Review: No time to hide Covid-19 

Subramani Ra Mancombu | Updated on: Jul 06, 2022

The book is a ready reckoner on Covid, particularly for details on the UN response, how various nations reacted to the pandemic and how India tackled it 

The Covid pandemic is one of the worst things we have seen in recent times. No other disease or outbreak has had the impact that Covid has had on the global community. Deaths, economic losses, production slowdown and helplessness among humans… the list of issues that people had to face during Covid is endless and the pandemic remains a source of worry. It has turned endemic now, though.  

 It is in this context that the book by Ashok Nilakantan aka TN Ashok, a former journalist, assumes significance. It is a compilation of various issues, including articles that Ashok has written, on incidents that took place, and the issues the world faced during the pandemic. To be fair to the author, he has painstakingly compiled these. And diligently too. 

 Ashok begins his book on an interesting note, by providing details about various pandemics that have affected the world. The author explains the diseases, their symptoms and signs, their evolution, impact and virology. An interesting fact about these pandemics is the Spanish Flu, which has no relation to Spain. In fact, it was brought by US soldiers from China! The disease broke out before the First World War and claimed between 20 to 50 million people - a third of the global population then. Like Covid, its second wave was deadly, particularly in India, claiming 12.5 million to 20 million lives.  

Global community response 

Ashok then looks at statements by leaders across the world, on Covid followed by the responses of the global community, to the pandemic outbreak. It brings to light how the US, the UK, Spain and Italy had to suffer before they could evolve a plan to contain it. The author also deals with how India tackled the pandemic and dwells on how the country carried out a massive campaign to contain Covid.  

Ashok says his inspiration for the book came from the death of his bosom friends, particularly journalists, while covering the pandemic’s development. According to him, they suffered the “ignominy of misinformation, disinformation and white lies”. 

The author even calls the book a compendium and a reference book for whatever purpose the readers may think of. In fact, it can be a ready reckoner on Covid, particularly for those looking for details on the UN response, how various nations reacted to the pandemic and how India tackled it. The author has said the book can probably be handy 10 years later for people to know what Covid was and the trail of destruction it left.  

However, there are a couple of things the author could have done to make the book livelier. This is because the author has a journalistic background. One is the fact that China never told the world where the pandemic emanated from and how. It refused to share any detail, resulting in the global community staring at a blank wall.  

UN fails in its duty 

The UN, too, failed in its duty in informing the world pretty late on the outbreak. Its reluctance to pin the blame on China is another worrisome factor. As regards India, the Union Government carried out many measures. In fact, it had tackled the pandemic better than many developed nations.  

Not just that, its economy was not affected like other nations, including China. Fortunately for India, the first Covid wave left the rural parts mostly untouched. It helped the rural economy lead the development, with tractor sales booming during the period. India also came up with a scheme to distribute free grains under the Prime Minister’s  Garib Kalyan Yojana for the poor, which has proved to be of great succour to many below the poverty line.  

Despite these setbacks, Ashok has attempted something unique that deserves to be applauded. This certainly is a ready reckoner on the pandemic.  

Check out the book on Amazon here

Book Review: No Time To Hide Covid-19 

By Ashok Nilakantan 

Publisher: Notion Press 

Pages: 376 

Price: Rs 499 

Published on July 06, 2022
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