COVID-19 CRISIS
‘Come On Captain! Lead the state from the front by showing exemplary courage & generosity of spirit’
- Bir Devinder Singh
‘Come On Captain! Lead the state from the front by showing exemplary courage & generosity of spirit’




It is good that PGIMR (Post Graduate Institute of Medical Research) has immediately distanced itself from the catastrophic statement made by the Chief Minister of Punjab Capt. Amarinder Singh, quoting a report of PGI’s Department of Community Medicine that 87 % of the Punjab population would be infected by the corona virus by mid-September. 
 
I wonder, why such a 'responsible person' no less than a Chief Minister make such an irresponsible statements, dealing with highly  sensitive situation. It is certainly a bizarre paradox. 

Ironically enough, during his press conference yesterday, the Chief Minister was repeatedly showing a file containing the report from the PGIMR and vehemently asserting that by mid-
September 87 % of the Punjab population would be infected by Coronavirus, which quite sensibly the PGIMR immediately refused to authenticate and quickly refuted the claims made by the Punjab CM. 
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Punjab CM briefing the media on current Covid-19 situation in Punjab
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PGIMR even denied having undertaken any such study. But the categorical statement made by the Chief Minister had sent chilling waves all over Punjab and people were shell shocked to hear such a horrendous prediction of their Chief Minister. 

There is no harm seeking information from various agencies engaged in such micro level studies to calibrate preparedness modules but it is certainly unwise to make such unverified studies public, that too on the National Television. 

The mathematical model of study made by Dr. Shankar Prinja, Additional Professor of Health Economics, Community Medicine and School of Public Health, PGIMR and his team should have been corroborated and re-corroborated and subjected to thorough vetting by National Agencies such as ICMR (Indian Council for Medical Research) or by Central Health Education Bureau and other research based public Health agencies. 
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I agree that the Epidemiologists across the spectrum are using complex models to help policymakers get ahead of the Covd-19 pandemic. But the leap from equations to decisions is a long one and the mathematical models are certainly at variance than the other studies of clinical precisions.

Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh must refrain from making such unintelligent statement based on half-baked studies, particularly based only on Mathematical Models of the Study.
  
He should rather come out of his exorbitantly protected shell at ‘The Saragarhi Farms’ and visit boldly all the major Hospitals in the State to instill confidence among the Doctors, Nurses and Paramedical Staff including other front line supporting staff engaged in fighting the Coronavirus under most trying circumstances rather than playing optics on TV screens from his luxurious private sojourn in the Shivalik Foothills. 

This kind of brave endeavor of the Chief Minister would not only improve the conditions in the Health care centers, it would also embolden the courage of the Hospital Staff including Doctors. 

Being Ex-Army Captain he is expected to lead the State from the front by showing exemplary courage and generosity of spirit, during these difficult times, rather than making pessimistic and obnoxious statements from the safe haven at the cost of the State.

I am willing to accompany the Chief Minister on this particular endeavor for a change, if he so desires despite having unbridgeable repugnance for each other.


 

(The author is a former Deputy Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, and a politician celebrated for his grasp on legislative affairs.)

 

 


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