With COVID-19 positive cases escalating, Prime Minister Modi announced (24 March) a lockdown of India for 21 days. With some experts forecasting a huge surge in cases, one of the main objectives of this lockdown is to try and “flatten the infection transmissibility curve” to the level of the current capacity of the healthcare system, by limiting contact among the infected, potentially infected, and non-infected.
This “flattening” will not eliminate the coronavirus – but can spread the strain on the medical services over a longer period, as also buy time for augmenting State capacity to handle this crisis, and perhaps for developing some effective treatment for the disease.
And suddenly, setting a new timeline on Enlightenment, the same jingoistic ra-ra media, that till a month ago, at times hunched over sand-models in combat uniforms, was hyping India’s State power over Pakistan, China, etc, began questioning the State’s capacity to deal with this crisis.
They did this by pointing fingers at the poor healthcare infrastructure; the limited number of ICU beds, ventilators; paucity of doctors, healthcare staff, testing kits, Personal Protective Equipment (PPPE), etc. Hence, the need to outline the importance of State capacity over State power.