India’s Current ‘COVID Crisis’ in Context

Read Time:5 Minutes

The mainstream media’s reporting on the ‘COVID crisis’ in India has clearly been governed by a global approach to messaging that appears to aim at ramping up fear of ‘new variants’ and coerce compliance to vaccination during a period of increasing resistance, both in India and abroad. However, as somebody who lived in India for 8 years in total until December 2019, and as the fundraiser for a food bank in Bihar that has been alleviating the hunger caused by lockdowns [1], I have daily contact with people in India as well as some context for the figures being presented amidst the ongoing alarm.

Firstly, the media are presenting cases and deaths in whole numbers that sound horrendous until you convert them to percentages of India’s huge population of 1.4 billion people. The current daily death rate in India of 2,600 is equivalent to 126 deaths per day in the UK, way below our peak rate and closer to what we are experiencing now. See the graph produced by JHU below to understand the context [2].

Secondly, even as the alleged COVID deaths reach their peak more people die of diarrhoea every day in India and have done for years, mostly due to a lack of clean water and sanitation creating a terrain ripe for the flourishing of communicable disease [3].

Thirdly, Delhi, the focus of the media’s messaging, and the source of many of the media’s horrifying scenes of suffering, has the most toxic air in the world which often leads to the city having to close down due to the widespread effects on respiratory health [4, 5, 6]. This even led to Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul having to flee the city in November 2020 until the air quality improved [7].

Fourth, high stake assembly elections are going on in some of India’s biggest states at present [8]. Delhi’s toxic air has been a political football for years that neither dominant party addresses directly, preferring to call on individuals’ collective efforts to tackle the problem. Therefore, blaming the soaring respiratory problems that require oxygen on a COVID surge skilfully diverts attention from the ongoing political neglect of this urgent public health issue.

Fifth, respiratory diseases including COPD, TB, and respiratory tract infections like bronchitis leading to pneumonia are always among the top ten killers in India [3]. These conditions are severely aggravated by air pollution and often require oxygen which can be in short supply during air pollution crises. Delhi even saw its first oxygen bar open in 2019, where wealthier residents can pay for a 15-minute blast of oxygen during toxic periods [9].

Finally, the Indian government’s focus on vaccine procurement risks diverting resources from tackling urgent public health issues including access to clean water, sanitation, clean air, and treatments for other communicable diseases. An article in the British Medical Journal reported on disrupted access to TB vaccinations due to lockdowns [10], with TB known to cause around 1.4 million death worldwide each year with around 450,000 of those deaths in India annually.

According to my contacts on the ground, people in Delhi are suffering from untreated respiratory and lung conditions that are now becoming serious. I’ve also had breathing problems there when perfectly healthy and started to mask up to keep the particulate matter out of my lungs. I used to suffer from serious chest infections twice yearly during the big changes in weather in India, usually November/December and April/May. When I reluctantly masked up that stopped. My contacts have reported that the usual seasonal bronchial infections have not been properly treated by doctors afraid of getting COVID, and due to people’s avoidance of government hospitals out of fear of getting COVID. Undoubtedly, these fears will have been fuelled by the media’s alarmist coverage of the situation. Consequently, the lack of early intervention means many respiratory conditions have developed life-threatening complications. Also, people from surrounding rural areas often travel to Delhi for treatment as it has the best healthcare facilities and people can go there for a few rupees by train. This puts pressure on Dehli’s healthcare system during respiratory virus seasons.

Until now, my contacts report that vaccine take-up among the working classes and other minority groups has been low due to widespread mistrust of government-funded vaccination camps. In the context of successive governments’ neglect of other longstanding public health problems that disproportionately affect India’s working class, the rolling news coverage of COVID and lockdowns are perceived as attempts to coerce vaccination compliance. Also, many perceive COVID as a disease more likely to affect the wealthy living in gated urban environments with air conditioning; therefore, a reluctance to comply endures. Vaccination is now being promoted over cheap early treatments that were previously widely available, and while vaccine take-up has increased, so have deaths concordantly as displayed in the graphic from John Hopkins University below [11]. While correlation does not equal causation, most people I have spoken to do not believe this is merely a coincidence. Given the widespread availability of the data online, and anecdotal reports of adverse reactions and deaths, suspicions of the vaccination campaign remain.

