Effects of COVID-19- India vs the US

Effects of COVID-19- India vs the US

By Rileena Sanyal

The first patient of COVID-19, a 55-year old person, was diagnosed on the 17th of November 2019[1], seven months before it was fated to have affected millions across the world. Originating in Wuhan, China, the Corona virus took it's time to lay it's paws down on more than 188 countries around the planet. As cases surged in China, the disease creeped into various other parts of the world and was finally declared a pandemic by the WHO on 11th March, 2020[2]. 

Although China and Italy were the worst affected regions during the first few months, the positions have now been raided by the USA, Brazil, and India- in that chronological order. 

Effects of COVID-19 on India and the US
The United States of America recorded 3.78 million cases as on 19th July, 2020[3]; India is not too far behind with 1.08 million[4]. Needless to say, COVID-19 is raging through the streets of both the countries like a mad bull in Spanish bull fights. 

India and the US had their own personal issues before the pandemic started. But now, all of what was quietly hidden under the table has been exposed to the common eyes. 

1. Healthcare: Healthcare has been a drudge both in India and the US. For years, India has had a dwindling healthcare system that the Central and the State Governments did not care to develop. Now, with fewer nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals[5], hospitals- especially the ones run by the Government, do not have enough resources to handle the pandemic. The private ones are a different matter, however. They are charging exorbitant amounts and there seems to be no mercy for anyone- even the patients that, unfortunately, don't make it. 
The US, too, had been depending on a perishing healthcare system for years. With bills rising to $4000 for a person with insurance[6], it gets scarier for the citizens and migrants who do not hold an insurance card as they are being charged as high as $30,000[7], irrespective of whether or not they survive. 

2. Economy: Economy, in both India and the US, has tumbled down due to the outbreak of COVID-19. The US, the largest economy of the world, has faced a 4.8% downfall due to the pandemic lockdown, marking the end of six years of economic growth[8]. The Government, however, spent $3tn[9] to cushion the blow, hoping to revive whatever little they can. 
India, on the other hand, had a crumbling economy before the pandemic started. With the infamous Virus prowling around, Indian Economy is close to unprecedented downfall that is estimated to contract by 40% in GDP in Q1 FY21, by the State Bank of India[10]. 
Unemployment in both the countries has reached its peak, with numbers rising to 27.11% in India[11] and 14.7% in the US[12]. 

3. Education: One of the most hard hit global sections in the pandemic scenario, has been Education. India and the US, former being the cultivator of premium brains and latter being the consumer of the same, have been in a fix over their education policies. India began cancelling board(class 10 and 12) examinations[13] while still facing indetermination in case of higher education[14], thus endangering the careers of lacs of students. 
The US, on the other hand, has adopted controversial methods to deal with education. Universities had switched to online classes earlier this year, after shutting their gates to offline education and thus disrupting a unique cultural ecosystem within their campuses. Recently, the Government decided to cancel a large number of student visas[15], thus jeopardizing the careers of millions of migrating students and their own economy since international pupils pay manifolds for an education in the US. 

4. Politics: Trump, the American President infamous for his comments on social media, is currently under mass criticism for his unwarranted opinions on the present situation. A few months back, he said, ["...if WHO] does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days, I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the World Health Organization permanent and reconsider our membership in the organization"[16], with respect to China- the country rumoured to have intentionally unleashed the pathogen upon the world. Later though, he was found blaming the previous President, Barack Hussain Obama[17], who was largely popular among the Americans, for the outbreak. Trump said, "No, I don't take responsibility at all. Because we were given a — a set of circumstances, and we were given rules, regulations and specifications from a different time. It wasn't meant for this kind of — an event with the kind of numbers that we're talking about." With the Presidential Elections due in November, only time will tell what happens next. 
India, on the other hand, has been witnessing controversies surrounding funds, relief, healthcare, education, and almost every other thing with respect to politics. The Modi Government had been labelled as Fascist[18] before the COVID-19 outbreak and that reputation has only been consolidated by the various policies undertaken by the government during the lockdown period. 
However, international relations have been a rocking boat for both the countries. Although Trump blackmailed Modi to send them a huge consignment of Hydroxychloroquine[19]- the drug that was speculated to cure COVID-19 patients, their relationship never appeared strained to the common eye. With China, however, both the countries have faced a tough tussle, with India going to war against them for a brief period[20]. 

The outbreak of the pandemic has shed light on many aspects of the Indian and the American societies. While we don't know when order shall be restored in both the countries, we can only hope for the shortcomings to be mended by the respective governments, although this might as well be wishful thinking on our part. 

[1] Jeanna, Bryner. (2020, March 14). 1st known case of coronavirus traced back to November in China. Live Science. 

[2] BBC News. (2020, March 11). Coronavirus confirmed as pandemic by World Health Organization. 

[3]-[4] The Hindu. (2020, July 19). Coronavirus India lockdown Day 117 updates. 

[5] The Economic Times. (2020, April 14). Coronavirus impact on healthcare sector. 

[6]- [7] Dylan, Scott. (2020, April 22). How the Covid-19 pandemic will leave its mark on US health care. Vox. 

[8]-[9] BBC News. (2020, April 29). Coronavirus: US economy shrinks at fastest rate since 2008. 

[10] The Economic Times. (2020, May 27). Economy may contract by over 40% in Q1: SBI Research 

[11] The Economic Times. (2020, May 5). India’s unemployment rate rises to 27.11% amid COVID-19 crisis: CMIE. 

[12] The Hindustan Times. (2020, May 21). Nearly 39 million Americans unemployed since Covid-19 hit US. 

[13]-[14] Kritika, Sharma. (2020, April 16). In India, over 32 crore students hit by Covid-19 as schools and colleges are shut: UNESCO. The Print. 

[15] Nayanima, Basu. (2020, July 7). ‘Surprised’ at US asking foreign students to leave, India could raise visa issue in talks today. The Print. 

[16] A, P. (2020, May 30). Trump cuts WHO funding as US economy clouds speedy recovery. The Economic Times. 

[17] Christina, Wilkie. (2020, March 13). Trump blames Obama for lack of coronavirus tests: 'I don't take responsibility at all'. CNBC. 

[18] Ranjoni, Banerji. (2020, January 20). Modi govt has unleashed the might and breadth of its fascist vision on India. National Herald. 

[19] The Economic Times. (2020, April 7). Donald Trump talks of ‘retaliation’ if India turns down Covid drug request. 

[20] Chidanand, Rajghatta. (2020, July 21). Gunboat Diplomacy: In '71, the United States Tried to Threaten India, Now it's Backing it. The Economic Times.