Has man potentially killed more people than the the Corona virus itself? India’s paralysis in the business world has led to the biggest quarterly contraction in the economy that the country has ever seen and it doesn’t look to be ending soon. This follows the biggest limitation of movement of people in modern history as the government initiated a lockdown of trade and travel altogether, in response to Covid-2019.
Voluntary curfew or ‘Janta Curfew’, was put into place on the 22nd March and was followed by a lockdown on the 24th March by Prime Minister Narendra Modi initially for 21 days, limiting the movement of a population of 1.3 billion. However, the rate of spread of the infection meant that the lockdown was extended by another 5 months, impacting the country like never before.
Globally, the Corona Virus has effected just under 4 million people across 213 countries bringing the world to a halt as businesses came to a close indefinitely. Now several months on as Unlock 4 opens up here in India, it’s ironic that there may be very few businesses that actually can. With the lack of any increased government expenditure, it looks like the first quarterly contraction of 23.9 %, may just only be the beginning of a landslide. A reduction in approximately 27% in private consumption due to customer caution means that the economy is pretty stuck for a while.
A report by Oxfam has said that 121 million people have been pushed to the brink of starvation, magnified multiple fold by unemployment and lack of aid. In India the lack of work for migrant labourers on farms has led to crops rotting away leaving these migrant workers in no- man’s land, starving and exhausted. Moreover, global impact means a reduction in the hiring of 30% of Indian IT firms combined with a reduction in wages of blue collar labourers. In July, around 5 million salaried jobs were lost and reports estimate that 4.1 million youths have lost their jobs with this number rising gradually, especially in the construction and farming industry. TIME says that disruption to food production and supplies due to COVID-2019, has most probably caused more death than the infection it self.
More recently in Delhi, we see Smoke house Delhi and the popular Beer Café amongst those in the latest line of casualties. Now if these names can’t stand the heat, what hope is there for anyone else.
So then, did anyone think about the long term impact of the lockdown. I understand the immediate knee jerk reaction but the extension of it was probably one of the biggest mistakes ever for a lot of people where they have been caught between a rock and a hard place. If you think about it, there was a 20% chance the virus was going to kill them or that they’d die of 100% starvation. I think given a choice, we know what they would have chosen. And really the Lockdown wasn’t really about us at all, but more about making it easier for the health system to manage who, ironically, couldn’t do a damn thing as there is no cure. So it makes you wonder about the price payed to save a small percentage of the population. As you see the stock market plummet, the livelihood of people diminish, and the government insisting companies keep their staff on the payroll, paying money they cant afford to give, shows me quite clearly that humans did the most damage here and was more deadly than any Corona Virus.