Debraj Ray and S. Subramanian in the Boston Review:
It has been just over five months since the first case of COVID-19 was detected in India. With nearly a million confirmed cases, the country now has the third greatest number of infections, behind only the United States and Brazil. At least 25,000 people have died.
The outbreak began, as it did elsewhere, with an isolated case—a student at Wuhan University who had returned to Kerala in late January. Before long the infection had moved into community transmission, with over 1,000 confirmed reports by the end of March. But in the central government’s scheme of priorities, COVID-19 was initially swamped by other preoccupations: Assembly elections in Delhi, murderous communal atrocities in the aftermath of a profoundly provocative Citizenship Amendment Act passed last year, Donald Trump’s visit to India in late February, and the politics of regime change in the state of Madhya Pradesh.