India Is Hiding Its Covid Crisis – And The Whole World Will Suffer For It

A few years ago, as Narendra Modi came into power, I worked on an investigative report about India hiding its malaria deaths.

In traveling from tribal Odisha to the Indian national health ministry in New Delhi, my colleague and I watched thousands of cases disappear: some malaria deaths, first noted in handwritten local health ledgers, never appeared in central government reports; other malaria deaths were magically transformed into deaths of heart attack or fever. The discrepancy was massive: India reported 561 malaria deaths that year. Experts predicted the actual number was as high as 200,000.

100 Million Americans Vaccinated

Now, with Covid ravaging the country, desperate Indians have taken to Twitter to ask for oxygen cylinders or beg hospitals for an open bed. The crisis has been exacerbated by the government’s concealment of critical information. Between India’s long history of hiding and undercounting illness deaths and its much more recent history of restraining and suppressing the press, Modi’s administration has made it impossible to find accurate information about the virus’s hold in the country. Blocking that information will only hurt millions within the country. It will also stymie global efforts to stop the Covid-19 pandemic, and new variants of the virus, at India’s border.

Epidemiologists in India and abroad estimate that the country’s official reported Covid-19 death toll – around 222,000 at time of publication – accounts for only a fraction of the real number. The director of the US-based Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation has estimated that India is only detecting 3-4% of actual cases. Other experts point to total excess deaths in cities such as Mumbai as proof that there could be 60% to 70% more deaths from Covid-19 than the government is admitting to.

There are various reasons India could be cooking the books on Covid deaths. For one, the utter failure of the public health system makes it difficult to account for the millions of bodies passing through hospitals, clinics and those dying in their own home. Despite having become one of the largest economies in the world, Indian state and federal governments spend a dismal amount on healthcare, with an investment of less than 1% of its GDP, one of the lowest rates in the world.

But systemic failure is only one part of the puzzle. The reigning party of the Indian government touted its success in curbing the virus very early in the pandemic, and has never let go of that narrative. As bodies burned in funeral pyres across Uttar Pradesh in April, Yogi Adityanath – the state’s chief minister and a key Modi lackey – claimed that everything was under control and repeatedly refused to announce new lockdown measures, even as he himself contracted Covid-19.

This denialist rhetoric is occurring at almost every level. Like India’s see-no-evil approach to malaria or tuberculosis, its Covid obfuscation suppresses “bad news” in order to buoy the country’s international image and the government party’s domestic standing. Not all countries with struggling health systems do this. Some actually at times overcount deaths from other viruses in order to get more humanitarian aid. But undercounting disease is, in many ways, far more sinister. Modi’s government had a choice between saving face and saving lives, and has chosen mass death.

Read full article.

A Toronto hospital network says that one of its intensive care units has zero infectious COVID-19 patients for the first time in more than 14 months.

A few years ago, as Narendra Modi came into power, I worked on an investigative report about India hiding its malaria deaths.

Bill Gates is in the news because earlier this week, after 27 years of marriage, his wife Melinda filed for divorce.

Melinda Gates was reportedly concerned about Bill Gates’ relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein years before the pair announced they were separating.

New York City hit a milestone Tuesday for its lowest COVID-19 positivity rate since tracking began, the mayor announced.

CDC officials also reported Friday that it was anxiety — not a problem with the shots — that caused fainting, dizziness and other reactions reported in 64 people at vaccine clinics in five states in early April. None got seriously ill.

Fully vaccinated British holidaymakers should be able to move freely across the European Union from 1 July under the bloc’s planned digital Covid-19 certificates, officials announced on Tuesday.

Medical experts and frontline workers are casting doubt over India's official COVID-19 death toll as the country passed its 200,000 mark on Thursday, according to multiple reports.

By now, you might have heard about the catastrophe Covid’s becoming in India. Or maybe you haven’t. Then there’s Peru. South Africa. Mexico. Argentina. Indonesia.

As dawn broke over a shuttered flea market in Mission, Texas, on May 25, Anna and her 7-year-old son, Walter, sat sobbing on the curb. Anna and Walter, of El Salvador, had once again been caught by the Border Patrol trying to enter the U.S. undetected, and they feared a repeat of what happened the last time they were caught.

Bitcoin signage during the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami, Florida, U.S., on Friday, June 4, 2021. The biggest Bitcoin event in the world brings a sold-out crowd of 12,000 attendees and thousands more to Miami for a two-day conference.