Monday 27 June 2022
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Omicron, Booster Dose, Alert: Political ‘Science’



The bad administrative response to the outbreak of Covid-19 caused by the China-origin coronavirus continues to confuse the people of the world. While bad decisions by governments across the world in what appears a state of stupor have done nothing towards detecting and punishing the perpetrating regime, the agency meant to be a beacon of science, the World Health Organisation, has reduced to being a joke, thanks to its compromised director, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who was enjoying President of China Xi Jinping’s hospitality early last year when the body he heads should have declared that the outbreak had turned into a pandemic. Humanity watched with horror when no government raised a din over the WHO skipping two Greek alphabets on a phonetic excuse and to save Xi’s skin — Nu and Ksi respectively — to name the latest mutant of the coronavirus “Omicron”. The crude joke continues with the union government of India giving lectures on the necessity for a booster dose and the Delhi government issuing a ‘yellow alert‘. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hurriedly made speech a night before Mann ki Baat and the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s daily announcements also reek of pressure by multinational pharmaceutical giants led by Pfizer, even as the country’s AstraZeneca vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India has played no less a role in whipping up the scare, defying the fact that the UK government does not approve of this vaccine’s use as a booster. Earlier, attempts were made to defame India when the Delta variant had arrived and South Africa when the latest mutant was detected. Agreed, the world is no longer mischievously naming these variants, but naming China still seems to send shivers down the collective spine of authorities across the world.

Meanwhile, details of the booster dose — what name authorities in India assign to it is irrelevant — are not in the public domain yet. Methodical research that medical journals dictate has eluded India since the time vaccines were hastily imposed on the people as though the state was participating in a contest to make it to the Guinness Book of World Records rather than operating in the sensitive field of people’s health. This is no time to congratulate the scientists of South Africa, the UK, the US, European Union countries or Israel either, as the whole system is hurtling from one questionable response to the pandemic to another, driven by undue public expectation, trying to pre-empt the criticism that may follow ex post facto. The panic had initially driven administrations to issue edicts of wearing masks with pores of 0.1 to 0.3 micron to block the passage of a virus, the size of which may range from 50 nm to 140 nm (1 nm is one-thousandth of 1 micron). Now it is driving state governments crazy, with one administration falling over another to impose limited lockdowns at the stage of a fast-yet-mild Omicron contagion. For that matter CMC Vellore’s ongoing study on vaccines is remarkable, but congratulations can wait, as the union government has not yet acted on the letter dated April by around 900 scientists that asked for more transparency, notwithstanding the ICMR’s extensive statistics and CoWin’s massive database on vaccination.

Perhaps nothing better can be expected from the government in a country where the opposition is a bigger joke, with leaders like Akhilesh Yadav making asinine comments on vaccines at the stage of their research and development, Mamata Banerjee giving a stand-up comedy performance on lockdown and Arvind Kejriwal’s medical oxygen-carrying trucks taking their sweet time for arriving in Delhi from Bangkok. In a country where journalists hardly join the media vocation after obtaining degrees in science subjects, the past two years have seen mostly knee-jerk reactions to the pandemic from all administrative quarters — the union, every state and local civic body — while the West, where social media companies genuflect before Beijing too, has been no better place in Covid management, with infection and mortality records that would cast doubt on their economic advancement as much as on their feats in technology. This is what befalls a world where politics and the blackmailing power of a regime determines science. The scenario is unlikely to change even as scientists exhaust Greek alphabets to name successive mutations from Omicron now to Omega someday in the foreseeable future.

Sirf News Editorial Board
Sirf News Editorial Board
Voicing the collective stand of the Sirf News media house on a given issue

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