When we consider the current media coverage of India’s alleged COVID crisis in the context of the multiple factors presented above, clearly people’s concerns are not unfounded, and all is not what it seems.

References

1. Just Giving (2020) ‘We’re Raising £3000 to Continue the Food Bank in Bodhgaya’ https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/foodbankbodhgaya

2. John Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center (2021) https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html for current data.

3. Times of India (2021) ‘These Diseases Kill Many More Than the Coronavirus’ https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/these-diseases-kill-many-more-than-coronavirus/articleshow/74670863.cms

4. DW.com (2020) ‘India: Smog Causes Health Emergency During Merkel Visit’ https://www.dw.com/en/india-smog-causes-health-emergency-during-merkel-visit/a-51083303

5. Al Jazeera (2020) ‘India’s Capital New Delhi Suffers Most Toxic Air in a Year’ https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/11/5/indias-capital-new-delhi-suffers-most-toxic-air-in-a-year

6. Thomas, V and Tiwari, C. (2020) ‘Delhi the World’s Most Polluted Capital Fights Back’ Brookings https://www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2020/11/25/delhi-the-worlds-most-air-polluted-capital-fights-back/

7. The Hindu (2020) ‘Air Pollution: Sonia Gandhi Shifts to Goa on Medical Advice’ https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/air-pollution-sonia-gandhi-shifts-to-goa-on-medical-advice/article33140498.ece

8. Indian Express (2021) ‘Assembly Elections 2021 Live Updates’ https://indianexpress.com/article/india/assembly-elections-2021-live-updates-west-bengal-kerala-tamil-nadu-puducherry-assam-7250933/

9. BBC News (2019) ‘Delhi Pollution- The Bar Selling Oxygen to Choking City.’ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-asia-india-50502972

10. Pai, M. et al. (2020) ‘India’s Syndemic of Tuberculosis and COVID-19’ BMJ Editorial https://gh.bmj.com/content/5/11/e003979

11. John Hopkins University CSSE Covid-19 Data (2021) https://github.com/CSSEGISandData/COVID-19

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M Porter
M Porter
15 days ago

What a brilliant article, really highlights the difference between the narrative being shown on the news and what’s actually going on, this is getting posted straight on to Twitter!👍

Manish Joshi
Manish Joshi
13 days ago
Reply to  M Porter

It’s an utterly misleading and insensitive article.

An Indian.

Marilyn Shepherd
Marilyn Shepherd
11 days ago
Reply to  Manish Joshi

Why? When 1.7 million people in INdia died from air pollution in 2019 Australia’s only response was to try and approve a coal mine built in Queensland by Adani.

Jyoti Patel
Jyoti Patel
5 days ago
Reply to  M Porter

The article misses the most important point which is that India’s annual flu season starts from April. We knew this, the WHO knew this, but everyone seems oblivious to it.

From WHO’s site regarding optimal flu shot timing, from 2016.
https://www.who.int/influenza/vaccines/tropics/vaccination_timing/en/

DavidC
DavidC
9 hours ago
Reply to  Jyoti Patel

According to the WHO flu disappeared in June 2020 and is now running at zero deaths. Hmmm.

Jyoti Patel
Jyoti Patel
5 days ago
Reply to  M Porter

The article misses the most important point which is that India’s annual flu season starts from April. We knew this, the WHO knew this, but everyone seems oblivious to it.

