COVID Tsunami in India

Helen Man

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The COVID variants in Indian have become deadly and highly transmissible.  As of May 1, 2021, the total number of infections in India surpassed 19 million and the death toll exceeded 210,000. (Note 1)

The medical system in India has collapsed; hospitals have overflowed; medications have run out; ventilators and oxygen supplies have dwindled.  The desperate families of the patients were running around to hunt for oxygen supplies, scarce medicines, and much-needed healthcare.  The price of oxygen cylinders has surged 10 times, but it is still very difficult to find one.  A large number of patients died on stretchers outside the hospitals, in the hospital corridors, and at homes.  A doctor broke down in tears and said: “Oxygen and ventilators have been used up.  We are not able to help patients.  Even our own doctors died due to shortage in medical supplies.” (Note 2)  Because of the high death toll, the crematoriums have been overwhelmed even though they have been working non-stop through the night.  People cremated the victims in the parks, at the parking lots, and in their backyards.

The cause of the COVID Tsunami in India:

Overlooked the strength of the virus

A few months ago, the number of coronavirus infections in India has decreased.  Some politicians claimed that Indians have a very strong immune system and are able to defeat different variants of the virus.  Therefore, even if India was one of the countries that have produced most coronavirus vaccines, the vaccines have mostly been mostly exported.  The remaining stocks were insufficient for the country, and only 2% of people have been vaccinated. (Note 3)

The government was shortsighted – holding big gatherings

The Indian Prime Minister Modi believed that the waning of the Covid infections would help him to win his re-election.  So large election campaigns were held in various locations in India.  And proper preventive protocols have been neglected during these events.

A mega-festival, Haridwar Kumbh Mela, was held in India during the pandemic.  In Hinduism, a full Kumbh Mela occurs in 12-year cycles; with three additional festivals held in between.  Spring of 2021 was the time for a Kumbh Mela, and Haridwar is one of the four sites of Kumbh Mela.  Traditional Indians believe that taking a bath in the Ganga River washes away the sins and heals all sorts of illness in a person.  So a large number of people flocked to Haridwar and Ganga River.  It is known as one of the largest religious festivals in the world.  In 2021, the Kumbh Mela Force, a government body, said 9.1 million pilgrims took the holy dip in the Ganga from January 14 to April 27.  (Note 4)  This became a huge outlet for spreading the deadly virus.

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People were lack of alertness

Despite the warnings and advice from some Indian officials, millions of people still headed to Ganga for a bath in the river without taking precautions.  The gathering and traveling of the crowds resulted in a huge Covid outbreak, and soon became an uncontrollable tsunami that rapidly spread to its neighboring countries, such as Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and SriLanka, and at least 18 other countries. (Note 5)

You may ask: If God is merciful and loving, why wouldn’t He eliminate the virus?

God is omniscience (all-knowing), omnipotence (all-powerful), and omnibenevolence (supremely good).  In other words, God knows everything, has the power to do anything, and is perfectly good.

Even if mankind sins and runs away from God, He still loves His people.  God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to the world and died for our salvation.  Jesus resurrected on the third day and defeated death.  Whoever accepts Jesus Christ as his savior, he is forgiven and receives eternal life.

God is always good to us. He turns suffering into a blessing to show us His wonderful work, wisdom, and almighty power
Suffering can lead us to God

Mankind is arrogant and believes that we can conquer anything but this pandemic proves us wrong.  There was a good man called Job from the Bible.  One day all of a sudden, his sons and daughters were all dead, his wealth and possessions were gone, and his body was all covered with painful sores.

Job asked God why he needed to endure such extreme suffering.  God asked Job these questions:

“Can you fathom the mysteries of God?
Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do?
They are deeper than the depths below—what can you know?
Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea.
If he comes along and confines you in prison and convenes a court, who can oppose him?”
(Job 11:7-10)

God asked Job:  “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” (Job 38:4) After God spoke to Job about His wonderful creation and powerful work, Job understood and submitted to God with a humble heart.

Job answered to the Lord: “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted……My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you……(Job 42:2-6) 

From the book of Job, we see that God allows us to experience suffering to make us to know Him more deeply and to trust Him more dearly. 

Suffering can become a blessing

Suffering can lead us to repent and accept the salvation of Christ.  Our lives will change when we become children of God.  We will be able to help others who have suffering, similar to what we have experienced, with more understanding and compassion.

Suffering can strengthen our faith.

 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  (Romans 8:28)

Suffering can awaken us in the secular world

Suffering, such as experiencing the pandemic, can make us realize that life is short and uncertain.  We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and we are scared.  We would wonder and seek the real eternity and peace.

God is loving and merciful.  As you seek Him and trust in Him, you will find peace despite the environment.

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(Notes 1 to 5: Internet search)  

1. 9.1 million thronged Mahakumbh despite Covid-19 surge …
2. › cities › dehradun-news
3. Apr 30, 2021 — The Kumbh Mela Force, a government body, said 9.1 million pilgrims took the … Devotees gather to offer prayers during the third ‘Shahi Snan’ of the Kumbh Mela 2021, … 25,000, though there was little adherence to any Covid protocols. … Modi requested seers to ensure symbolic participation in the event.

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