This is not meant to scare anyone. But here are some facts.
The U.S. is about THREE TIMES the geographic size of India.
Yet India is home to 1.3 BILLION people as opposed to the U.S. population of just 333 million.
That means FOUR TIMES as many humans live in India in about ONE-THIRD of the space we have.
To put it another way:
Imagine if EVERY U.S. STATE IN OUR EASTERN TIME ZONE suddenly vanished and EVERY PERSON WHO LIVED IN THOSE STATES instantly materialized into the states that remained.
That’s how much physically closer we would all be and that’s how socially distanced we would all be, mask mandates be damned.
Okay, are you with me so far?
Now even though none of us want to think about this, let’s briefly look at the latest statistics about Covid infection rates and deaths.
U.S. infection rates are now 50-60,00 per day, which sounds like a lot but actually is pretty great considering in early January, prior to the Biden-Harris administration taking office, we were at an all-time high of just over 300,000 per day.
Know what the infection rate was last week in India – OVER 400,000 PEOPLE PER DAY.
Yup, after enduring a first wave of infections surprisingly well considering its size, India is now exploding with Covid disease and deaths, so much so that crematoriums have been overrun and mass groups of corpses are now being burned in the streets.
I watched one news report that showed 44 ambulances with dead bodies lined up at one site with nowhere to go.
Sad, tragic but, um, thank god (Note: Our whoever you believe Her to be) WE’RE safe. Right?
India survived surprisingly well in the first wave of COVID infections but it is now in the midst of a much more deadly second wave.
Because the second wave in India is due to a NEW COVID VIRUS VARIANT that is much more lethal and virulent than anything that came before it.
This is what viruses do. As they get eradicated or slowed, they mutate to survive. Sometimes they do this ineffectively and, other times, quite efficiently.
For instance, I recall vividly being told in the last half of 2020 that the UK variant of COVID was starting to be found in California and today, mid-2021, it is now, by far, the dominant variant.
See how this stuff happens?
This might all seem potentially manageable if the Indian variant behaves like the UK variant. But there is not yet ANY EVIDENCE of that.
In fact, Dr. Anthony Fauci gave an interview on NBC this weekend where he unequivocally stated that, according to early research, in terms of the current science and the vaccines available, the India variant was so far PROBLEMATIC.
Now after decades of going to doctors for various medical conditions for myself as well as for my elderly parents, let me translate to you what problematic means from a physician.
It means not good, it means we don’t have an answer, it means this can be worrisome.
At the very least it means, you are by no means cured or even out of the woods. It means this is SOMETHING. Or worse.
Q: Oh come on, Chair, wait. Why are you sending us into mass panic? Will the India variant even be here? I mean, I just read that the US has restricted all air travel from India.
A: You mean that edict this week, after we’ve intermingled aerially for several months when their cases were only 200-380,000 per day? Right. No reason to think an airborne virus from another country overseas could possibly get here and take over. (Note: See several paragraphs above)
In the interest of fairness, let’s note that the head of one German biotech company that helped develop the Pfizer vaccine, said that his vaccine was “clever” and “would hold” against this new variant.
Well, let’s hope it’s VERY clever because even though Mr. Biotech noted he “wasn’t worried” he also let it slip between press sound bytes that they were “still testing” its effectiveness in combatting this new strain.
INDIA: 19.2 million Covid cases; 212,000 deaths.
U.S.: 32.5 million Covid cases; 580,000 deaths.
Yes, we’re still in the lead but soon they will soon be nipping at our heels.
And through no fault of their own.
Because the sad truth in all of this lies in something I heard one Indian doctor say live on TV this weekend. He spoke it in his native language but then translated in hopes that the rest of us might hear and then take action.
If it affects some of us, it affects all of us.
What to do? Well –
– Getting the vaccine and any inevitable booster would be a start.
– Following CDC guidelines on mask wearing and social distancing could also help.
– Listening to science and facts vs. political dogma and conspiracy theories from your favorite cable TV news host or dark web site definitely wouldn’t hurt.
-Donating a small amount of money, time or attention to help out someone/anyone/anything in support of any of the above would also be noteworthy.
And when all else fails, be kinder to others, even yourself.
Because you never know what’s just around our MUTUAL corners.