India’s Covid Disaster: India reported more than 300,000 new confirmed COVID-19 cases for the sixth day in a row Tuesday. Here’s what both sides are saying. To have stories like this and more delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.
Story: India’s Covid Disaster
Yesterday a trio of Washington Post journalists noted that “India reported more than 300,000 new confirmed COVID-19 cases for the sixth day in a row Tuesday as the country continues to battle a brutal wave of virus illnesses that’s overwhelmed its health-care system.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization, called the situation in India ‘beyond heartbreaking.’ He warned that many countries in the world ‘are still experiencing intense transmission,’ with more new cases globally in the past week than in the first five months of the pandemic.”
While some analysts speak to India’s current plight as a preventable tragedy, others hone in on its overall financial impact.
Critics Chide Modi
Critics of Indian Prime Minister Modi say he came into 2021 overconfident and unprepared after India weathered the pandemic relatively well in 2020.
Writing for Israel’s Haaretz, Mohamed Zeeshan describes India as “reeling under the deadliest wave of COVID-19 that the world has yet seen,” citing “the highest single-day [case] rise recorded in any country since the start of the pandemic.” He criticizes the government, who he says “had plenty of time and opportunity to prepare for these challenges” after having “escaped the first wave of the pandemic last year without overwhelming suffering.” Zeeshan criticizes India’s “highly centralized approach to vaccine procurement and distribution, which left state governments and private hospitals hamstrung until very recently” and is “at odds with India’s traditions of federalism.” Furthermore, he continues, “The government greenlighted a truly massive Hindu religious gathering, the Kumbh Mela, where a million celebrants gathered every day without masks or social distancing.” Keep reading: How Modi Led India Into a COVID Catastrophe.
A Threat to the Oil Recovery?
Meanwhile, financial markets are concerned with the economic impact of the pandemic’s current toll on India.
Writing for Bloomberg, Julian Lee covers the impact of India’s public health situation on the oil markets. He describes “mounting criticism” of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi “over a surge in coronavirus cases that began shortly after his government declared the country was ‘in the endgame of the COVID-19 pandemic.’” Lee cites the opinion of a Bloomberg Opinion colleague who believes “COVID will probably kill more people in 2021 than it did last year.” This impact could spell as much as a 20% decline in diesel and gasoline demand from March as “stay-at-home advisories… hit motor fuels, which until now had been supported by a mass switch from public transport to private cars and motorbikes.” Keep reading: India’s Covid Crisis Threatens a Global Oil Recovery.
Flag This: India’s Covid Disaster
CNBC reports that Sonal Varma, an Indian Chief Economist for Nomura Holdings, reports the country will endure a “‘sequential growth hit’ in its first quarter.’” She predicts a 1.5% GDP decline in the current quarter that ends in June but also sees “downside risk” in this estimate.