Day 411: Numbers

Source: Press Information Bureau of India

29/04/2021

Day 411: Numbers 

These days life is back to the same rhythm of early days of the pandemic. In between reading, writing, cooking and work calls there is a stream of situations and news updates. There is a constant need to keep a tab on how people and places that you know are dealing with the pandemic. Even through these activities it feels as though there is a disguised state that is idle and paralysed seeing all that is happening around. 

Someone said that deaths for the week ahead are already dialed in. The remark had a kind of crudeness to it that fits these times. India lost 3645 lives today. Over 15 million people were vaccinated. 18 million new cases of infections were confirmed. This is where the country stands. I am taken by an urge to record this day in numbers, just to look back at these days from a different point in the future. Implicit in this urge is an assumption of outlasting this pandemic. 

This is easily the most datafied epidemic that we have known. The severity of it is understood only when enough numbers of different types are placed together. Numbers have been equally necessary to draw comfort -’the person’s oxygen saturation is fine’; ‘the daily numbers are coming down’; ‘fatality rate is low’; ‘R0 should be less than 1’, ‘Delhi needs 700 tons of oxygen’… there’s a statistic for every occasion. 

It is the third day of lockdown.

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