From WHO’s site regarding optimal flu shot timing, from 2016.
https://www.who.int/influenza/vaccines/tropics/vaccination_timing/en/

Jo Nash
Jo Nash
5 days ago
Reply to  Jyoti Patel

Thanks for this comment Jyoti. In my experience it depends which part of India you are referring to. I explained above that I usually suffered from chest infections in April/May due to the change in weather, but that was in the northern plains. When I was living in Himachal the respiratory virus season was later. I think it’s impossible to talk about India as a homogenous territory with ‘seasons’ as the land mass contains six climate zones, from alpine tundra in the north to arid desert in the west and tropical rainforest in the south. This complicates the discussion of respiratory virus seasons a great deal and suggests that a nationally co-ordinated and/or timed public health strategy is not appropriate. Even on a state by state basis, this would be difficult as many states contain different climate zones and/or micro-climates. However, I take your point about respiratory virus seasons- it’s very important- and will be sure to address this in my update.

Last edited 5 days ago by Jo Nash
Steven Brambley
Steven Brambley
15 days ago

I live in Australia but my elderly Mum lives in the UK. I’m constantly shocked and frustrated by her regular WhatsApp messages declaring such things as, ‘they’re dropping like flies in India!’ I’m annoyed not by her but by the propaganda she’s fed daily by the awful MSM in the UK. I feel like I’m living in a dystopian nightmare and my normally cognisant mother has been irreversibly brainwashed.

Manish Joshi
Manish Joshi
13 days ago

I don’t know what all messages your grandmother is getting on WhatsApp but India IS going through a Covid Crisis. It’s an utterly misleading and insensitive article.

An Indian.

asdf
asdf
2 days ago
Reply to  Manish Joshi

Being Indian does not make the article any less valid.

DavidC
DavidC
9 hours ago
Reply to  Manish Joshi

Do you not have eyes? Look at the graph in the article of the death rate compared to other countries such as the UK and USA. Using absolute numbers, India looks bad but as a RATE it’s not even close to UK and others. Even then, last year, the TOTAL deaths in the UK as a rate have only been lower from 2009 to 2019, EVERY other year since records began have had a worse death rate than 2020. To me, data and facts are more of a truth than emotion and hyperbole.

DavidC

Last edited 9 hours ago by DavidC
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Iain Strachan
Iain Strachan
15 days ago

I think it’s accepted that the actual case count is a massive underestimate due to the lack of testing. At our peak we were conducting 7-8 times as many tests as India is now, and the current test positivity rate in India is over 20% and it was never above 13% for the UK. Since you haven’t factored that into your article your comparison of the “cases” data is absolute garbage. You need to up the estimate by about a factor 10 at least.

Olski
Olski
15 days ago
Reply to  Iain Strachan

I think it’s accepted far and wide(including by the WHO) that the RT-PCR test cannot identify infection and that +ve test results are not equal to ‘cases’. You need a clinical diagnosis for an accurate assessment of number of cases. Add into to that the total unreliability of the RT-PCR test based on CT thresholds and you have a false positive maelstrom. So just because one country is testing more is irrelevant and worthless in terms of making any sort of comparison based on testing.

DocLee
DocLee
15 days ago
Reply to  Olski

So what you’re inadvertently saying is that COVID-19 is much more deadly than sites like these make it out to be. Less positive cases (because of this alleged false positive maelstrom) means that there have been more deaths per cases than have been estimated.

Can’t wait to hear your spin.

Stephen
Stephen
14 days ago
Reply to  DocLee

Covid clearly kills.

The question though is whether our interventions are mitigating it, or making it worse.

I tend to think the latter, based on evidence of different countries. At best, our interventions may be neutral in net health impact.

So, debating case numbers is intellectually interesting but I would question the relevance.

We also do not really know how it spreads, nor what triggers it. The virus itself has not been fully isolated; nor has inter human transmission been demonstrated experimentally. Despite the assertions of the public health community, it may not even be a virus that is killing people. We simply do not know. We jump to viruses as the given hypothesis because that is the axiom of modern medicine.

Good to keep ramping up the fear though, I guess. Keeps people compliant.

