Coranavirus pandemic: India among five most affected countries


Harrowing tales have begun to emerge of people running from pillar to post with COVID-19 in search of a hospital to take them in as India was ranked by a Johns Hopkins University professor among the countries reporting “highly suspect data” on the novel coronavirus pandemic.

According to the online dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at at Johns Hopkins University, India is the fifth-most affected country with 276,583 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of early Wednesday morning.

India’s health authorities reported 9,985 novel coronavirus cases and 274 deaths between Tuesday and Wednesday.

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray warned that another lockdown could be imposed if people did not observe the restrictions in place as the state ‘unlocked’.

Mumbai’s COVID-19 case tally increased to 52,445 with 1,567 new cases and 97 more deaths, taking the toll to 1,855, while Delhi recorded 1,501 fresh novel coronavirus cases taking its tally to over 32,000 and a death toll of 984, according to Indian news agencies Wednesday.

Accounts that have surfaced on social media seemed to point to community spread – the stage of a pandemic in which the source of a person’s infection cannot be traced – though Indian health authorities have so far denied there is such spread of COVID-19 in the country.

For example, Mithila Phadke, a freelance writer and editor who tweets from the handle @PhadkeTai, narrated how her entire family fell ill with COVID despite them being at their Mumbai suburban home and one person going out for groceries once a week.

Reagan White House alum Steve Hanke, an applied economist with Johns Hopkins University, tweeted a graphic with the caption: “These countries are the “rotten apples” of #coronavirus data. These countries either do not report #covid data or are reporting highly suspicious data.”

The graphic had India, Venezuela, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Turkey and China as “government reporting highly suspect data”, and Vietnam as “no data reported”.

Indian civil servant-turned activist Harsh Mander sounded a dire note of warning.

He tweeted: “Middle-class patients dying because they’re refused hospital beds is frightening. I dread what will happen to our homeless sisters & brothers when covid strikes them? Which hospital will welcome them, take care of them, when even those with money are unable to buy hospital beds?”

However, India’s home minister Amit Shah, kicking off his Bharatiya Janata Party’s “virtual rallies” for upcoming state elections, declared that India was doing very well in the context of the global fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic.

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