept 15, 2021)||4529 (May 18, 2021)||~ 4 x|
|Oxygen Demand||3000MT||9000 MT||~ 3 x|
Source of medical oxygen demand: Indian Express (23.05.2021)
Early data on “all cause” mortality in wave 1 actually shows no big jump. In fact, Kerala, Gujarat recorded fewer deaths in 2020 than in 2019. If covid was massively larger, overall mortality would have been impacted (as Europe and the USA saw in 2020). So, our wave 1 data is ok. Wave 2 to wave 1 ratio also checks out across metrics.
Now it is evident that India’s per capita covid severity was way lower than the West even if our weaker systems undercounted somewhat more than West. However this conclusion is unpalatable to ‘some’ who are so keen to persist with 5-10x claims without systematic evidence.
The Vaccination Story
Amid the hue and cry about the shortage of oxygen, medicines, etc., at a time when the wave was at its peak, there was also created an impression that Modi failed to vaccinate its population in time, as if the vaccine was a panacea and every other country had already vaccinated its people. As if the vaccines (with quality assured) are in abundance in the international market and it was only Modi who did not try to procure in time. But we know that that is not the case. Availability of the vaccines are scarce and it takes time to produce or procure and then administer them. It is callous to demand to do it in a day.
The chart below gives a perspective of India’s vaccination drive, one of the largest in the world, in comparison to other developed countries. Considering India’s population being more than the entire Europe and the USA combined, here it is only logical to use absolute numbers instead of percentage of population as manufacturing/procuring the vaccine and its administration is not directly related to the size of population, rather the bigger the population the harder it is to vaccinate it.
As of May 31, India has already vaccinated (at least one jab) its 167.19 million people in just 136 days while USA took almost 160 days to vaccinate the same number and that too India did at an approximately 1/10th of the cost that of the US. This shows the commitment and effectiveness of the efforts of GOI, as opposed to what these agenda peddlers want us to believe. Further, the GOI has shown its intent to vaccinate fully (2 doses) its whole population latest by the end of December 2021.
The case of Vaccine Export
A total of 6.63 Cr vaccines are exported from India under three categories,
- Grant: Under this humanitarian approach by the government of India, 1.07Cr vaccines were donated to 47 countries, mostly to our neighbors as it is important to stop Covid in neighboring countries to keep India itself safe from the spread.
- Commercial Export: Under the commercial obligations, 3.58 Cr Vaccines are exported. The manufacturer either received money or Raw Material at the early stage which is used for the production of Vaccines. As per agreements made, the exports are made by the manufacturer. The government has no direct control over this.
- COVAX program: Covax is a World Health Organization Initiative under which resources are shared to develop the vaccine faster. It also brings vaccines to poor countries who cannot afford advance payments individually. As India is part of the Covax program, 1.986Cr vaccines were exported under this initiative.
While the GOI could not have stopped the exports under commercial obligation or covax initiative, as that would have brought heavy legal damages to the manufacturers, it could have certainly stopped the grants. But then, at that time it was believed to have enough in store to meet its demand in January or even February.
This cannot be denied that there has been too much pressure on our health infrastructure to cope with. The steepness of the second wave only made it worse. But it is also true that no government, with however advanced or developed health infra, could have coped with such pressure. We have seen the crumbling infra of Europe and the USA when the first wave was at its peak there.
Here we have shown that the GOI has phenomenally handled the pandemic as compared to other developed countries on almost all metrics, be it cumulative death numbers or case fatality ratio or even vaccination of its people. To say that the Indian government has failed in handling the pandemic and put the country in a state of mess is simply callous and only shows their pathetic hate towards it.