Bihar: Fight Against COVID Takes Backseat, Polls At Top Priority 

Number of deaths in Bihar increase from 67 to 187 in just 20 days. Elections given importance above everything else.

3 min read

Video Editor: Ashutosh Bharadwaj

Are elections the ultimate truth and is everything else just an illusion? Corona may come and go, but is politics the prime story?

Coronavirus is spreading rampantly in Bihar. From politicians involved in the upcoming elections to the administrators, many have now been infected with the virus. Till 20 July 2020, the number of positive cases rounded off close to 27,500. The situation is so grim that patients are waiting on footpaths outside hospitals to be attended to. At some places, fake reports are being given without conducting COVID-19 tests. The state’s testing speed is extremely low.

Amidst the chaos during the pandemic, when the testing procedures are highly flawed and the hospital conditions keep deteriorating, if politicians forgo social distancing norms and gather for political meetings, digital rallies and come together in street corners to ask for votes, the public will certainly ask - janab, aise kaise?

Bihar is suffering from its decision of not taking the impact of coronavirus seriously. The coronavirus took over India almost four months ago. There was no shortage of time to prepare for battle against the virus. However, even after four months, our defence against COVID-19 is in poor shape.

On 30 June, there were 10,000 coronavirus cases in Bihar. On 20 June, this number rose almost to 27,000. This is equivalent to a 170% increase in the number of cases within just 20 days.

Let us take a look at the statistics of active cases. On 30 June, there were about 2,132 active cases in Bihar which rose to about 9,732 on 20 July. A five-fold increase is observed here.

A Poor Recovery Rate in Bihar

Let's take a look at the recovery rate that the Bihar government had been boasting about. On 30 June, the recovery rate of the state stood at 77% which dropped to 63% on 20 July.

Till 1 July this year, 67 people died because of coronavirus in Bihar. On 20 July, 187 people died because of coronavirus. The number of deaths more than doubled in just 20 days.

Bihar Among States With Lowest Testing Rates

These numbers might seem far less in comparison to Delhi or Maharashtra. Here is the reason behind the fewer number of cases. With a population of more than 12 crore, Bihar conducted only 3,88,000 tests as of 20 July 2020. That is, only 300 people per lakh are being tested in Bihar. While Delhi, with a population of about 3 crore, has conducted more than 8 lakh tests.

In Delhi, more than 4,300 people per lakh are being tested. This number is more than 10 times that of Bihar. Populations of Mahrashtra and Bihar are almost equal, but more than 15 lakh tests have been conducted in Maharashtra. Bihar is one of the poorest performing states when it comes to conducting COVID-19 tests.
“The central and the state governments are working very hard to control the spread of coronavirus. We are working towards the goal of taking 20 thousand samples daily.”
Deputy CM of Bihar, Sushil Modi
This was just about testing. If we take a look at the situation in the hospitals, the reality would appear even more horrific.
The Bihar government’s former under secretary of Home Department Umesh Rajak was made to wait for hours on the footpath outside AIIMS Patna to get admission.
Hospitals in Bihar are flooded with rain water.

In Rohtas, a mother and her son were declared corona positive even though their samples were not collected.

In Katihar, people received messages of testing negative on their mobiles just based on their registration and without any tests being conducted.

If you sit down to write about Bihar's failing healthcare system you would fall short of pages.

But amidst everything, the main question is whether the Bihar government has taken its people for granted. When the world was getting ready to combat the coronavirus, were these political parties preparing just for the elections?

Another phase of lockdown has been declared in Bihar, but why did it come down to this? Why is Bihar’s testing rate so low?

If our netas focus fully on polls and put the fight against coronavirus on the back burner, people are bound to ask...Janab, Aise Kaise?

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