Talk Money Weekly #005: India's COVID Disaster

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[00:00:00] Hey everyone, Mesh here and welcome back to our Wednesday short, the talk money weekly, where we talk about current business events that pair with our newsletter, which will now be released on Wednesdays along with this podcast, instead of Sundays. Today's episode: India's COVID disaster.


(Coin Drop)

[00:00:18]So I'm sure you've seen in the news over the last week or so that India has got a severe COVID outbreak and it's pretty bad. We've got a population of 1.4 [00:00:30] billion people. You're having 350,000 cases a day and around 2,500 deaths a day. And let's just assume that's under-reported right, because

[00:00:40] because honestly like between India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh  one could assume that they're reporting significantly less. Honestly, I don't know how they would keep track of that, especially in places like the villages and stuff. I don't know how they're keeping track of the cases, assume that a lot of people are not even going to the hospitals or reporting this.  Now this is a really [00:01:00] really bad situation because 

[00:01:01] after the first wave, people kind of ignored the problem. It was something similar in the US. They ignore the first wave. They don't do anything about it.  They haven't really been deploying the vaccine that well. I believe it's only about 2% of people in India are vaccinated,  similar low numbers in other parts of South Asia as well. Clearly, this is a problem because now we have other variants, again, something very similar to what happened in the US, except here it's like the population density is insane, right? Like you have clusters [00:01:30] of folks that are living on top of each other in parts of India and stuff can spread really, really quickly, especially if you're not really paying attention to it.

[00:01:38] I'm not telling you anything new. You already know this. This is something that happened in the US already and other parts of the world. The problem with India is that this is one year after COVID started. And now they're just trying to catch up with everything. The country’s leadership has been absolutely terrible in this.

[00:01:54] The issue is that there's not enough hospital beds. There's not enough oxygen and there's not enough medical supplies to [00:02:00] be treating these people. You know, when we talk about the vaccine, it's like, yes, they don't have enough in vaccines, but honestly, what I think the main thing they need right now is oxygen and medical supplies.

[00:02:08] And so this is a humanitarian issue. We're talking like a massive country, not only massive in terms of population , but massive in terms of economic influence on the world. At the end of the day, the  US does have a responsibility to the world.

[00:02:21] You want to be the most powerful country in the world. You want to be the wealthiest country in the world. You have to do your part in helping others. And that's also just a good business decision. [00:02:30] Here you got a country like India, where you can actually go in, do what you need to do to help the country in terms of providing raw materials for vaccine,

[00:02:38]providing medical supplies, providing aid, providing oxygen, which I believe the US is the biggest producer about. And then you can go and do literally an amazing political campaign for the US which would be great given post-Trump, the world thinks that us is an isolation mode.

[00:02:54] And so here you could be not only a savior, but this works in many ways, positively for the [00:03:00] US.

[00:03:00] It's not only positive in terms of building good diplomatic ties with India, which is an economic powerhouse in the world, but it also counters to what China has been doing, which China has been providing vaccines and their influence in that whole region.

[00:03:15] And given that China is a big threat to the US economically as well as politically, this is a good way to like, play that proxy battle, as well as obviously helping people when they're in need. The other issue is that India can't seem to get their shit together in terms [00:03:30] of vaccine deployment, let alone controlling the amount of cases that are going out there.

[00:03:34] And the US is sitting on a stockpile of vaccines. I believe that the U S has something like  70 million doses of a vaccine after everyone has been vaccinated.  And apparently now they're going to be releasing the, the AstraZeneca vaccine to India.

[00:03:49] One of which I'm not even sure that most Americans I've even gotten. I'm pretty sure it's Pfizer, J & J and Moderna. And so now the other problem is this is kind of like a business [00:04:00] situation. You've got these pharmaceutical companies that are controlling the fucking patents on these things, right? So like, is this bad business from like, are you making a bunch of money off people's lives here?

[00:04:10] And one could argue, yes, but you do need a bunch of money for R&D and all that and deployment, but then you have a situation here where  they don't want to loosen the patents to allow India to  produce this at scale. And India does have the facilities to produce a vaccine at scale, but they just need the raw materials to do that and let alone, they need  permission to be able to do that [00:04:30] from these big pharmaceutical companies.  I think we're going to talk about that next week diving into like big pharma here and like what is a good and bad decision? The government has a couple things that they're stressed out about. One it's a diplomatic issue.

[00:04:41] They don't want to look like they're not focused on the US and helping other people. I mean, that's kind of ridiculous at this point, given how many vaccines they have and raw materials and oxygen. This is just good business. Send that shit over to India, help the people that have been helping us, given that India  did help, along with other countries when the US was in a bad [00:05:00] situation.  It would be a good diplomatic decision. The other thing is that, you know, India has always been a big part of the US whether it's, in terms of outsourcing employment or let alone bring talent here.

[00:05:10] And so you don't want to mess up those ties and the other stresses, I'm pretty sure that big pharma could be pressuring the us government from a lobbying standpoint on what is allowed, what is not allowed, at the end of the day, these things are produced at scale.

[00:05:24] There's only so many people that can produce these vaccines and they want to charge a certain amount for them. So [00:05:30] like, what's the right decision there. The right decision is go fucking help these people that are in a bad situation. 

[00:05:34]The other thing you want to do is you do actually want to restrict travel. This is not like shutting down borders to India.

[00:05:40] This is like, hey, we don't want this thing to spread. We don't want this variant to come into the US, let alone anywhere else in the world. And you want to isolate it and then just treat those people. So there's a couple things here. I think that one, the US has been slow to react on this and they do need to provide the raw materials and oxygen that's needed to these countries.

[00:05:58] And this is a great way for [00:06:00] the US to rebuild hteir status as a global power. Think about World War II and Reconstruction. It really was the opportunity for the US to become the most powerful country in the world. And now you have countries like India, like China that are up and coming. And so how do you battle that?

[00:06:14] Both from a diplomatic standpoint, from an economic standpoint, and just again, what's the right humanitarian thing to do.


So that's it for this week. Make sure you're subscribed to the Talk Money newsletter to get more business news released every Wednesday, along with this podcast. [00:06:30] Until next time.

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