Marilyn Shepherd
Marilyn Shepherd
11 days ago
Reply to  Stephen

There is no such thing as covid, they called it a coronavirus virus infection disease without any specific signs or symptoms any different to any other so called corona virus which cause colds and flus all the time.

Lucky
Lucky
14 days ago
Reply to  DocLee

Implication from DocLee, that death numbers depend on our estimate of infection numbers (cases). Not so, deaths are a data number, inflated or not by biased counting. 
The graph shows a clear pattern, vaccination precedes case count by a few weeks. 

Iain Strachan
Iain Strachan
14 days ago
Reply to  Olski

I see you’re an adherent to the “false positives” delusion. It’s not difficult to prove from Bayes’s theorem that at a test positivity rate of over 20% very few of them are false. In fact at that level the PCR results are very likely to be an underestimate because False Negatives are what dominate. False positives are only a problem at very low prevalence. But when the positivity rate goes up, that is clear evidence that the prevalence is going up too.

Marilyn Shepherd
Marilyn Shepherd
11 days ago
Reply to  Iain Strachan

Really, well the UK, EU and most of the world were using them at 40-45 ct so all of them are false positives. They are not diagnosing anything at all.

Nifty
Nifty
11 days ago
Reply to  Iain Strachan

‘PCR tests are not accurate’

Marilyn Shepherd
Marilyn Shepherd
11 days ago
Reply to  Iain Strachan

The tests do not diagnose anything, they are a pointless exercise in mind control. Why is it people are so dumb

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Paul Barbara
Paul Barbara
15 days ago

Why Indians would touch Franken-jabs with a barge-pole is hard to fathom, when they have cheap effective drugs like HCQ available for pennies, and Gates’s ‘injections’ caused nearly half a million kids to get paralysed not long ago. To say nothing of this, which they are extremely unlikely to have heard about:
‘Globalist Banker Predicted Scamdemic & Genocide of The Useless’:https://www.thebernician.net/globalist-banker-predicted-scamdemic-genocide-of-the-useless/

Mike Morrison
Mike Morrison
14 days ago
Reply to  Paul Barbara

“Extremely unlikely to have heard about” because it’s just another incoherent, unqualified rant in a maelstrom of incoherent, unqualified rants Paul? Quite likely in that case. But if it fits your weird world view, doesn’t matter how many people have read it – as long as it disagrees with the opinions of hundreds of thousands of properly qualified scientists, journalists and healthcare professionals.

andrew henderson
andrew henderson
15 days ago

Interesting, when we look at the equivalent of death ratio to populations here (Britain) and to those in India! so its death ratio is actually quite low, remarkable too, when one considers the country’s terrible respiratory illness affiliations i.e. Pneumonia, etc ,and the fact that the heat is particularly bad with the added issue of the closure of vital food and medical supplies.

Marilyn Shepherd
Marilyn Shepherd
11 days ago

27,400 people or so die in India every day, every year and the west don’t give a flying fig. Currenly in Delhi it’s over 40 degrees every day and the air pollution level is hazardous.

Jake
Jake
14 days ago

Great last graphic but where can I find it on JHU?

Sue Stevenson
14 days ago

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Contextualising is everything.

I’m trying to hunt down an article that talked about how covid-19 “vaccines” can actually make someone MORE susceptible to becoming infected with c19. Can anyone help out?

Mondariz
Mondariz
14 days ago

You misread your own source. The British Medical Journal editorial states 1.4 million annual TB deaths GLOBALLY of which 450,000 occur in India. Yet, your article states: …with TB known to cause around 1.4 million deaths in the country annually.

Lockdown critics cannot afford to be callous with facts and figures.

Oscar
Oscar
13 days ago
Reply to  Mondariz

Well spotted. Probably an innocent mistake but should be corrected.

Marilyn Shepherd
Marilyn Shepherd
11 days ago
Reply to  Oscar

TB known to cause around 1.4 million death worldwide each year with around 450,000 of those deaths in India annually.

Well here is the actual sentence in the article, so what did you spot.

