Sunday View: The Best Weekend Opinion Reads, Curated Just For You

We sifted through the papers to find the best opinion reads, so you wouldn’t have to.

6 min read
The best opinion pieces from across newspapers this Sunday, curated just for you.   

From Crisis to Catastrophe

In his weekly column for The Indian Express, Congress leader P Chidambaram criticizes the Central government for its handling of the pandemic.

In the backdrop of India readying itself to vaccinate those between the age of 18 and 44, the former Finance and Home Minister goes on to list the failures of the government, while suggesting the way forward to keep the crisis from turning into a catastrophe.

“Thanks to the incompetence of the Central government, the boast of “India is the pharmacy of the world” has vanished and, instead, we are pleading for supplies from other countries and other manufacturers who have limited quantities of vaccines to supply to India. The ultimate humiliation will be when we accept China’s offer to supply Sinopharm and other China-made vaccines. Remember, the Central government held off for several weeks Dr Reddy’s Laboratories that was ready to start the trials of the Russian vaccine, Sputnik V. Recall also that the DCGI declined emergency use approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine that had won approval from several acknowledged regulators and was in use in the US, UK, and Europe!”
P Chidambaram in The Indian Express.

Tell us The Truth

Author and journalist Tavleen Singh, in her column for The Indian Express, places sharp focus on the lies peddled by various Indian ministers in the middle of a raging pandemic.

Maintaining that she does not care for state election results due today, Singh feels that if PM Modi wants redemption, he must “accept that mistakes were made and commit to not making them anymore.”

“The one thing we do not need in this awful time is for political leaders to start telling lies. We need the truth. What we are getting are lies. The first big lie came from Yogi Adityanath who declared that there was no shortage of oxygen, beds or drugs in hospitals or Covid centres in his state. He warned that stern action would be taken against those ‘spreading rumours’ about shortages. This is no empty threat. Journalists have been jailed for telling the truth in Uttar Pradesh. This time it will not be easy for Yogi to jail journalists for telling the truth because it is manifest in the pyres that burn night and day, in people begging for beds in hospitals and in those who die outside hospital gates.”
Tavleen Singh in The Indian Express.

In This Hour of COVID Crisis, Let Science Talk

In his piece for The Indian Express, Dr. Shashank R Joshi, a member of the Maharashtra COVID-19 Task Force, says our attempt right now must be to rewire our “fragile and overburdened” healthcare system to ensure we can mitigate the crisis.

“We need to urgently stratify India in red zones of urgency which need medical attention, and save every life by ensuring that every case is assessed by a doctor. Based on that medical input, we need to triage or transfer or start home-based care without any delay, and ensure every case is connected to the medical healthcare provider digitally, 24/7. Cases which have a potential to deteriorate based on patient’s age, co-morbidities, persistent fever or cough or, most vitally, oxygen saturation dropping below 3% after a 6-minute walk, or below 93, must be shifted to a care facility, like the Mumbai war-room model.”
Dr. Shashank R Joshi in The Indian Express.

COVID: It Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better

Writing for the Hindustan Times, Dr Ashish K Jha lists out four things that India must do to become a 21st-century healthcare system.

He says that the infection can be limited by wearing masks, setting-up field hospitals with the necessary equipment, increasing vaccination and an aggressive tracking of how the virus is mutating itself.

“May is going to be horrible in India. June is going to be hard. If we take the steps outlined here, we are going to see real progress in June, and, by July, things may be meaningfully better. But if we do these things in a half-hearted manner now, the nightmare that India is living through now will last longer.”
Dr Ashish K Jha in the Hindustan Times.

The Wretchedest April of All

Looking at the emotional cost of the ongoing second wave of COVID-19, Leher Kala writes about how the lives of ordinary people in India have been wrecked.

In her column in The Indian Express, she writes about trauma and the sinking feeling when one sees a friend, relative or another citizen gasp for air.

“It has been a horrifying April. At the outset, a big salaam to the ordinary Delhiite, who, over the last fourteen days has spent an inordinate amount of time calling random numbers, trying to organise hospital beds and plasma for strangers, often, at great risk to themselves. We are not heroes. We are desperate. We have been abandoned. We awake to messages of cries for help, and we sleep to news of bereavements. For all the snide jokes on how everyone has become a WhatsApp epidemiologist, it’s those of us who have experienced Covid either ourselves or via a family member, who have doubled up as doctors at this time. Because the real doctors, overwhelmed by a relentless barrage of patients, respond 20 hours late.”
Leher Kala in The Indian Express.

5 Things Vaccine Drive Needs To Get Right to Tackle This Wave, and Next

Dr. Chandrakant Lahiriya, in his column for The Times of India, says it is absolutely important for India to get its vaccination strategy right for better preparedness when the impending third wave of COVID-19 hits the country,

“The Centre should immediately increase the recommended gap between two jabs of Covishield to 12 weeks. There is enough scientific evidence that a longer gap results in higher efficacy and many countries have already followed this strategy. Alongside that, people in all age groups with RT-PCR confirmed Covid infection in the last six months and those who got infected after the first jab can consider delaying vaccination. These steps will free up a few million doses for those waiting for their first shot and help buy time as manufacturing capacity and supplies increases.”
Dr. Chandrakant Lahiriya in The Times of India.

Bengal Has Shown How Dispensable Ideology Is

With the results of four state elections expected today, including the most talked-about one in West Bengal, political analyst Sajjan Kumar writes about the ‘closely contested’ Battle of Bengal 2021.

In his column for The Times of India, Kumar writes about the extreme malleability of ideology.

“The Left aligned with a rabble rouser Muslim cleric without any sense of guilt. The BJP embraced the rank and file of the Left and the top leaders of the Trinamool with enthusiasm. The Trinamool didn’t hesitate in invoking regional parochialism as well as competing with the BJP on the Hindutva pitch.Similarly, a significant section of the regional intellectual cultural elite of Bengal abandoned its love for the Left and shifted either to the Trinamool or the BJP. In so doing, they peddled the outlooks of these two parties quite enthusiastically —– a phenomenon that clearly reveals the subservience of lofty ideology to sectional interests.”
Sajjan Kumar in The Times of India.

The Second Wave Will Change Us, Forever

In his column for Hindustan Times, Karan Thapar says that while he believes that India will emerge at the other end of this pandemic, “some we love deeply will fall.”

“I guess what I’m really saying — and it’s taken me a while to realise it — is that we’re learning to live with the possibility of dying. Not just me. I’m pretty sure that’s true of many of us. So far it’s been a distant, if not just a theoretical, prospect. One that we all know we must eventually face. But, suddenly, that day seems uncomfortably closer. Who knows how far off it actually is? Who really knows?”
Karan Thapar in the Hindustan Times.

Desi Nostradamus Is Wrong. The Zombies Are Already Here

Speaking about the unimaginable crisis the pandemic has brought along with it, writer and filmmaker Tahira Kashyap Khurana, in her column for The Times of India, says that kindness is rare, but the only way to happiness.

“But in my opinion, this crisis has already turned us into zombies. Zombies lying outside hospitals crying for a bed. Zombies going crazy trying to arrange for oxygen. Zombies seeing their loved ones die in front of them but unable to find time to cry because another one is still battling in the ICU and they still have to arrange doses of Fabiflu. Then there is another category of zombies selling medicines in the black market, scamming people desperate for oxygen and life-saving drugs, hoarding Remdesivir without being infected and trolling people who have lost loved ones.”
Tahira Kashyap Khurana in The Times of India.

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