Covid-19: India must be doing something right, even if most don’t acknowledge it!

covid-19-5254302_960_720While there has either been less or inconsistent testing and some fudging of data here and there, one thing you simply cannot hide is Covid-19 deaths. They may even have been jacked up due to co-morbidities. Billionaire Elon Musk joked on the Joe Rogan Show that if a man got eaten by a shark and they recovered his hand and it tested positive, it would be put down as a Covid death. A recent US motorcycle accident death was indeed put down as a Covid death.

That way India has a population of 1.35 billion is still not a fully developed country with an inadequate healthcare system with problems of general indiscipline among the general population and also problems of awareness, especially in the rural areas. Then there’s the fact that everyone in the world in their lifetime will either catch the flu or cold or some sort of Coronavirus. No matter what you do, billions will eventually catch Covid-19. What exactly is flattening the curve? The Smallpox and Polio viruses have been around for thousands of years before they came under fully control. Every curve eventually goes flat. What is the correct time frame to know you’ve done well and beaten the worst-case scenario?

There’s no point really focusing on number of cases, number of tests and the like. China is the largest population in the world but we will never get the exact statistics beyond the Bamboo Curtain. So no matter what we do, no matter how well we manage, India may still emerge as the country with the most official Covid-19 cases.

There’s one statistic that is probably the most important and the least discussed.

Deaths… Per… Million…

That is the true nature of how we are doing because Covid deaths may be boosted up but very difficult to hide and the “per million” part equalizes all countries. How does India fare with regard to that? As of the time of writing this article San Marino has the highest rate but let’s discount that due to the fact that it is so small. At No. 2 is Belgium at 845 deaths per million. Strange that there is so little talk in the media about that!

Where does India feature? At 100th position with 19 deaths per million! So in that case, 99 countries are worse off than us. It was reported that the first Covid-19 case was in November 2019, even though it was confirmed in December. There was talk of some people flying into India January 2020 end and it really became a talking point in February. Now it’s mid-July and we are still doing better than 90+ other countries.

Who knows what will happen next month, but it seems under control as of now. Plus all of India is not affected equally but there are a few dozen hotspots all over India only and the rest of the country is doing much better than most parts of the world. So what’s the reason? Did we conduct the first lockdown at exactly the right time? Is it genetics? Is it climate? Is it geography? Is it a weaker strain? Is it luck?

Either way India seems to have escaped the full wrath of Covid in the first half of 2020. Let’s see what happens in the second half.

10 tectonic shifts that the

Covid-19 pandemic will facilitate

1. The Slow Disengagement of China.

panda-1236875_960_720China is not going to collapse overnight. It is too powerful for that. But now you have to totally discount the mega growth that it was due for in the upcoming decades. The biggest issue is trust. You simply can’t believe China anymore over the pandemic that has totally shut down the world. Had they been honest from the beginning, they could have saved the whole world some blushes. China has been the supply chain of the world. Now that chain has been disrupted and countries will be forced to look locally or elsewhere for alternatives. Either way China will be the biggest loser. This comes right after the US trade war where China was already suffering.

2. The Fall of the European Union.

eu-flag-2108026_960_720Brexit happened in 2016, but it dragged on till 2019 when the inevitable finally happened. Let’s say the EU cracked before the Covid-19 crisis. Now those cracks are wider. Open borders is highly unpopular. Forget the migrants outside the EU: The European countries are wary of even opening their borders with each other. The EU is supposed to work together and take all decisions together. But when faced with the biggest crisis of recent times, each constituent of the EU believes in doing its own and is acting accordingly. Will we have Brexit style movements in the 2020s?

3. The Irrelevance of UN-WHO.

who-4984801_960_720The World Health Organization covered itself with egg when it first hinted that there was no harm in travelling to Wuhan or that masks were not important. Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso ranted that the WHO should be renamed Chinese Health Organization. US President Donald Trump has been against both the United Nations and WHO and is stopping funding for the latter. In the 2010s these global organizations saw a steady decline and the 2020s look more ominous.

4. The Decline of Globalism.

globe-895580_960_720Go local is the mantra of 2020. That may well extend into the 2020s and beyond. Nationalism was on the rise in the 2010s. Apart from the ideologies, the global supply chain has proved to be a big pain. Every country will want to make its own closed supply chain based on essentials. Ideologically and practically nationalism seems to be gaining ground over globalism. We will see more of Make in _____ (whichever country you belong to) campaigns.

5. The End of Marxism.

berlin-1594352_640UN and EU. Global trade treaties and power groups. Open borders. These are all Leftist ideologies which were on the decline but will decline further. Leftist parties like India’s Congress, UK’s Labour and America’s Democrats are in decay. The 2010s saw one of the best decades in ages for the Rightist parties and they will cement themselves further in the 2020s. The Leftist mainstream media continues its decline. The Leftist universities see its students weighed under the burden of student debt and defaults. They had been challenged by online education, which will grow stronger.

6. The Rise of India.

human-613601_960_720China was already been weighed down by an ageing population and the trade war with US when this happened. China’s loss is certain to be India’s gain. Only India has the size, population and potential to take over from China. By 2030, India will displace China as the country with the largest working population. The US-India ties will do well in things like technology. Recently India eased its Hydroxychloroquine exports and in return the US FDA granted concessions. In the 2010s India has made great strides in power, LPG, toilet connections, bank accounts and roads. This infrastructure burst will bode well for the 2020s.