Lorenzo
Lorenzo
14 days ago

It seems abundantly clear that providing clean water and sanitation, not just in India but elsewhere, would save far more lives. And yet the focus is on vaccinating everyone for a virus with a 99.5% recovery rate for those under 70. This is clearly not about public health.

Paul Bayer
Paul Bayer
13 days ago

I would like to thank you for this informative article. It’s sad to see how easily people are influenced by the propaganda. One thing they show on these newscasts is the mass burning of bodies. Are they doing this because more people are dying? Or is this normal in India?

Manish Joshi
Manish Joshi
13 days ago
Reply to  Paul Bayer

Dear Paul, YES more people are dying! Things are terrible here. Please don’t fall for this article. It’s utterly misleading and insensitive.

An Indian.

Cathy
Cathy
13 days ago

AstraZeneca trialled its jab (or more accurately its device) in the UK, S Africa, Brazil & India – the exact countries where the variants have sprung up. Out of the 195 countries of the world – what are the chances? Trials were halted in UK on Sept 6th 2020 due to transverse myelitis but were authorised to restart on Sept 20th 2020. UK variant was 1st “discovered” in September 2020.
Additionally I knew the virus had HIV malaria spliced into it – a combination that would never occur naturally but I didn’t understand why. If you go to website verite-covid19.fr & watch the 3rd video down “Warning Vaccine” it explains. Obviously AIDS suppresses immune systems & the jab is going to finish them off meaning the immune systems of anyone vaccinated will not be able to fight anything off – nothing. As the video states, it’s the perfect crime against humanity.
I’m just watching Max Igan & the Depopulation Program on the Dollar Vigilante website. Max Igan has been warning us for decades. He just said that “they” fully expect a lot of people to die via these jabs & he thinks that the ones that are left will be remote-controlled like drones through 5g. He is citing a video by Dr Charles Morgan on YouTube from 2018 about the remote control of humans after injecting something into them. I’ve not looked for this video yet but it’s from 2018, Dr Charles Morgan, he’a wearing a brown suit &; there is a brown/wooden background. Definitely worth a look.

Last edited 13 days ago by Cathy
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Helen Murray
Helen Murray
11 days ago

Research shows Indians have very low vitamin D levels. This is a hormone (not actually a vitamin) that is vital for immune function. Reasons are that they do not sunbathe, they cover most of their skin, they have dark skin and diets usually low in vitamin D plus a government that has not bothered to address this issue.

Don Payne
Don Payne
9 days ago

So if Indians suffer from multiple toxins breathed into their lungs (pollutants and viruses), are they now masking up??

Don Payne
Don Payne
8 days ago

2/ Jo Nash: You’re saying that jCOVID-19 death rates per capita in India are much lower than in the UK, and that increased vaccination in India is correlated with increased COVID-19 cases and deaths there. But India’s vaccination rate is much lower than in the UK:
India:
doses / 100 population = 11.3
% vaccinated = 9.3%
% fully vaccinated = 2.0%
UK:
doses / 100 population = 74.6
% vaccinated = 51.7%
% fully vaccinated = 22.9%
(from Financial Times, as of May 3 2021, https://ig.ft.com/coronavirus-vaccine-tracker/?areas=gbr&areas=isr&areas=usa&areas=eue&cumulative=1&populationAdjusted=1 )
If the vaccine itself were killing people, wouldn’t it be killing even a larger proportion in UK (and in Israel, U.S., South Africa, etc.)?

