Last Gasp

What Tuberculosis can teach India about COVID-19

01 August 2020
Medical workers wearing personal protective equipment take care of a patient suffering from COVID-19 at a hospital in Delhi. The pandemic has redirected attention from all other health programmes.
Danish Siddiqui / REUTERS
Medical workers wearing personal protective equipment take care of a patient suffering from COVID-19 at a hospital in Delhi. The pandemic has redirected attention from all other health programmes.
Danish Siddiqui / REUTERS

{1}

IN DECEMBER 2019, Dr Lalit Anande was anxiously following the news from Wuhan. A mysterious SARS-like virus was spreading through the Chinese city. “I heard it was an airborne disease,” Anande told me, recalling the conversation among his doctor friends at the time. “We were hearing that patients had similar symptoms, like coughing, fever, et cetera.” 

Anande’s anxiety gave way to panic around February, when he saw videos coming out of China showing more and more people dying from COVID-19. “I thought Wuhan is a big city, but Mumbai is bigger in terms of population density. What would happen if something like this hits us?”

Vidya Krishnan is a writer and journalist. Her first book, Phantom Plague: The Untold Story of How Tuberculosis Shaped our History, will be published by PublicAffairs in 2021.

Keywords: COVID-19 Tuberculosis public health Mumbai WHO central drugs standard control organisation
COMMENT