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In pics | Rallies, religious gatherings aggravate India's worst COVID-19 surge

Election rallies led by political leaders like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other major figures, as well as crowded festivals and religious gatherings, have characterised the record resurgence of the new coronavirus.

April 08, 2021 / 09:25 PM IST
India’s COVID-19 cases have soared 13-fold in barely two months, a vicious second wave propelled by open disregard for safety protocols in much of the vast country. Election rallies led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other major figures, as well as crowded festivals and religious gatherings, have characterised the record resurgence of the new coronavirus. (Image: Reuters)
India’s COVID-19 cases have soared 13-fold in barely two months, a vicious second wave propelled by open disregard for safety protocols in much of the vast country. Election rallies led by political leaders like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other major figures, as well as crowded festivals and religious gatherings, have characterised the record resurgence of the new coronavirus. (Image: Reuters)
Men cheer as they are splashed with water during Holi celebrations, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-9), in Prayagraj, India, March 29, 2021. (Image: Reuters)
Men cheer as they are splashed with water during Holi celebrations, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-9), in Prayagraj, India on March 29, 2021. (Image: Reuters)
After quelling the first surge late last year, India’s leaders let down their guard. Allowing or even encouraging dangerous behaviour, they underestimated the virus, reopening the economy too fast and too broadly, experts say. With daily infections hitting a record 127,000 on Thursday, the most in the world and the third day this week over 100,000, the third-hardest hit country is soaring past its mid-September peak of around 98,000 cases a day. Hindu devotees take part in 'Huranga', a game played between men and women a day after Holi, the festival of colours, at Dauji temple near the northern city of Mathura, India, March 30, 2021. REUTERS/
After quelling the first surge late last year, India’s leaders let down their guard. Allowing or even encouraging dangerous behaviour, they underestimated the virus, reopening the economy too fast and too broadly, experts say. Hindu devotees took part in 'Huranga', a game played between men and women a day after Holi, the festival of colours, at Dauji temple near Mathura, India on March 30, 2021. (Image: Reuters)
Authorities have refused to call off a weeks-long Hindu festival, held once every 12 years on the banks of the Ganga river in the northern state of Uttarakhand. A successfully run Mahakumbh, which is expected to draw millions of devotees, is seen as crucial for the campaign of Modi’s Hindu nationalist party in the state, which votes next year. Naga Sadhus, or Hindu holy men, get ready to take a dip in the Ganges river during the first Shahi Snan at "Kumbh Mela", or the Pitcher Festival, in Haridwar, India, March 11, 2021.
Authorities have refused to call off a weeks-long Hindu festival, held once every 12 years on the banks of the Ganga river in the northern state of Uttarakhand. A successfully run Mahakumbh, which is expected to draw millions of devotees, is seen as crucial for the campaign of Modi’s Hindu nationalist party in the state. In April, there will be three Shahi Snan or major bathing days are on 12, 14 and 27. Here Naga Sadhus, or Hindu holy men, get ready to take a dip in the Ganges river during the first Shahi Snan at "Kumbh Mela", or the Pitcher Festival, in Haridwar, India, March 11, 2021. (Image: Reuters)
Political parties have largely flouted COVID-19 rules during campaigns for multi-phase elections in four big states and one federal territory that started last month. Politicians including Modi and Interior Minister Amit Shah greeted hundreds of thousands of mostly mask-less supporters at election rallies. PM Narendra Modi in Howrah. On April 6(Image: ANI)
Political parties have largely flouted COVID-19 rules during campaigns for multi-phase elections in four big states and one federal territory that started last month. Politicians including Modi and Interior Minister Amit Shah greeted hundreds of thousands of mostly mask-less supporters at election rallies. PM Narendra Modi held a rally in Howrah on April 6. (Image: ANI)
“Political leaders are themselves responsible” for the resurgence by allowing the packed rallies, said Subhash Salunke, a former World Health Organization official who advises the worst-hit state, Maharashtra. “The upward trend is going to be there for another couple of weeks.” BJP National President JP Nadda holds a roadshow in Dinhata, Coochbehar on April 8, 2021 (Image: ANI)
“Political leaders are themselves responsible” for the resurgence by allowing the packed rallies, said Subhash Salunke, a former World Health Organisation official who advises the worst-hit state, Maharashtra. “The upward trend is going to be there for another couple of weeks.” Here BJP National President JP Nadda holds a roadshow in Dinhata, Coochbehar on April 8, 2021 (Image: ANI)
Actor & BJP leader Mithun Chakraborty campaigns for Babul Supriyo, party candidate from Tollygunge, Kolkata. Babul Supriyo is contesting against TMC's Aroop Biswas. (Image: ANI)
Actor & BJP leader Mithun Chakraborty campaigns from Tollygunge, Kolkata. People here are all without mask. (Image: ANI)
Supporters of the Chief Minister of the eastern state of West Bengal and Trinamool Congress (TMC) Chief, Mamata Banerjee, attend an election campaign rally ahead of the forth phase of the state election, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Kolkata, India, April 7, 2021. (Image: Reuters)
Supporters of the Chief Minister of the eastern state of West Bengal and Trinamool Congress (TMC) Chief, Mamata Banerjee, attend an election campaign rally ahead of the fourth phase of the state election, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Kolkata, India on April 7, 2021. (Image: Reuters)
When daily infections fell below 10,000 in early February, some experts predicted India would see only a modest second wave at most. “We were really premature to celebrate,” said University of Michigan epidemiologist Bhramar Mukherjee. “This is a lesson,” said Mukherjee, who leads a team of researchers modelling the trajectory of India’s outbreak. “The really treacherous thing about this virus is how silently it casts its footsteps. By the time you see the cases and deaths, the damage is done.” (Image: ANI)
When daily infections fell below 10,000 in early February, some experts predicted India would see only a modest second wave at most. “We were really premature to celebrate,” said University of Michigan epidemiologist Bhramar Mukherjee. “This is a lesson,” said Mukherjee, who leads a team of researchers modelling the trajectory of India’s outbreak. “The really treacherous thing about this virus is how silently it casts its footsteps. By the time you see the cases and deaths, the damage is done.” Here a huge crowd has gathered during a political rally. (Image: ANI)
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Home Minister & BJP leader Amit Shah holds roadshow in Howrah Madhya, West Bengal on April 7. (Image: ANI)
Union Minister & BJP leader Amit Shah holds roadshow in Howrah Madhya. (Image: ANI)
Many states like Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu etc. have imposed lockdown while some have imposed night curfew. Authorities say last year’s curbs thrashed the economy and threw millions of poor people out of jobs. New Zealand on April 8 suspended entry for all travellers from India, including its own citizens, for about two weeks. (Image: ANI)
Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi greets party workers and the crowd at Coimbatore in poll-bound Tamil Nadu. (Image: PTI)
Some states, including Maharashtra, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh have also complained of a scarcity of vaccines during a second wave that has forced some centres to turn away people. With 12.9 million cases, India remains close behind Brazil and well below the United States, which has recorded more than 30 million infections. India’s COVID-19 deaths are above 166,000, although its fatality rate is one of the lowest in the world, partly because of its relatively young population. (Image: PTI)
Moneycontrol News
first published: Apr 8, 2021 09:25 pm

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