From the May-June 2021 issue of News & Letters
by Gerry Emmett
A second wave of COVID-19 is devastating India. Each day there have been over 300,000 new cases reported, and over 3,000 people dying. A new, more transmissible strain of the virus, first reported last year, is spreading rapidly among India’s population of 1.4 billion.
India’s health care system has been stretched past its limits. International aid has been slow in coming. Families have had to resort to mass cremations. This is a crisis that will have worldwide implications.
For one, India has the third largest pharmaceutical industry. It produces 70% of the world’s vaccines—and with so much needed at home, vaccine shipments, most of them meant for poorer countries, have been slowed or halted. Even with the halt, it still isn’t enough for India.
India also has one of the world’s larger economies. With the pandemic, it declined by 10% in the last year, and that is expected to continue. This will affect other countries as well—both poor ones, like Brazil and South Africa, which are also suffering second outbreaks, and the U.S. and European countries that outsource work to India.
This will only deepen capitalism’s world crisis.
In the midst of this, the historic farm protests have continued. Thousands of protesters remain camped outside Delhi, the capital. The Modi government has accused the camps of being “super-spreader” events, while farmers say the government is using the pandemic to demobilize its opponents.
Modi’s own party, however, has held massive (and unnecessary) campaign rallies, while the striking farmers have tried to provide free healthcare.