This week on Hafta, Abhinandan Sekhri, Raman Kirpal, Manisha Pande, Mehraj D Lone, and Anand Vardhan are joined by Banjot Kaur, a health reporter at Down to Earth.
Banjot Kaur begins by explaining the scientific and public health aspects of the ongoing Covid surge in India. "The surge might start decreasing in mid-May, but due to healthcare collapse it won't be seen directly," she says.
She also opines on why the Covid curve did not swing up during the Bihar election last year and the farmer protests around the turn of the year and after.
Pointing to the lack of scientific data on the new Indian variant of coronavirus, Banjot laments, "Maybe we can expect scientists in the UK and other countries to tell us about it because unfortunately we don't have anything about it from this government.”
Talking about the international media's coverage of the unfolding disaster, and why they have been relentlessly criticising Narendra Modi’s handling of the pandemic, Mehraj says, "It is driven by the sheer scale of the tragedy and horror.”
The panel also discuss whether the outrage from a section of the commentariat over the media showing visuals of funeral pyres is justified. In this regard, Raman says, "This is what is happening around us, what else are we supposed to report?"
The conversation also spans India’s fudging of Covid data, Madras High Court's oral observations about the Election Commission’s handling of the pandemic protocol during recent assembly election campaigns, vaccine prices and patents, and a lot more.
Text by Ritika Chauhan.
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