In the last eight weeks, the number of deaths in India due to COVID-19 has so far been well below the forecasts and predictions of Western experts. While the death toll continues to soar in the USA and Europe, India has achieved a remarkable feat by containing the spread of Covid-19 with imposition of a timely emergency nationwide lockdown.
Just consider the odds stacked against India in its battle against COVID-19.
The population of India at 1,350 million is more than the combined population of North America and Europe which is 1,225 million. India’s population is almost double of the combined population of 51 European countries. The population of 54 countries in the African continent is 1,340 million which is just 10 million less than India’s population. In fact, our population is four times that of the USA (pop. 331 million).
Occupying 2 percent of the world’s land mass, we host 16.5 percent of the world’s population. By comparison, USA occupies 6.1 percent and Europe 6.6 percent. In fact, China hosts a population similar to ours on a land mass three times larger (6.3 percent). Likewise the African continent has a land mass ten times that of India. These figures reflect India’s incredibly high population density which makes the task of fighting a contagious disease like COVID-19 extremely tough.
The dismal state of India’s public healthcare facilities and infrastructure countrywide, especially in the rural areas is a well-known fact. According to WHO data, the number of hospital beds in a country per 1,000 people is given below.
Moreover India’s doctor to population ratio is pathetic and needs no elaboration. Also the priority of a quarter of India’s population living below the Poverty Line continues to be Survival, Food, Shelter, Clothing, Money and Jobs. Expecting them to have Civic Sense and Social Responsibility is not practical nor possible.
Against all these odds, the COVID-19 Team India has done a remarkable job so far. No doubt our testing rate is on the lower side but unlike some other countries, the number of deaths in India cannot be kept under wraps. With the number of deaths due to COVID-19 well below 4,000 as of the Second week of May, this is a remarkable feat compared to the high number of fatalities in OECD countries.
COVID 19 Team India is a term for all those who are fighting this disease on behalf of India. Doctors, Nurses, Medical workers, Police, Central & State Administrations, Armed forces, Essential Supplies personnel & undertakings, Pilots, Railways and the list goes On and On.
The total number of Indians directly fighting the disease, would not be more than one crore. This works out to less than 0.75 percent of our total population.
Churchill’s immortal quote: “NEVER WAS SO MUCH OWED BY SO MANY TO SO FEW” aptly sums up the battle of the COVID 19 Team India.
We owe it to them that we follow their guidelines and advisories. The battle is far from over with the pandemic curve yet to flatten.
We the citizens of India salute all the members of Team India who are at the forefront of the war against COVID-19.