Chapter 1 Vol I of the Economic Survey 2020-2021 details out the response of India to the Covid pandemic and this article is based on that study.

Wuhan coronavirus and the resultant Covid-19 pandemic because of the failures, criminal negligence and ineptitude of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) presented the whole world with an unprecedented once in a century challenge. This pandemic has claimed over 22,77,590 lives as of writing this article. Obviously, this figure is much higher as China has blatantly lied about its death figures and there are some countries like Pakistan who have just given up on testing and diagnosing Covid patients long back and hence the Covid related deaths aren’t even recorded in such corrupt nations.
For example, look at the graph below.

The lying China.
Graph generated via

The pandemic originated in Wuhan most probably in November 2019. Let’s assume CCP had no prior knowledge of the pandemic, they lacked know-how and details of its spread, threats, mortality rates and other indicators in the beginning. Now a country that was hit first. Had no prior know-how in dealing with the pandemic, is the most populous country on the planet and it still managed to control it’s death toll to mere 4821 while much developed advanced nation of the East Asia Japan with a much smaller population and world-class health infrastructure still lost over 6000 lives. Look again at the graph. The Chinese curve is the curve of a cheat and a liar. It’s so obvious. Either that or the CCP planted this virus as a form of bio-warfare. In either case, CCP is liable for millions of deaths and trillions of dollars lost in this pandemic. And the world should grab CCP by its neck to pay for these losses.

Coming to India, as the Economic Survey explains India’s unique vulnerabilities to the pandemic. “First, as the pace of spread of a pandemic depends upon network effects, a huge population inherently enables a higher pace of spread. Second, as the pandemic spreads via human contact, high population density, especially at the bottom of the pyramid, innately aids the spread of the pandemic at its onset. Third, although the average age is low, India’s vulnerable elderly population, in absolute numbers, exceeds significantly that of other countries. Finally, an overburdened health infrastructure exposed the country to a humongous supply-demand mismatch that could have severely exacerbated fatalities. In fact, assessments of crores of cases and several thousands of deaths by several international institutes in March and April possibly reflected the concerns stemming from such vulnerabilities.” But at the same time, Economic Survey has proved emphatically that “it is evident that India was successful in flattening the pandemic curve, pushing the peak to September. India managed to save millions of ‘lives’ and outperform pessimistic expectations in terms of cases and deaths. It is the only country other than Argentina that has not experienced a second wave. It has among the lowest fatality rates despite having the second-largest number of confirmed cases. The recovery rate has been almost 96 per cent. India, therefore, seems to have managed the health aspect of COVID-19 well.” This article will prove this conclusion.

The possibilities of losing over a million Indian lives was very real. The fact that India hardly had the testing capacity, PPE, mask, ventilator manufacturing ecosystem only aggravated these fears. This was an unprecedented challenge in the history of independent India. And despite such an unprecedented challenge, when we look back, it doesn’t feel like that big of a challenge. Yes, we have lost over 1.5 lakh Indians, many lost their livelihoods but still, things are comparatively much better in India (could have been much worse) and it would be apt to say that India sailed through this Tsunami. And for this, the leadership of Narendra Modi and the proactive measures of Indian government deserves all the applause they are getting for effectively handling this pandemic. Many state governments (particularly UP given its huge population) also played their parts. However, there were a few bad performers (particularly Maharashtra, Delhi).

Looking back, Prime Minister Modi’s junta curfew and his announcement of the world’s strictest lockdown at an early stage when India had just 500 cases proved to be extremely critical. It first helped in reducing the initial spread. This gave ample time to ramp up testing infrastructure, manufacturing of PPE kits, masks, ventilators and other health equipment. But most importantly, it helped in driving the message to the Indians the importance of social distancing, hygiene and the real threat of the virus. And there was no better man to drive this message than Prime Minister himself. And the act of banging thalis, utensils, ghantis as well as lighting diyas, candles were exactly the kind of gestures India needed to get united and change their chaotic behaviours. And Indians changed their behaviours for good in such a short time!

