While some states of America are finally laying the groundwork to combat the coronavirus. Nepal has already deployed its frontline workers to the rural districts to test, trace, and isolate the COVID-19 positives. Many Nepalis from rural areas migrate to India for work. As they return home, there is a higher risk of infection. Nepal lacks resources, but it must rely on the frontline workers, who are determined to contain the virus.
The capital city, Kathmandu is a densely populated area. If the situation gets out of hand, even Kathmandu’s fate could be similar to New york city’s. So, it’s a good thing that Nepal locked down at the right time. Nepal is one of the worst managed countries in the world, hence, it cannot afford to turn into new york city. But this doesn’t mean Nepal is out of the woods yet. Nepal’s economy depends heavily on remittance. With the whole world under lockdown, it will severely affect its economy. As the lockdown continues, there is now a greater need to support the poor and how it will continue to do so, is still unknown.
While Nepal is getting praised for supposedly acting on time, it is also getting criticized for sealing its borders. There are thousands of Nepalis stranded in the Nepal-India border and in gulf countries. Nepal still has no plan to bring them home.
Natural disaster, although some may say, is a great equalizer. Unfortunately, it is not. The rich can afford to escape to a better place, but the poor cannot. In a country like Nepal, eventually, poor people will be left to fend for themselves. Just five years ago, Nepal was hit by a devastating earthquake, as it gradually tries to recover; now, it will have to deal with the aftermath of coronavirus.
There have been many conspiracy theories circulating that the virus was created in a lab by China. Looking at what has transpired, this cannot be true. The nature of this virus is such that it is very hard to contain. Even if Obama was in the white house, it would have been a tough task for him to fight this virus. However, with the right kind of leadership, one thing we know for sure is, America could have had lessened the number of deaths dramatically. Had Trump acted quickly, these many people wouldn’t have died. The way America handled COVID-19 will be a great case study on what not to do as a leader. It will be a case study on the failure of the leadership.
Widely spread news coverage also discusses how Americans are tired of staying home and they want to ‘open’ America. While that may be true in a few pockets around America, an overwhelming number of Americans support social distancing. Most Americans are smart enough to know what needs to be done. The reason social distancing needs to continue in America is that states have been left largely to fend for themselves. From buying Personal Protective equipment to planning their own test, trace, and isolate strategies. States have had to compete against one other to buy life-saving equipment. Often, costing a lot more money for something that could have been bought in a lesser amount, subsequently, wasting taxpayers’ money. The federal government has really let down the states. Although, Trump claims otherwise, the reality on the ground is as clear as water. Hence, with absolutely no strategy on scaling testing; some states are putting people’s lives in danger by ‘reopening’ their economy. But even the people of these states know that it’s a bad idea.
Even in such a powerful nation, the working class now has to bear the brunt. The unemployment rate has skyrocketed, millions have applied for the unemployment benefit. I can’t imagine how it will pan out in Nepal. But perhaps for the first time, it’s looking like Nepal is doing a better job than America in terms of responding to reduce the impact of the virus. But across the board, it’s the poor that are suffering the most, be it in one of the richest countries or the poorest one for that matter.