Last edited 8 days ago by Don Payne
Don Payne
Don Payne
8 days ago
Reply to  Don Payne

typo: jCOVID-19 > COVID-19

Jo Nash
Jo Nash
7 days ago
Reply to  Don Payne

Thank you for your comment. I didn’t say the vaccines were killing people… merely presented a graphic indicating the vaccine roll out coincided with an upsurge in C-19 deaths. There are many reasons why vaccination may correlate with increased respiratory tract infections- including some data suggesting the jab suppresses immune function for a number of days after administration. You may wish to consult the UK Column for more information about this. There is widespread resistance to this vaccination in India and there are many anecdotal reports of adverse effects on the ground, and deaths within a few days of vaccination that are attributed to other causes, such as heart attacks. Air pollution in Delhi tends to spike during different seasons and atmospheric conditions. Pollution levels are not constant. My article presents data extracted from the databases on the day it was written and these graphics change daily. My conclusion is that a combination of factors are leading to an upsurge in respiratory problems and deaths in Delhi. I will write an update this weekend, as I speak to people there everyday. This is a rapidly evolving, complex and dynamic situation so this article is now out of date, to be frank.

Last edited 7 days ago by Jo Nash
Don Payne
Don Payne
8 days ago

3/ Jo Nash: if the deaths are caused by just the dirty air in Delhi, why the spike all of a sudden? (Can’t find historical data on deaths in India — see https://ourworldindata.org/excess-mortality-covid)

Don Payne
Don Payne
8 days ago

5/ Jo Nash: death reports in India historically cover only ~50-74% of actual deaths (https://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic-social/crvs/#coverage); and during a surge in deaths, the reporting rate is likely to be even lower or at least more delayed, as happened even in the U.S. during this pandemic.
“On April 30, West Bengal announced that 105 COVID-19 positive patients had died, but did not count 72 of them as they died due to comorbidities. On May 18, the Delhi government asked its hospitals not to take samples of dead people to test for COVID-19. Also, while the Delhi government’s official COVID-19 death toll was 68 until May 8, the number of such deaths in just two hospitals in the city that The Hindu accessed was 107. These COVID-19-specific stories along with the fact that India medically certifies only 22% of deaths (as of 2017) suggest that India may be undercounting its dead.” (https://www.thehindu.com/data/data-is-india-undercounting-its-covid-19-deaths/article31628155.ece )

Last edited 8 days ago by Don Payne
CiviliI
CiviliI
6 days ago

WELL RESEARCHED ARTICLE REVEALING THE FACTS AND TRUTH ABOUT ALL THAT IS HAPPENING IN INDIA – AND FURTHER BEING OBFUSCATED BY NATIONAL AND GLOBAL MEDIA, FOR A MUCH BIGGER AGENDA PLAYING OUT ON INDIAN SOIL. SHARE THIS ARTICLE WIDELY TO COUNTER THE MEDIASPIN OF LIES BEING PUMPED OUT ABOUT INDIA TO THE WORLD AND TO ITSELF.

INDIANS: “OUR GOV IS CORRUPT/INEPT, THIEVES, CRIMINALS … BUT WE TRUST THEM COMPLETELY WITH OUR HEALTH AND VACCINES”… I MEAN … ???

IndianInIndia

Jo Nash
Jo Nash
6 days ago
Reply to  CiviliI

Thank you for your comment. I will be posting an update to this article shortly based on interviews with people in India and food supply issues due to lockdown restrictions. I hope that you have signed up to the newsletter so that you can recieve our news.

George
George
6 days ago

Wearing a dust mask may have protected you from the larger toxic particles, but even the package insert on those masks tells you that they do NOT protect you from the harmful effects of living in a polluted environment.

And did you ever consider that perhaps Indians are falling sick BECAUSE of masking? Masking can result in hypoxic injuries, pneumonia, CO2 poisoning, dizziness, and other health problems.

Jo Nash
Jo Nash
6 days ago
Reply to  George

I used a mask when living there to keep the great clouds of highly visible dust out of my airways during dry seasons when walking along the road, not at any other time. This was pre-Covid. It helped me avoid repeat bacterial chest infections. The locals have a greater resistance to the dust. My contacts in rural India do not wear masks. I agree that masks create a humid barrier where bacteria flourish that may then be inhaled and cause respiratory problems. At no point in my article do I suggest mandated masking to prevent viral transmission.

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[…] [vi]    India’s Current ‘COVID Crisis’ in Context – Left Lockdown Sceptics […]

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