A dire warning to countries that have managed their initial COVID response well. India should serve as a warning to be cautious. In a deadly second wave, India was hit but a mutant strain so infectious that even experts are alarmed at the rate of its spread. Unable to close down the country for a second time due to both economic and political pressure, Prime Minister Modi is facing is biggest crisis yet.
By April 21st, India was reporting almost 300,000 new cases daily. The sheer volume of patients has stretched India’s medical resources to its limit. All over India, hospitals are running out of oxygen required to keep patients breathing. Medical staff are getting infected on a daily basis, requiring them to either be quarantined or themselves requiring hospitalization due to the virus. Its crematoriums are running around the clock as new dead bodies are wheeled in almost every hour.
Many hospitals are running out of resources and people are unable to get treatment for their family and friends due to the lack medical facilities, staff or simply because of price gouging. Its ill equipped healthcare system is running out of crucial medical supplies like medicines. India’s vaccine effort has been severely lacking with only 9% of its population receiving one dose and 3% of its population being fully vaccinated.
India’s finance minister, Nirmala Sitharam, has expressed optimism in India recovering from this deadly disease emphasizing the governments efforts in getting much needed supplies to hospitals in hotspot areas. The minister also refused to exempt medical supplies and equipment from goods and services tax (GST) reasoning that doing so could lead to more price gauging of these essential goods.
Investors overall are confident that India will be able to bounce back from this turmoil. Its market Index has been trading relatively flat in its current range, further signs of optimism from global investors that India will recover from the current crisis. The rise in commodity prices have worked in favor of India as it is known as one of the worlds top producers of raw materials required to make processed goods.