The world is in doldrums and American President Donald J. Trump has a solution! Despite combating with the deadly COVID 19 pandemic which made inroads in every part of the world, Mr. President wanted his country to resume their business life come what may. He craves to see New York streets vibrant and lively again which are now competitive to a ghostly city with roads deserted, shutters down. Many apprehend that resuming of normal activities will worsen the overall situation more and help COVID to spread its wings with full intensity. By doing so, it will kill precious lives, youth will lose their jobs & the superpower will witness an economic catastrophe.
Moreover, the USA was never prepared enough to tackle and combat the zoonotic coronavirus. The administration’s lackadaisical approach is the prime reason for a wide-scale loss of lives in the country. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel and the USA will prosper again amid a robust economy. But, In order to save millions of souls in the country, the foremost condition and concern for Mr. President should be healthcare which he was least bothered about.
Historically, half a century ago, America was in the middle of a wrenching depression. One-third of the nation’s wealth vanished in a matter of months. Manufacturing processes declined by 77%. One-fourth of the labour force was left idle. Many cities could not afford to keep schools open. 20% of New York school children were malnourished. At one point, 34 million men, women, and children were without any source of income. Yet in the depths of that hardship, with its soup kitchens, bank closings, and hunger, Franklin Roosevelt could tell the nation in a radio address, “Our difficulties, thank God, concern only material things.” Someone, please remind Donald Trump.
Coronavirus is unlikely to disappear soon as there are 1,188,489 infected cases around the world and as many as 64,169 deaths, but the world leadership is bothered to run their economy with hospitals overflowing infected patients lying on the death bed. Many experts had palpated the world about the possible outbreak of a pandemic and had warned to anticipate this challenge as early as possible but still, U.S.A was woefully unprepared. Security agencies too alerted the country for a possible outbreak of the deadly disease but all in vain.
The U.S president’s stoic approach has put people of America to swim with the tides, first trying denial, labeling it ‘hoax’ and also his reliance on his gut instinct in place of experts proved to be fatal. On top of that, Trump administration’s xenophobic rhetoric about the “the Chinese virus’’ forgetting for a moment that the US is the largest buyer of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies of China. Ironically, the US is seeking to import Chinese face masks and protective gear, which seemed to be quite impossible at one point after growing acrimony between the two countries. But Jack Ma has a big heart, though.
Also, despite the president’s rhetoric that the US would not rely on foreign nations for help, the administration approached European and Asian partners for medical aid later. Trump’s incompetency and selfishness to curb the coronavirus proves to be lethal and he miserably failed in this litmus test.
In India, Coronavirus is the first major crisis Prime Minister Modi’s Government is facing, that is not out of his own making. At present, India has a lower number of coronavirus cases, more than 3,082 positive cases and 86 deaths, hitherto. Earlier, Mr. Modi announced a day-long lockdown all over the country to break the chain of the virus which was an appreciated move. He urged the nation by 5 in the afternoon, people should come on their balconies with clapping and clanging their utensils in solidarity with a team of doctors who despite all odds face treating their patients with the utmost professionalism. And exactly at 5 pm, people of the country followed the suit.
The situation worsened when people thronged their local streets and started bursting firecrackers amid slogans. The act was widely criticised and proven deadly for enticing the spread of infection further. The clamor resonated throughout the world, and it was dissented and rebuked. However, PM Modi has introduced stringent measures to combat the spread of coronavirus in the country, where millions live in densely populated conditions with terrible sanitization and inadequate healthcare access.
As per the report published in US-based prestigious newspaper The Guardian, “There are currently only 40,000 ventilators in India, one for per 84,000 people, one doctor per 11,600 Indians.” The reason behind the low number of positive case is feared because of low testing, with only 37000 tests carried out so far. Coronavirus has exposed the poor health infrastructure in India, as the country is chiefly involved in other conflicts, which can’t rescue in coronavirus crises. Rupam Bhattacharya, a member of the covid-19 study group of researchers at the University of Michigan who is looking specifically into coronavirus outbreak in India said, “If too many people get affected at the same time, it creates immense pressure on the healthcare system, which will be even more pressing on the high population, low resource infrastructure that India has and may lead to an eventual collapse.’’
So, the only option left with India as even what PM Modi said in his speech that the government and experts had spent two months studying coronavirus outbreak in other countries and thus reached on the conclusion that forcible social distancing with lockdown is the only cure available to prevent the country from being infected with the coronavirus. However, the relief package is still not helping, as many people in India who earn hand to mouth are suffering and starving at their homes, it’s hard for them to make their ends meet. With the little spare of commodities they have, may soon run with a shortage of food and other essential commodities. But who cares!
Many people were unhappy with PM Modi for approving only 15,000cr for Covid19 and
20,000cr for the central vista project, which they believe is the sheer misuse of financial resources at the time when there is a dire need of rehabilitation for poor families who may die of starvation before the coronavirus, will engulf them. PM Modi should be disciplined with the priorities for what should be done at times of crisis. Equally medical staff in India needs proactive equipment to deal with the infected patients as doctors are more vulnerable to this contagious disease.
Cuba has good doctors working in other countries with poor medical care. There were many doctors working in Brazil, who were warmly welcomed for years. But from the day Jair Bolsonaro joined the office, he eliminated Cuban doctors from the country, accusing them of creating guerrilla cells and indoctrinating people. Now, as the coronavirus has posed a threat to public health, Bolsonaro has begged the Cuban doctors to come back.
In the wake of the coronavirus, Saudi Arabia was at a price war with Russia-two of the world’s largest oil producers. It was after 2014 “gulf’’ diplomacy, which brought Saudi Arabia and Russia together to see eye to eye, to cut output and steady prices known as the ‘’OPEC Plus’’. The OPEC-Plus cooperation collapsed down after Russia rejected a Saudi request to affect more cuts in output given the fall in demand owing to the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
Confronting the threat requires global cooperation. But the world leadership has taken a sledgehammer to crush the cooperation and harmony that the world needs to fight against coronavirus. After the first and second world wars, this is the crucial time when the world leader should reunite and combat the deadly threat, which is about to engulf the world.
Coronavirus is the litmus test for world leadership, and if world leadership will sledgehammer resentment, and cooperate with each other, then it will pave the way for reconciliations. This is the time to call off sanctions, in Iran. The lethal trust deficit prevailing between the countries is unfortunate. We can’t save our country and our people till we will not be empathetic about other countries.
All the countries around the world have survived in the economic depressions and never succumbed to it. There is no need to run the economy on the cost of human lives. Also, it’s not time to stigmatize china for coronavirus, but the world should take lessons on how they curbed the spread of the pandemic in the first experience and passed the litmus test. At this time, china should be taken into confidence to vanquish the repercussions of coronavirus. Every country needs to come forward and respect the notion of international solidarity. Remember, if you’ll survive in this epidemic, please make sure tomorrow that your life was worth saving.
“SUFI AUQIB is author of book ‘True Colours’. He is currently pursuing M.COM at the Central University of Kashmir. Mr.Auqib hails from Charar-i-Sharief, Budgan district in Kashmir.”