Modi ji’s strong messaging was the key in driving home the real threat of virus and the changes in behaviors necessary for masses to adapt to contain the pandemic
CM Yogi showing solidarity with health workers

Now, let’s understand India’s Covid response with some graphs.

While it took 91 days to test 1st 0.5 crore people, testing was ramped up and India was testing one crore Indians in just 8-10 days. Again emphasizing the importance of delaying the initial spread as it gave time to ramp up testing infrastructure.
India imposed the most strict lockdown in the world at an early stage and that proved to be crucial
Management of COVID-19 across Countries (Measured as Actual Cases vis-à-vis
Naturally Expected). India had 37.1 lakh cases lesser than expected!
Management of COVID-19 across Countries (Measured as Actual Deaths vis-à-vis
Naturally Expected). Even by conservative estimates, India has 1 lakh lesser deaths than expected by now. By far the best performing nation in the world in this metric. Pakistan and Bangladesh are also in the list but their testing particularly of Pakistan is at laughable levels and hence identification and tabulation of covid deaths in large scales are most probably missing.
From Economic Survey Ch 1, Vol I: The model shows that Maharashtra has performed the worst in number of cases and deaths. In terms of estimated cases, Survey compares Maharashtra with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar; as seen in the top-left panel of figure, these three States have the most population with Bihar and Maharashtra having almost identical population. But Maharashtra has a lower population density than both Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Yet, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have much lower cases than what is naturally expected while Maharashtra had much higher cases. In fact, highly populous, densely populated States like Uttar Pradesh (with a density of 690 persons per square km) and Bihar (with a density of 881 persons per square km) – as against the national average of population density of 382 persons per square km – have managed the pandemic well.
While most countries have been unable to cope with unlocking and pandemic at the same time, India on the other hand is a success story where it has managed to keep its cases in check despite unlocking its economy.
Daily Covid Cases and Mobility (Left). Recovery Rate vs Fatality Rate (Right)
Left shows that despite unlocking, the cases have been fairly in check and India has not yet suffered the dreaded second wave. Right shows the consistent fall in fatality rate and consistent rise in recovery rate, a hallmark of a well-handled pandemic.
(Left) Days to Reach Next 10 lakh Confirmed Cases in India. (Right) Peaking Time of COVID-19 in Top Countries. India managed to slow down the initial spread and the addition of new cases were subsequently gradual and fairly manageable for the most part (except in states like Delhi, Maharashtra for few periods). Right figure shows how well delayed the first peak in India as compared to other countries and how India has so far evaded the second wave. India successfully flattened the pandemic curve. This gave crucial time, resources to effectively manage the patients and save lakhs of lives.
Second wave in the countries have been more lethal. UK, US are struggling again. Hence, it’s important for India to remain vigilant and carry forward the vaccination drive with full strength.
(Left) Covid deaths per lakh population. (Right) Mortality rate. Again, obvious that India performed way better than many of the so-called advanced countries in the world. Economic survey observes that India’s strategy of imposition of a stringent lockdown in the initial stages to control the spread
and focus on ramping up testing infrastructure and health facilities are validated by this analysis. The
lockdown, therefore, was a critical instrument in “flattening the curve” and saving lives.

India has already saved lakhs of lives from Chinese originated Covid pandemic. But that’s not all. India has to continue to be vigilant and avoid the second wave at all costs. As shown above and as you might have heard in the news that countries like the US, the UK and even many South-East Asian countries are now struggling with the second wave. A second wave for India would be a big blow to our economic recovery which is expected a V-shaped recovery. That means India’s vaccination drive becomes all the more important. India’s vaccine manufacturing capacity is the best in the world. Both in terms of quality and cost. India’s Vaccine Maitri i.e Vaccine diplomacy is a huge success and India is helping the world in recovering from this dreadful pandemic which reminding you again spread due to criminal negligence of CCP (Chinese Communist Party) and WHO (World Health Organization).

And the best of the lot

India is saving millions of lives not only of its own citizens but also of people around the world. Because we practice what we believe which is Vasudhev Kutumbakam.

DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.