7. The Rise of Work From Home.

office-820390_960_720WFH has been around for ages, but companies have been cautious in expanding it as much as possible and many employees also have been wary. 2020 has pushed everyone to the limit. The IT industry has gone out of its way to expand WFH infrastructure. Not everyone is going to return to office. Many people and many organizations will realize how many posts can be permanently WFHed. Collaboration tools will proliferate and the industry will flourish. Corporate foreign travel will reduce.

8. The Decline of Large Gatherings.

connectcompetition-4212584_960_720We already had hundreds of types of cold and flu viruses in the last century. Then we had Bird Flu, Swine Flu, SARS and MERS. Covid-19 is also called SARS 2 by some experts. We may have frequent pandemic alerts and frequent lockdowns. Initially technology will facilitate that and then it will become a permanent part of the fixture. Large gatherings will always be under a cloud. Some airlines will go bankrupt. Many planes will be lying idle: That’s not an ideal situation in terms of maintenance. Overall the airline industry may see a sea change. This will severely impact the travel-tourism industry, including buses and trains.

9. The Rise of Virtual Sports

football-3024154_960_720After World War 2 there have been 18 Olympics which have been held like clockwork every 4 years. 2020 will be the first leap year not to feature an Olympics. They have been postponed to 2021. What happens if there’s another pandemic scare next year? We could have our first cancellation since WW2. The IPL went strong from 2008-19 but there will be no IPL this year. Team India last played a cricket match on February 29, 2020. Nobody knows when the next match will be. But the world needs to watch sports. With drone fighter planes, teenagers can do better than seasoned veterans. Will the same thing happen in sports? Or will the likes of Virat Kohli participate in virtual sports to stay relevant?

10. The Push for Multiple Emerging Tech.

woman-3124083_960_720As mentioned above, collaboration tools have really taken off. If offices are spread out and WFH is now a new office, then data centres and cloud operations will become larger. No touch tech like drones, robots and driverless cars will get a fillip. People were wary of touching paper notes lest they were infected: Now that can’t happen with cryptocurrency can it? Dark/lights out (people less) factories will be promoted. Companies will want to do lesser with humans and promote Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Robotic Process Automation and IoT (Internet of Things). Consumer Internet is booming with its delivery networks. Augmented Reality-Virtual Reality-Mixed Reality has the power to replace offline education techniques, training, tourism and entertainment. Silicon Valley billionaires talk of the Singularity where man will merge with AI to gain immortality. With our mortality starkly in question during Covid-19, that concept will also gain ground.

8 lethal costs of 2020’s

Covid-19 lockdown

pandemic-5023893_960_7201. Physical Health: As it is in today’s lifestyle we sit by the desk all day and stare at the screen continuously. We get less exercise. Now a lot of people in strict areas are unable to go for morning and evening walks altogether. What about those living in packed apartments and short of fresh air? What about people having minor ailments which may become major ones by the time the lockdown finally ends? Everyone is not cut out for doing intense household chores and that may lead to both a physical and mental strain.

child-696171_960_7202. Mental Health: Everyone is not suited to work at home. People like going to office and gossiping and attending meetings to break the monotony. Forget extroverts, even the average person likes going out and meeting people. What about cinema halls, malls, plays and the like? People like going on vacations for a change of scenery. Now the scenery is the same day in and day out. Then there’s the issue of being packed with the family all day and that does not suit everyone. There will be a great toll on mental health.

india-2507482_960_7203. The poor: The middle class survives no matter what. It is the poor who are always hit the hardest. They suffer in normal times. They suffer even more in abnormal times. They cannot work from home. Labourers, construction and low wage workers, small farmers and mainly daily wage earners who have no savings have it bad. In many areas they are finding it difficult to even procure the basic goods: This even as it was announced recently that the world removed record people out of poverty in the 2010s. The clock has been set back for many of them. Migrant workers stranded far from home face further uncertainties.

4. Small businesses: Many of them do not have deep credit resources and small factories are losing out a lot by being shut. These businesses survive on a month to month basis and cannot afford to pay their workers regularly if there is no work being done. Even after the lockdown is over, new business is uncertain.

5. Supply chain disruptions: Global supply chains have been disrupted. Nationals ones have too. Many trucks have been abandoned along the highway. At the lower levels many workers have simply gone home. It’s going to be difficult to start certain supply chains during the lockdown and others even after. Global supply chains will be hit for the entirety of 2020.

6. Wastage: We don’t have hands to get all the crops from the fields, to distribute them to the mandis and get them out of the large godowns. While non-perishables can stay for months and some even for years, perishables will simply go bad. Even in the best of years there is a lot of wastage and now that will only go up during the lockdown.

passenger-traffic-122999_960_7207. Life disruptions: If you are in a stable working job, you can still manage and work from home. What if you had just quit or was on the verge of joining and now couldn’t? What if you were about to get married or pregnant? What if you were about to emigrate? If you were not planning changes in 2020, then you can manage, but what if you were bang in the middle of something life changing? Now that’s some disruption to your life.

8. Students: Final exams got cancelled. Entrance exams got cancelled. Admissions have got postponed. For students it could have not have come at a worse time towards the end of the academic year. As it is there is enough pressure on the students of today and now add uncertainty to the mix.