Hyderabad: In early March, with a heavy sense of optimism, union health minister Harsh Vardhan declared that India is in the ‘endgame’ of the COVID-19 pandemic. The country was reporting merely 11,000 cases per day, with inoculation drive widely publicized and vaccine diplomacy at its peak.
Cut to over a month, India on Monday (April 19) reported 2,73,810 new COVID-19 cases and 1,619 deaths in the past 24 hours. This is yet another highest single-day spike since the outbreak of the virus in March last year as a monstrous second wave of infections hit the country from late March.
The scenes are devastating across the country. Piles of dead bodies reek in the overburdened crematoriums waiting for final rites, seriously ill COVID-positive patients struggle to find a single bed in ICUs of hospitals and long queues of ambulances in front of hospitals became a common sight. Social media is flooded with frantic requests for beds, medicines and blood.
Meanwhile, the widely-publicized vaccination drive is also struggling, with several states reporting vaccine shortages. Tens of thousands, after being administered the first dose, are being sent back as hospitals lack supplies of second doses.
All this, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his party cadre and ministers are busy campaigning for elections in West Bengal; while giving out shallow promises and assurances on public safety amid this deadly wave of infections.
The Kumbh Mela was allowed, where at least over 5,000 people tested positive for COVID-19 and hundreds of others were found contracted upon returning to their respective states. After the chaos caused, urged that the weeks-long religious festival “should now only be symbolic”.
But the show will go on, said Mahant Narayan Giri, spokesperson of Juna Akhara.
Social media, annoyed by the hypocrisy, took to trend #ResignModi with over 213K tweets so far and highlighted how people are struggling with the virus, while he continues to do public rallies.
Here are some of the top reactions: