The Creaking Tree Society

How India is fighting back COVID-19

The only way to truly see how a nation is fighting back, is from a patient’s point of view. The writer got diagnosed with COVID-19, and this is his experience

Are we doing well in the fight against COVID-19? Is it rapidly coming under control, or are we all going to die? If we beat up enough people for not wearing masks, will we eventually emerge as a shining beacon of hope for the rest of the world? These are not easy questions to answer. Most articles are not clear enough. This is because none of them are written by patients.

The only way to truly see how a nation is fighting back, is from a patient’s point of view. When I wanted to do an investigative piece, this is what the editors of The Hindu told me. I suggested that maybe I could just imagine everything, like Republic TV, but they said no. Thankfully, they did agree to pay me double my normal rate. Knowing that my future was now secure, both my wife and I became COVID-19 positive around two weeks ago. I can now report that overall, the news is good. When it comes to COVID-19, our prospects are bright. Here are the key elements of Government strategy that we discovered.

Curb the flow of prescriptions. The key to fighting COVID-19, as we all know, is to keep the numbers low. All Government efforts have been designed to achieve this. As Montek Singh Ahluwalia showed, when he uplifted millions from poverty by shifting the poverty line, statistics are at the heart of everything. And COVID-19 is no exception.

The logic is simple. If no one is tested, no one will have COVID-19. Hence, the first step is to prevent testing. Prescriptions are mandatory for testing. As we discovered, the Government has threatened local doctors with dire consequences if they issue unnecessary prescriptions.

The other option would have been to make more tests available while we were all locked up for two months, but these are the kind of questions that anti-nationals ask to confuse people. When we requested a prescription for our son, our GP refused flatly. You would think that ‘my entire family is infected’ would be a good reason for a test, but the Government is not fooled by such frivolous arguments.

Delay results as much as possible. On the rare occasions that a test is allowed, the second pillar of the strategy kicks in. Results from Government labs take at least 2-3 days to arrive. By the time they do, the patient is either dead or recovering. Since death occurred before testing, it cannot be attributed to COVID-19. As Montek would point out, this helps to smoothen the curve, which is key.

Keep all patients at home. The third pillar relates to hospital beds, which we do not have enough of. You should not ask why, as you could be beaten up, or worse, face snide remarks from Nirmala Sitharaman. To prevent their misuse, the Government is keeping all patients at home and making daily phone calls. This is what happened to us. Initially, we were touched, but by the fourth day, the officer was replaced by a robo call, which said things like if you have fever, press one. It wasn’t quite the same. The norms for hospitalisation are quite stringent. We never discovered what they were, but none of us ever qualified. In this way, pressure on hospitals is being kept to a minimum.

I was much encouraged by our experience. If such efforts continue, I predict that prescriptions, testing and hospitalisation should drop to zero by early July, at which point we as a nation will finally be COVID-19 free. Await further announcements, and keep your pots and pans ready.

No viruses were harmed in Shovon Chowdhury’s most recent novel, Murder With Bengali Characteristics

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 7:42:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/how-india-is-fighting-back-covid-19/article31898527.ece

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