In Today’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, Zakaria argued that testing was the most crucial aspect of handling the crisis intelligently and that the models of response to the crisis need to be altered as new data comes in. Per him, the numbers predicted have not happened – which may obviously because of the lockdowns and shutting the economy – but he argues that these “may have worked too well.”
Almost a case of “if we do it right it will look like we didn’t need to do it“
He praises the testing process in South Korea which has a population of 51 million in an area of 38,000 square miles. By contrast, just one state in India – Uttar Pradesh, for example – has a population of 204 million in an area of 94,000 square miles. What is possible in South Korea, may not be possible in other countries. So the strategies have to be different for different countries and societies.
Take for example Pakistan. Just administering polio vaccines have led to killings by the extremists. Is widespread testing in that society even possible? Even in India’s Madhya Pradesh – some doctors went to do testing in Indore’s Tatpatti Bhakhal. They were pelted with stones by the folks there. Just managing the egos of some (Nihangs) and subversion by others (Tablighi Jamaat) has been such a hard task for the law enforcement agencies!
So, is complete testing even possible in such areas?
Even though Fareed Zakaria GPS is an interesting program and sometimes well researched, the issue is that Zakaria is way too ideologically compromised. He is looking for narratives and not really accounting for how every society and their challenges may be way different. The responses, therefore, need to be customized accordingly.