While Covid-19 brings grief to those who lose their near and dear ones, for some it is a great opportunity to make big money and add to their bank account. OSWALD PEREIRA wonders how much of this money will be added to their Karmic account
As India is in the throes of the dreaded second Covid-19 wave, the good and the bad of humankind has come to the fore. In hospitals all over the country, doctors, nurses and other staff continue working round-the-clock to rescue lives, at great personal risk.
Wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which makes them break out into a hot sweat within a few minutes after it is worn, they nevertheless carry on with their duties for hours on end.
Doctors and health staff have not buckled under the coronavirus assault, and continue doing their job, despite losing hundreds of their fraternity to the ruthless Covid-19, which shows no signs of abating.
While they are the corona warriors, the angels in PPEs, the pandemic has bred a virulent tribe of Covid-19 demons, who are sucking dry the hard-earned money of the families of the patients.
Dr Parakala Prabhakar, a noted political economist and former communications advisor in the Andhra Pradesh government, (and who is the husband of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman), in a YouTube video said, “A dear friend died, leaving behind his helpless widow and two daughters of marriageable age.”
The friend had been admitted to hospital for treatment of Covid-19. “All the family’s savings were vacuumed by the rapacious hospital,” he said.
Another friend who admitted his Covid-infected 81-year-old father to a private hospital for treatment was charged Rs one lakh every day and he had to pay cash every two days in advance for the next two days’ treatment, Dr Prabhakar said. If there was any delay in payment, the hospital threatened to discontinue treatment.
“My friend was not told what exactly was the treatment given to his father,” he said.
“After 15 days in hospital, the father died, leaving the family in the red by 20 lakh rupees,” he added.
He said, “Many lost incomes, livelihoods; families were scarred. Most of them have not yet recovered from their financial loss, and for many, jobs have not returned.”
Saying that was the effect of the Covid’s first coming, he said that the second coming now being witnessed, “seems to be even more virulent.”
“It’s a crisis; a health emergency,” he remarked.
We are at the beginning of the second coming or the second wave, but the Covid-19 merchants have already begun sharpening their claws to extort money from the hapless victims of the pandemic.
A doctor, who has his videos splashed over YouTube, charged a thousand rupees for online consultation on Covid-19 during the first wave. Today, came the news that he now charges five times ― an incredible five thousand rupees for online consultation. Since whole families are struck by the virus and treat themselves at home with prescribed medicine, the lucky doctor is, indeed, making a killing.
My 92-year-old close relative, living in Noida, was treated at home for Covid-19. The nurse and the attendant were good and dedicated. They came through a private agency, which charged Rs 90,000 for 10 days with extra charged for other actuals such as masks, sanitisers, gloves and PPE kits. Boarding and food were on the house.
An oxygen concentrator, which normally costs Rs 40,000 was ordered, but the supplier knocked out Rs 60,000 for the equipment, taking advantage of the crisis.
The patient, unfortunately, died of the virus. Then started preparations for the cremation.
There was no room for cremation in Noida or Delhi. The crematoriums were fully booked for the day.
A funeral service popped up in search engines. They offered room in a crematorium in Greater Noida. The price was Rs 30,000.
In fact, all so-called scarce medical supplies, including oxygen and life-saving Covid-19 drugs are available in the black market, thanks to the enterprising Covid-19 merchants.
Covid-19 is grief for those who lose their near and dear ones. For the Covid19 merchants, however, it is a great opportunity to make big money and add to their bank account. I am wondering how much of this money will be added to their Karmic account.