After scrapping through the first wave of the Covid-19 epidemic in 2020, India raised its hopes last winter as it began vaccinating in mid-January. But no one was ready for what was in the store.
April to May 2021. Clearly this was one of the worst summer deaths and disappointments in India. Delta, a highly contagious strain of the novel coronavirus, first detected in India, spread like wildfire. Lack of testing kits, hospital beds and life-saving oxygen leads to large-scale deaths.
It was an uninterrupted catastrophe. The fortnight from April 25 to May 10 alone witnessed about 54,000 deaths while more than one lakh deaths were recorded in May. The official toll was fiercely contested by many with a low count quote.
Here’s a look back at last year’s highs and lows:
Delta panic and omikron fear
Delta has tested India’s resolve. There is disagreement among physicians about the use of plasma therapy, ‘miracle’ drugs such as remedicivir, flavipiravi and steroids. Pictures of full crematoriums and cemeteries, bodies floating in the Ganges spread on television screens and in newspapers.
The worst affected is the National Capital Region. Large private hospitals have sent SOS for a steady supply of oxygen as Delhi is gasping for breath. People watched in panic. Courts have intervened to rape unprepared governments.
While there is much to rejoice over as India has achieved the milestone of over 140 million doses, it is now certain to deviate from the initial target of “fully vaccinating” the entire adult population of 94 million.
There is a lot to be thankful for Adar Punawala of India, whose serum institute is solely responsible for 90 per cent of the Covid-19 vaccine used in the country.
In a replay of random lockdown measures by states, especially night curfews and vaccine orders, India is still booster and debating whether it should vaccinate children. Even as the Omicron variant spreads across the country, the effectiveness of current vaccines is being questioned.
Israel made a fourth dose while the United States and Europe advanced with booster.
The Center has bowed its head in front of the protesting farmers
Despite the delta fears, the farmers protesting against the three new farm laws stood their ground and stood on the Delhi border. After many failed negotiations and violent clashes, the Center has finally decided to repeal three controversial laws. Protesting farmers in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh have ended their year-long strike after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his decision to repeal the agriculture law.
Mamata Didi’s last smile in Bengal
As the Delta wreaked havoc across the country, Prime Minister Modi, the BJP’s biggest star campaigner, had to suspend his political campaign in West Bengal. In the bill as the ‘mother of all assembly elections’, incumbent Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee waged a fierce political battle. The Street Fighter leader has won a third consecutive term with a bigger mandate, shattering the Saffron Party’s hopes of conquering the eastern frontier.
Golden moment at the Tokyo Olympics
2021 could go down in history as the best year for Indian sports. Shuttler PV Sindhu is the only Indian woman to have won two separate Olympic medals. The men’s hockey team took the country back to the golden age of the sport by collecting bronze after 41 years. Although it was almost a miss for the women’s hockey team, its heroic fight won many hearts back home.
But the year is clearly for Neeraj Chopra. The innocent and humble 23-year-old from Panipath has made history by winning the first track and field gold medal by any Indian in 100 years. An entire nation, still in the midst of a devastating second wave, rejoiced in Chopra’s golden moment on August 7, 2021.
Rows of Virat Kohli’s captaincy
It was also the year of release. Cricketer Virat Kohli has resigned from the post of T20 captain to focus on his batting. Subsequently, he was controversially stripped of his one-day international captaincy. The year began on a great note with a thrilling and historic Test series win in Australia, but India were devastated by the T20 World Cup. It brought down Robbie Shastri’s career as a coach and Kohli’s career as a white ball captain. The team has yet to win an ICC tournament since 2013, earning a reputation as the “new choker”. Now the work of bringing back new coaches Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma to India is over.
Respect and sympathy
India had to bid farewell to two legends: actor Dilip Kumar and ‘Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh. In a tragic incident later this year, India’s first Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat and his wife Madhulika were killed along with 12 others in a tragic helicopter crash.
The Omicron threat looks big
With the Delta tragedy fresh in mind, India is heading in panic towards 2022, even as the Omicron threat takes on a larger scale. Due to the new look, the total number of infections in India has reached 415 and Maharashtra has recorded the highest number of such infections. Experts predict that a third wave powered by Omicron could hit India early in the new year.
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