It has become a well-known fact that COVID-19 cases fall every weekend in India. Invariably, Monday will report the lowest new COVID-19 cases for the week.
Seemingly, coronavirus takes a break over the weekend. It appears to get tired infecting people all through the week; hence it takes a much-needed breather in the week-end. Have you wondered how would coronavirus be spending the weekend? Watching feckless Indian Media or the show of The New Invincibles or leave-your-country phobic IPL?
Hey, wait a minute. The virus doesn’t know to read a calendar. In all probability, it doesn’t even know that there is a calendar. Then, how come COVID-19 cases fall every weekend?
You already know it. The COVID-19 tests fall every weekend. Hence, the COVID-19 cases also have a consequent fall. With Sunday test results coming on Monday, the first day of the week holds the distinction to give the country a hope that the pandemic is coming under control. Alas, the other days of the week do not play along and dash our hopes.
So, what does this COVID-19 week-end phenomenon tell us about Indian State and, of course, us?
Business as usual
The country is supposed to be facing a pandemic. Heck, it is an actual pandemic. What’s the response expected to be? All hands-on board. Firing on all cylinders. Always be hustlin’. Wait, that was Uber, we are talking about the Indian Government. What has been the Indian Government’s actual response?
A half-hearted lockdown yielding half-hearted results. The Lockdown announcing Prime Minister going in hibernation over the stealthy Unlock measures. Screwing up the already screwed-up migrants. Forcing the students to give NEET and JEE so that coaching classes can advertise their fake NEP credentials. Schools and colleges won’t reopen. Mumbo-jumbo about Atmanirbhar Bharat.
All these would have been fine had the Government shown the much-needed urgency in ramping up the tests. All the slack would have been acceptable if the Government would have said that it has diverted manpower and resources so that every Indian can get on-demand testing. None of the data fudging and hiding behind the per capita excuses would have been required if the Government was pro-active about not letting off the guard over the week-ends.
The need of the pandemic was 24*7 round-the-clock, aggressive functioning, what we got was a 10 to 6 Government time, snooze and slumber. The Government officials used to snail-paced file-pushing made COVID-19 join their team of a 5-day week with all the breaks and recesses.
For the listless Government officials, COVID-19 is yet another business as usual. Anyways, there isn’t any medication. So, what’s the hurry to conduct tests over the week-ends? Let the COVID-19 cases fall over the weekend.
Nobody questions the business as usual
COVID-19 cases falling every week-end due to low tests conducted are for everyone to see. Yet, nobody, repeat nobody raises any objections or protests to these unconcerned efforts by the Government agencies.
The Prime Minister, of course, could not be bothered for such minor breach of the testing protocol. The Health Minister, the all-powerful Chief Ministers, all the batteries of politicians – Centre and State are silent about this testing tapering off over the weekend.
The IAS officers are themselves a party to the indifferent testing on weekends. Hence, they cannot be expected to wake up the Government machinery at the siesta time. The Judiciary is having hang-over from extended summer vacation. They might be back to work by sometime next year, provided there isn’t any other vacation. The Media is busy with milking a suicide and making a mockery of their credibility with the TRP mess.
The general public, apart from voting every 5 years, doesn’t know their rights. For us, the Government is not meant to serve us, but lord over us. So, whatever they do is normal for us. They won’t test over the weekends. No issues, as long as Big Boss/IPL/OTT shows are on.
There ain’t gonna new leaf
Yes, I know that I have exaggerated the situation. I haven’t been objective in my approach. For that matter, you tell me, has the Government been objective in their approach towards the pandemic?
How do you deal with the Government machinery that has blood on the hands yet maintain holier-than-thou stance? Is the Government correct in lowering the COVID-19 tests over the weekends and claiming to care for the public good?
If the Government is stuck on bandwidth/man-power/resources, why can’t it be transparent about it? Rather than dragging the feet as it always does, even with a raging pandemic, why can’t the Government list the support of civic agencies/volunteers to augment its’ capabilities? Nobody expects the Government to be a know-all/do-all, but when it doesn’t seek help/own up, what’s wrong in calling out the Government’s failure to save lives?
Eternal optimists will claim that handling of the COVID-19 pandemic will turn a new leaf in Government’s crisis management skills. The Government’s capabilities will be augmented. As a result, the nation will be better prepared to manage such emergencies in future.
Regret to prick the balloon. The Government that sleeps over the weekend even with an ongoing emergency cannot be expected to pick any learnings. For the shoddy administration, it is business as usual. For their political masters, it is business as usual. And for us too, it is business as usual.
Let us declare each day of the week as a Sunday, COVID-19 will leave India without a vaccine.