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    • Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – September 26, 2021
      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – September 26, 2021 by Tony Wikrent Strategic Political Economy “Rich People Are Leading the Anti-Vaccine Movement — and Experts Have a Theory Why” [Money, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-20-21] From 2019, still germane: “Disease experts say the parents least likely to vaccinate their kids live in some of the most afflu […]
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Covid is ravaging India. It took a lot longer than I thought it would. I don’t know what to attribute that to. Coworkers from and in India presently, have been variously sequestered or in intermittent lockdown for the last year.

There was a period of time early in the pandemic when some of them were a bit smug about their low Covid numbers. Yep, for a couple of months, when other countries were reporting a rapid increase in cases, the John’s Hopkins Covid tracker showed a total of 4 cases in India, which at the time seemed grossly irresponsible to me. My Indian friends said that was due to Indians’ natural immunity to Covid or the subcontinental hot climate.

(Funny, that’s the kind of thing I would have expected from a prime minister who thrives on nationalism and is planning on taking the Trumpian approach to pandemic control.)

They quickly had to reassess their assumptions when it was pointed out that Singapore was also hot and steamy and not only were they reporting realistic numbers showing that heat and humidity had not curtailed spread, those numbers indicated a concerted effort by the government of the city state to stop the spread as quickly and thoroughly as possible.

My gut feeling is that there were many cases of Covid and many deaths early in the pandemic but those cases weren’t visible and reported because many deaths might be attributed to some other cause. There’s a cultural aspect to this I’m sure. And conflict between Hindus and other religions in India, particularly Moslems, has caused disunity and focused disproportionate attention on the culture wars and away from pandemic control.

So the epidemic simmered beneath the surface for more than a year. The numbers for much of last year were unbelievable. As in, they weren’t credible for an airborne disease in a country with a billion people. And now it’s starting to catch up with Modi and his government.

My friends are scared. They’re scared for their families back at home. It was bad when Covid ran amok here during the Trump admin. But the US is not nearly as crowded or, in some areas, as poor. The numbers are going nuclear. Also, once Biden took over, the science and governmental agencies that were held back, were able to get their gears turning quickly.

At least we were out there with the scale of our problem. It was horrifying and embarrassing but imagine what it must have been like in India last year when the numbers didn’t reflect how serious the problem was and the public was reassured that India was stopping the virus at the borders. We all know now that once it gains a foothold in your country, stopping it at the border is just putting a bandaid on the problem and efforts need to be redirected internally.

Whatever vaccine we send is going to be a drop in the bucket at this point. India needs to vaccinate hundreds of millions of people as soon as possible. The size of the problem means there are going to be some significant new variants in the future.

The Indian pharmas need to step it up now and forge their own paths. This is an emergency. They can do this and they must.