Political Leaders' Irrational Response

to Novel Coronavirus ...

... is a Reflection of the Society We Live In

We are the reason our political leaders are thoughtless. The reason why America is placing economy above importance of life or why India is doing the vice-versa is a mirror to the general public’s beliefs.

COVID-19 vaccine is under its way. A person with a decent sense of reason and working of human body will rejoice in this fact. However, there has emerged a library of people who are choosing not to opt for the vaccine, when available.

There can be two possible explanations for this decision. Either the concept of cure through vaccine is lost on them, or they haven’t understood the repercussions. Both the scenarios look downright foolish to reach a conclusion to not opt for the vaccine. In other words, there can be no possible explanation to backup this insensibility.

Right now, we are facing the wrath of a pandemic. Coronavirus has put every political leader on its toes, and in this frenzy, leaders are trying every option available that could pass as a solution. Some are more thoughtful than others, whereas some are downright questionable as to what was the leader even thinking. For instance, US president’s opinion to inject disinfectant or BJP leaders’ remarks on using cow urine as a possible cure.

We are the reason our political leaders are stupid. Amid the coronavirus responses, the degree of response by every country’s leader depicts what their public values the most. The reason why America is placing economy above importance of life or why India is doing the vice-versa is a mirror to the general public’s beliefs.

Leaders around the world

The US president has been in denial from day one. Concluding COVID-19 seriousness to a seasonal flu, Trump has opposed the idea of a nationwide lockdown from the start. Issuing statements like, “America was not built to be shut down” or “business should continue” insinuates the leader’s priority of economy to importance of lives. This mindset also aligns with the tagline of the country “of living the American Dream.” In US a common folk can dream of a living having a car, a home and all the worldly riches, when they place business above all. There is a consistent want of a glorious future, perhaps minus the people.

The denial was evidently visible in masses. College-going Americans continued to gather on beaches, or to travel to different countries in spite of government warnings. “Will travel now because its cheap,” are the words of a carefree young American, who ditched social responsibility in exchange for inexpensive flight tickets.

In UK the scene had taken a different turn altogether. When Boris Johnson suggested ‘herd immunity’ as a solution and demanded it to be put in effect immediately, the whole UK public including epidemiologists and virologists were waiting for the subsequent ‘I am kidding’ following his statement. To imagine the shock, when they got to know that their own elected PM was dead serious about putting their lives in imminent danger.

Herd immunity can be achieved through two ways. First, through vaccination, which is in speedy development. But will still take a year to come to fruition. Second, when a group of people who are infected by the virus get recovered. In turn developing antibodies capable of fighting the virus preventing them from being infected again. So with vaccination out of the picture, only one route remains which the Prime Minister of UK was deliberately pointing at. Infect a herd of people, to get the herd immunity. And now he wonders why in spite of his brilliant life-saving idea, he is a top contender in foolish remarks among political leaders.

One would think what could have the public of UK done to be governed by an unadept leader. Well who can blame the UK prime minister’s affliction to adapting healthcare knowledge, when UK’s public is not far behind in showing mass idiocy. Owing to a Facebook circulated ‘unconfirmed’ information, there was insinuation of 5g technology radio waves being the real reason of development of symptoms (of virus). And coronavirus is just a cover up that the UK government is using to install 5g towers under the cover of lockdown. The slogan ‘Coronavirus is a hoax, 5g is the killer’ etched so deeply in UK public’s minds, that it resulted in them resorting to burn 5g towers.

Maybe Boris Johnson forgot that people do get bothered when their lives are put on stake. Maybe the public forgot to validate the information seen on ‘Facebook’ before burning towers. Or maybe UK got a leader they deserved.

Leaders of India

In terms of responding to the pandemic, we Indians should be proud. Agreed we copied Italy in banging pots and pans to salute the hard work of doctors. But unlike Italy, we timely accepted the seriousness of the situation and acted towards it. Put into question, maybe we could have acted a little sooner. After all, China is just next to us. We knew what was coming. Then too, testing and isolation was started later than was expected.

China was at peak for COVID-19 cases in 2019 year-end. But who can blame us. We simply didn’t have the time. Between juggling the crowd protests of CAA in December and JNU student violence in January, our timetable was full. Deepika’s unexpected awakening to social responsibility and the expected boycotting of her film continued occupying our national schedule. We detected our first case on 30th January. In February, our ruling government sharpened its focus and deployed all its energy to come up with a Hindu campaign for Delhi Elections. Which they lost and what followed it was the now infamous Delhi pogrom 2020.

In Mid-march, after testing and coming to conclusion that we may be approaching a similar fate as of Italy, the alarm bell rang and we imposed lockdown. If thought about, it was a typical Indian thing to do. To delay everything till the last minute, misplacing the seriousness of the situation in hand. Only to realize it later and then swing to full throttle in hopes to prevent further damage. The Indian government acted in the same way. In their decision to curb the spread of the virus, they imposed a full nationwide lockdown without taking in account the possible loss of livelihoods. The rampant decision ignored the plight of migrant workers who were left stranded. They still hoped for some relief from the government after the damage was done.

When Indian government delayed their response till the last minute, the decision taken could not incorporate everyone equally. They were well aware of this fact. After all, a horse’s vision can only focus on one thing at a time. For a plan to cover everyone with equal importance, it cannot be made last minute. It has to be properly planned ahead of time, and shouldn’t be a desperate attempt to just save what is possible. Better planning and tenacity is expected from our leaders.

A quote by Theodore Roosevelt aptly summarizes the situation:

The character of people determines the kind of government people shall possess.”
After all the leaders are of their people, for their people and from their people.


More by :  Mrinalini Sud

Top | Opinion

Views: 3468      Comments: 4

Comment Thanks, Ashby. It's true the novel coronavirus has taken everyone by surprise. And every government and their citizens are indeed trying their best to come up with solutions. There have been a few pitfalls in the path for sure, but we all want to reach the same destination. And in reaching the same destination, the government as well the citizens have made identical mistakes. Mistakes which mirror the values they believe. Like US's importance of economy above life & UK being averse to technology

Mrinalini Sud
15-May-2020 05:33 AM

Comment Boris Johnson, despite his opinion on herd immunity, has always acted on the counsel of the Chief Medical Officer in steps to tackle the pandemic. Trump too has been unfairly lampooned for his posing of a solution by injecting disinfectant - his stance was exploratory, and immediately withdrawn when rejected.

R D Ashby
14-May-2020 03:23 AM

Comment Thanks Mahar for the two points. You are indeed right.

The selfish game of politics, in MP, in the midst of coronavirus cannot be ignored. And it just goes on in saying, the government waited for the last minute for execution of contingency plans.
Everything does need to be worked out well before!

Mrinalini Sud
09-May-2020 08:57 AM

Comment Two things you forgot to mention,the formation of government in MP,the priority of BJP and the truth invitation.
Worst part is a pM cannot say one fine day be there ,where you are , everything has to be worked out in such a large country.

M S Mahar
09-May-2020 02:35 AM

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