‘Rural surge’ propels India toward more Covid-19 infections than US



MASLI: Sliding out of their rickshaw, masks on, fresh sanitizer smeared across their hands, a team of health workers approached one of the mud-walled homes in Masli, a remote village in northeast surrounded by miles of mountainous rainforest.


“Are you Amit Deb?” they asked a lean, shirtless man standing in his yard. Deb nodded cautiously. Five days earlier, he had tested positive for the coronavirus. Now his family members needed to be tested.


They all refused.


“We can’t afford to quarantine,” explained Deb, a shopkeeper. If anyone else in his family was found positive, they would all be ordered to stay inside, which would mean even more weeks of not working, which would push the family closer to running out of food.


The medical team moved on to the next house. But they kept meeting more refusals.


The defiance of the coronavirus rules is being reflected across rural India, and it is propelling this nation’s virus caseload toward the No. 1 spot globally. Infections are rippling into every corner of this country of 1.3 billion people. The Indian news media is calling it “The Rural Surge.”


In the megacities where the pandemic first hit, vigorous public awareness campaigns have left the populace mostly on guard. But when it comes to government efforts to contain the virus, rural India is resisting.


In many villages, no one is wearing masks. There is no social distancing. People are refusing to get tested, and they are hiding their sick.


Hospitals are straining; in the coronavirus ward of one hospital here in the state of Tripura, insects were left to crawl over corpses, according to photos from a former government official.


In recent trips to more than a dozen rural areas spread across several states, from Tamil Nadu in the south to West Bengal in the far east, to Tripura, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in the north, the reaction to the pandemic appeared to be completely different from that of the big cities like Delhi and Mumbai.


Out in the rural areas, many people behave as if there is no coronavirus. Even many police officers who have been empowered to enforce the pandemic rules are not wearing masks.


This intransigence has helped India catch up with the United States in terms of total infections. US cases are near 7.6 million, compared with India’s 6.8 million, according to a New York Times database. But India outpaces new US cases by 30,000 or so each day, putting it on a path to potentially surpass the United States in the coming weeks.


Many people in villages believe their government is overstating the severity of the pandemic and showing no sensitivity to the economic hardship that they are suffering.


Government officials have tried to reassure them that they are containing the virus while striking the best possible balance between protecting lives and livelihoods.


Officials say India’s caseload is rising because nearly 1 million tests are being performed each day, five times the number a few months ago. They also point to India’s relatively low death rate, about an eighth or ninth of those of the United States, Spain, Brazil and Britain.


Scientists say this is mainly because India’s population is younger and leaner, though they caution that most deaths in India, from any cause, are not investigated. And India’s deaths are steadily ticking up, by about 1,000 a day, now totaling about 105,000.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “spoken on all available platforms and underlined the need and importance of wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing,” said Manisha Verma, a spokesperson for India’s health ministry. The government’s focus, she said, has been on changing behavior rather than enforcement.


In fact, even as the coronavirus spreads through the rural regions, other parts of India are loosening containment restrictions to help the stricken economy. This month, the central government is allowing movie theaters to open. Schools can soon reopen if state governments agree.


PM Modi locked down the country in March, with four hours’ notice, to buy time for India to scale up its production of masks and other protective equipment and to open treatment centers. But the severe lockdown spawned an exodus of millions of migrant laborers who could not afford to stay in urban areas. Their movement to rural communities helped spread the virus to nearly every corner of India.



译文来源:三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/p/51027.html   译者:Jessica.Wu

Sunil The Thinker

I afraid to say but truth be told in future most probably India is gonna be hardest hit country by Covid-19 coz negligence of people can be seen in road where people aren't wearing masks and police officers are not taking harsh action against such people as they were doing before some months.



Arya Ganguly

Send the covid warriors with ration and money to be given instantly to anyone's family found positive in rural areas.



Ramesh Mathamsetti

Govt doesn't have any seriousness in implementing even simple Covid guidelines like wearing a mask. Even leaders are not following the guidelines. Politicians and Leaders are interested only in reviving economy. Rural infrastructure has always been neglected , leaving them poor, underdeveloped, and no infra to respond to this kind of disasters.



Balhans Jayaswal

The poor but hardy will fight it out by taking the bull by the horn and develop resistance through through herd immunity. There will casualties no doubt, but eventually, they will win.




India has four times more population than US.




Dear people, there is just one tool that we have: masks. Don't question it. Use it.



Abhijit mishra

almost 9 months have passed neither there is enough mask, medicine, sanitizers, pp kit, oxygen, bed, ventilators



satya murthy

money spent by govt not reached needy ppl , gulped by lootera in betwn..



Sham Shastry

Corona pandemic has become more of big racket for all stake holders. Crores of rupees have been usurped by many NGOs under the guise of treating corona patients.



HappyTimes User

This is the reality of rural Bharat.




For ordinary Hindus, every day is a struggle. Living in slums, working whole day to get two meals a day and then following the stupid orders of their dumb, corrupt and useless orders is rubbing salt on their wounds. Who will give them food, who will pay their bills , If dumb lockdown orders are followed?  If they do not work a day, they do not get meals that day.



Prateek Singh

I don't see majority of the people wearing masks anymore even in cities anymore. People are probably 'tired' so they neither wear masks/gloves nor maintain proper distance. By doing so they are putting vulnerable people at risk.



Sajid Isa

A greater catastrophe is in the offing . An there seems no clear plan for the nation.



Anil Dharan

Root Cause is because of unplanned Lockdown with short Notice done by Drama Queen Modi.



J Rey

Why do you (media) have to paint such a grim picture ... everytime you talk of Covid in India ?

Why don't you see that the number of daily cases almost all over in India have started GOING DOWN SINCE MID SEPTEMBER steadily .. INDICATING that INDIA might have PEAKED OUT IN SEPTEMBER ?!!!



Suresh Biswas

Rural Indians are more equipped than urban populations, they knows how to restrict this pandemic. Leave them their own , they are rich in ayurvedic medicines which is far better than allopathic, so for the God sake don't disturb their peaceful life and don't pollute their lifestyle by spitting human venom


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