COULD LIFE IN LOCKDOWN BECOME THE NEW NORMAL?
Hard to imagine life without a lockdown in these days of corona! The feeling will remain for as long as we do not get on the back of this killer contagion. Particularly, in the absence of a vaccine. And the vaccine could be as many as 18 months away. Can economies survive such a long period of hibernation?
The ’18 months’ is a conservative estimate. And conservative regimes are adamant to reopen economies. Direct fallout of crony capitalism calling the shots. Also media-driven. The rightwing media of America is grilling governors on why and for how long the lockdown will continue.
The rightwing is also more religious if not absolute religious nuts. Rightwing cable news channel Fox News wants the New Jersey Governor to explain why liquor stores are open when church gatherings stand banned? The Guv skipped answering the question and anchor Tucker Carlson wouldn’t let him go.
New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the USA. It is also, after New York City, the most severely hit by Covid-19 – over 70,000 corona-positive cases and over 3000 dead
The NJ guv knows the churchgoer is sober and, therefore, less likely to hug and brawl, which a liquor addict will indulge in if he does get or does not get his daily quota of pegs. It is a mental health problem versus religious rights issue. The coronavirus is driving everybody crazy mad.
Guvs run the risk of getting politically lynched if they take unpopular decisions, corona or no corona. In India, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Tackeray is up against unreasonable people who don’t care what happens to themselves and to others if they take unwanted risks.
They will pile up in gatherings with their grievances at a minute’s notice, thus increasing multifold the chances of community transmission of the coronavirus. It’s as if they haven’t heard of social distancing. Haven’t heard of the Covid-19 deaths?
Haven’t heard of Modi’s addresses to the nation? Of the ‘9 minute diya-call’? And of the ‘lockdown 2:0’ and May 3. Then, the question arises, doubts actually: Are these infringers of law being manipulated? Are we descending into a MAD-MAD world? How long will food last? Pulses and perishable.
Maybe, we’ll have to live off the oceans, like Kevin Costner did in Waterworld! Note that there’s no more talk of Mangalyan and Chandrayan. People have reverted to being grounded. The ‘Earth from Space’ picture that somebody drunk concocted was scary. It looked an exact replica of the lifeless coronavirus. The ugly ‘horns’ jutting like premonitions of a blighted future!
Thankfully, that was a one-off pix. If coronavirus is an agent of a hostile alien race, most likely the aliens are as scared of the Frankenstein as are the Earthlings! But such talk will only let the human creator – if, indeed, a human created corona – of the virus make a clean getaway.
Talk of China creating the virus in a lab hasn’t died, yet. China will deny ad infinitum. And Trump will disbelieve ad infinitum. Even though the times, they are not for long life.
Was coronavirus timed to derail Trump’s chances of a second shot at the presidency? It’s no secret that there’s no love lost between China and Trump. And it plays into the Democrat party’s script. Will left-liberal regimes make a comeback after the virus claims Trump’s orange scalp?
The way the coronavirus story has unfolded so far, it appears like the West’s model of governance is flawed. Italy, France, Spain… You name it and they have failed to contain the coronavirus,its killing rampage. They were caught with their pants down. And Trump’s America, the worst of the lot!
Everywhere in the world, there is only attempt to contain the virus and the containment policies are not all working. The Modi Government, despite dealing effectively with the virus in pockets, erred by not aiming for universal community testing. To hold back on testing more and more people was a mistake.
For a country of India’s size and population, the “testing” numbers are pathetically infinitesimal. The result is today we don’t know if the man standing next to each one of us is coronavirus-positive or not? Will this feeling remain and for how long? Will the Modi Government declare India “almost COVID-19 free” by May 3, and leave it at that?