D For Deaths, O For Oxygen: A to Z of India’s 2nd COVID-19 Surge

C stands for Cremations, which India is seeing not only in crematoriums but also on footpaths. 

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Yeh Jo India Hai Na… yahan A to Z.. COVID ke second wave ne hamari life badal di hai! So, let’s look at the A to Z of COVID today.

A is for Adar Poonawala, boss of the world’s biggest vaccine producing company! But Adar Poonawala got no ‘aadar’ from India’s politicians, no financial support to up his production capacity. Instead he got only pressure, demands, and dhamkis (threats). So ‘darr’ ke maare (out of fear), Adar flew off to England. He is now Adar Londonwala.

B is for B.1.617 — the Indian double mutant strain, which was discovered on 5 October 2020 but the government didn’t have Rs 115 crore that was needed to research about B.1.617 properly, and so B.1.617 became the main cause of the second COVID surge!


C is for mass Cremation taking place daily at India’s shamshaan ghaats, on footpaths, and on grounds beside shamshaan ghats. C is also for Central Vista project where cremation or no cremation, all deadlines are being met. C is for Covishield and Covaxin, both of which are in short supply. C is for Cylinder, oxygen ka, also in short supply. C is also for Chamarajanagar in Karnataka, where oxygen shortage led to 24 cremations!

D is for Death toll. We now have 2.5 lakh citizens dead, 150 dying every hour for the last two weeks. Nearly 4,000 killed every day. Do you know how many COVID deaths Vietnam has seen in 15 months? Just 35! D is also for the PM saying Didi O, Didi! Clearly, beating Didi was more important than beating COVID. And yet, the Modi Sarkar lost to both. To Didi and to COVID!

E is for the Election Commission of India, which permitted super-spreader election rallies! The EC should have banned public rallies but didn’t have the sensitivity nor the spine to do the right thing.

F is for Fake News. From putting lemon juice in your nose to cure corona, to 5G testing causing the second wave, to burning cow dung to producing oxygen at home — they are all fake news. Don’t fall for it!

G is for Genome sequencing, that’s needed at a huge scale for viral research, which we in India have not prioritised. In India, we don’t empower our scientists, we don’t fund them and we don’t listen to them as much as we should.

H should be for Harshvardhan and the Health Ministry. But as we struggle to deal with COVID, H now stands for High Courts — Allahabad HC, Karnataka HC, Bombay HC, Madras HC, Kolkata HC, Patna HC, Hyderabad HC, and Ahmedabad HC, who have all taken Central and state governments to task over COVID-19, in fact, doing more than India’s Supreme Court.

I is for ICU beds and the desperate social media messages requesting for ICU beds. I is also for IPL, which started tone-deaf, as IPL’s biggest stars and BCCI pretended COVID wasn’t there and then, just as they started their social messaging… their bio-bubble got breached… and the IPL sadly, sank.

J is for a Jab of the vaccine. Jab hai to jaan hai, Jaan hai to Jahan hai. If you are eligible, please get your Jab now

K is for Kumbh Mela and Kangana. One is a super-spreader of corona while the other is a super-spreader of hate. Kumbh and Kangana were both banned, but in both cases, long after the damage was done! K is also for Kabristan, even the four extra acres of land allotted to them in Delhi’s biggest Kabristan are now full!

L is for Lockdown, which 12 months later, is back in our lives again! L is also for ‘Log hi Log’ and how this over-crowding led to this over-crowding.


M is for Murder, the word used by the Madras High Court to describe COVID deaths due to man-made shortages. The Supreme Court called it harsh but did not disagree.

N is for the N95 mask that can truly be a life-saver today. Even double masking, so please do double-mask, it is life-saving.

O is for Oxygen and its shortage. Shortage of oxygen plants, oxygen tankers, oxygen cylinders led to this. In Delhi alone, 25 dead in Gangaram Hospital, 12 dead in Batra Hospital, 25 in Delhi’s Jaipur Golden Hospital, almost 40 percent of India’s known oxygen shortage deaths have happened in Delhi, the nation’s capital!

P is for the PM CARES Fund that has collected thousands of crores as donations for use in COVID emergencies. But how’s the money being used? We don’t know because PM CARES is run by the Prime Minister’s Office but does not answer RTI queries. The Quint did a story on 6,300 Ventilators funded by PM CARES more than 1 year ago, still not delivered! Why? PM CARES refuses to answer.

Q is for Quarantine, thanks to the second surge, the entire nation is in quarantine, as several countries have placed travel bans on India. From Sri Lanka to New Zealand, Australia, England, to UAE, nobody wants people from the world’s new COVID capital!

R is for Remdesivir, the drug that is of limited use against COVID but which lakhs are buying in black for thousands of rupees. Just like the black market for oxygen cylinders, for hiring ambulances and for booking an ICU bed.

S is for Surge, for Second Wave, for Super-Spreader; words that define our lives today.

T is for Tirath Singh Rawat, who famously said that the waters of the Ganges will protect the lakhs of devotees attending the Kumbh Mela. The Uttarakhand CM has gone silent now. But he still has his job. Clearly, the BJP believes that Rawat said and did nothing wrong.

U is for Under-reporting, even as active cases and deaths break world records, reliable news reports show how government records of deaths are much lower than the actual number of COVID cremations taking place. Just another example of a government in denial.

V is, of course, for Vaccination! Vaccination is the only solution that can truly save us. Vaccinations, that India doesn’t have enough of, is because we didn’t raise our vaccine production capacity all of last year, because we didn’t pre-book vaccinations from other producers last year, because of which instead of vaccinating more, we are now vaccinating fewer people each day! V is also for Vikas or economic progress, that will remain on the Ventilator for a long time now.

W is for Warnings about the second wave that were many, but were ignored.

X is for X-rays — a less used but reliable way to determine COVID-19 infection. As COVID travels to rural India, where testing and CT scans may be tough, X-rays are a solution.

Y is for Yogi Adityanath, the Chief Minister whose solution to fight oxygen shortage is to jail anyone who talks about it, and to seize their property.

Z is for ZZZ — the sound made by a government that’s fast asleep…

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