Episode 9

(Published on 05/10/2021)

India’s COVID-19 Crisis: The Case for Strong Leadership and Skilled Coordination

As India battles a catastrophic second COVID-19 surge, Dr. Venkat Narayan, Professor of Global Health and Epidemiology and Professor of Medicine at Emory University joins our podcast. He talks about how this pandemic has shown the world the importance of responsible, ethical leadership, strong science, open data, preparedness, and collaboration across borders. His final exhortation is let this be a call for global equity.

Special Guests


  • 06:10 — The three factors that made COVID-19 the perfect example of a syndemic.
  • 08:28 — India looked like it was weathering the COVID storm. What went wrong?
  • 15:00 — The pandemic has shown the need for responsible, ethical leadership, strong science, open data, and preparedness.
  • 15:31 — India’s vaccination challenge. India manufactures 60-70% of the world’s vaccines. Yet only 2% of India’s population is fully COVID vaccinated. With a population of 1.4 billion, reaching herd immunity will require 10-15 million vaccinations daily.
  • 24:05 — India has the infrastructure to manage this – from vaccine manufacturers to a civil service and rail network but this effort will need very skilled collaboration, coalitions and coordination.
  • 30:00 — India needs a central vaccine communication center – vaccine reluctance can be combatted with sensitive, consistent messaging.
  • 32:15 — The healthcare system is stretched to its limits. The lesson to learn here is listen to the data: it provides a window to prepare and plan.
  • 44:20 — This virus does not respect societal biases. It infects all, regardless of age, gender, race, or religion
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