A Surgeon Called Indore “India’s Wuhan”. Is the Situation Really That Dire?


A Surgeon Called Indore “India’s Wuhan”. Is the Situation Really That Dire?

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

As the coronavirus continues to spread across India, certain states are feeling the brunt of the pandemic harder than others. Madhya Pradesh has seen a sharp spike in the number of positive cases over the last couple of days. On Thursday, it saw a surge in infection, with 361 new cases recorded – the highest single-day figure in the country for any state so far. Indore alone reported 244 of these cases and MP jumped to the No 3 spot in the country with a total of 1,299 cases, according to The Times of India.

In an alarming video posted on Twitter, ophthalmic surgeon Dr Anand Rai calls Indore “India’s Wuhan” for the worrying way the number of positive cases in the state have skyrocketed. In a series of videos, Dr Rai outlined four chief reasons why he believes Indore has become one of India’s worst-hit hotspots for the coronavirus.

The main reason, Rai believes, is that home quarantine was not respected by the citizens of Indore. He also points out that the temperature checks being conducted were not sufficient, as fever can manifest after four or five days of the virus being in a person’s body, and thus many potential carriers entered public spaces, leading to the spread of the novel coronavirus. Secondly, ration supplies are not reaching the entire population, forcing a section of people out of their homes in search of food even while lockdown is supposed to be in effect. Thirdly, not enough contact tracing has been carried out, and finally, the essential workers, like medical professionals, police, sanitation workers, and delivery professionals have not been tested enough.

Things in Indore have gotten so bad that today, a CNN-News18 journalist tweeted the news that the entire city was going to face screening. This is a city of nearly 30 lakh people, so every citizen being screened illustrates how dire the situation has become.

The media’s attention is only now turning to Indore and its risky battle with the coronavirus. For days, people with knowledge of the situation on the ground have been issuing warnings about the disaster to come. Hopefully, Indore’s residents understand the nature of the fight they are in, and begin wholeheartedly cooperating with authorities to fight the virus. Earlier in the month, residents of Indore’s Tatpatti Bakhal neighbourhood, one of the hotspots of the virus outbreak, pelted stones at healthcare workers and chased them away. The refusal to get screened has now backfired on its residents.

But let’s hope Indore has learnt from its mistake. The last thing the city needs is a repeat of the farcical situations that took place on March 22, when the Prime Minister’s Janata Curfew was treated as an occasion to step outdoors and take out processions.

The entire country must face the threat of coronavirus together, so here’s hoping the Madhya Pradesh state government is quickly able to put a lid on the burgeoning coronavirus numbers before they spike further.