EP 149: India to get raw material for vaccines, Biden’s performance according to a Fox Poll & more

The main points for today's discussion are: 1. US to provide India with raw material for COVID Vaccines 2. By stark 46% to 15% margin US Border Security is worse today than before, in Fox Poll 3. Phase 1 trials of Bharat Biotech Nasal Vaccine in progress

Sree Iyer:  Namaskar and welcome to Episode number 149 of Daily Global Insights with Sri and Sree. Today is April 26th and here are the main points:

  • US to provide India with raw material for COVID Vaccines
  • By stark 46% to 15% margin, US Border Security is worse today than before, in Fox Poll
  • Phase 1 trials of Bharat Biotech Nasal Vaccine in progress

We will be looking a little bit at the details of the fox poll that was released today. So, your initial thoughts about the first hundred days of Biden. These are all, you know, pointers to what he has been doing.

Sridhar Chityala: I think the first hundred days of Mr Biden, the curated numbers point that he has got a 52% approval. We have seen the poll results come out from Fox. The numbers is a stock reality as to how this 52% comes up. When you look at infrastructure when you look at immigration when you look at the overall security when you also look at the General State of Affairs in terms of crimes in various States. The gun control laws that are being promulgated, whether it’s really going to address. So we look at the numbers but my first reaction is that the mainstream media with the Democrats have given a very good curated narrative in terms of Biden’s progress. Having said that Biden has executed maniacally using his bare, minimum advantage in Senate and Slender majority in the house and a combination of executive orders to pursue the agenda that he promised to the voters on that he gets a very high score, doesn’t matter, he hasn’t been swayed you know, he has kind of moved on that in a relentless manner.

Sree Iyer: So we will today start with global covid updates because there’s much that is happening the United States has decided to provide India with raw material for covid. Vaccines Anthony Fauci says that the US will consider sending the AstraZeneca vaccine to covid it India. EU to send medicine and oxygen for virus hit India and looking to help and support India says Boris Johnson the prime minister of the United Kingdom and Phase 1 trials of Bharat Biotech nasal vaccines are in progress. So with all these settings, everything around and India, I’m going to put up a quick summary of where things stand with respect to India today and this will be in the form of a slide show sir and I would like to let you know that I am on the first thing which is the total status as on the 25th of April 2021. Sir, take it away.

Sridhar Chityala: Great to give you headline numbers out of 17 million cases, 14.08 million have recovered. 2.68 million active, and 192311 deaths. Overall, when you look at the headline numbers, the recovery rate is extraordinary relative to what we witnessed around in the United States. When we had such peak numbers flowing through, we had almost 24 to 28% of the people active relative to what you see here by way of the active number to the recovered numbers even the death, you know, is very relative, I think, 1.18 or 1.14 less than 1.2% the death rate, but having said that the visibility of suffering and the concentrated number of states is making these very exacerbated people suffering due to lack of oxygen, lack of beds, lack of hospitals and vaccines waiting for raw materials all make it a case of, you know, how you address this issue and this is not the right time for people to hold up raw materials etc. when a Nation needs an enormous amount of support.

Sree Iyer: And sir, now we are looking at the top 12 states that have been hit the most with the coronavirus starting with Maharashtra.

Sridhar Chityala: One of the unusual things that India is witnessing is almost 40% of the active cases in total cases concentrated in one specific State and which stands out, which is Maharashtra. When you take a look at this top, 12 states, roughly make up between 60 to 70% of the cases. So, Maharashtra has got 4.2 million total cases and then the discharged or recovered is 3.46 million again, when you look at the number of deaths, which is 63,000 or 64,000 in a total of 192 is greater than 30% or close to 30%. So the numbers are staggering in terms of the concentration of locations. Kerala 1.37 million total cases in terms of the total confirmed cases by second, you can see the difference between Maharashtra and Kerala by way of numbers. 1.17 million discharged, which is almost you know, 200,000 people active you know that’s roughly 10% of the total. Then you have the deaths which is very modest 5080 related to the number and which means they have managed the environment reasonably well, Karnataka 1.3 million of which 1.05 discharge and then you have 14,283. You can see Maharashtra, Kerala Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, UP, Andhra Pradesh, Bengal, Delhi even Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The total number of cases may be greater than 4 million, but when you look at the number of deaths and when you look at the number of discharge, it’s a very small number. You know, when you look at Rajasthan to Gujarat, so, if you manage nine states effectively, especially if you contain Maharashtra,  Kerala Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, or to some extent even with a Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh is out of 1.05 million 752000 million have been discharged. So you’re talking about less than 250000 people active, you can address the issue has been discharged. So you’re talking about less than 250,000 people active, you believe that you know, you can, you can begin to address the issues.

Sree Iyer: And we are now looking at sir, the medium hit states such as Haryana,  Odisha Telangana and so on.

Sridhar Chityala: Yeah, these are the lower strata of states where the numbers range from 40,000 cases to about 3.7 million cases. You can see Haryana, Odisha and Telangana, and Bihar are right up to Jharkhand right up to Assam is about, you know, 2 million to the 4 million cases, then it slides down quite rapidly.

Sree Iyer: Sir, it’s not 2 million, Assam is 235,000.

Sridhar Chityala: Assam is 235,000, my apologies. Then you have, yes, it’s 332, 195, 158. So these are less than half a million, totally confirmed cases, and then you will find, you know, the active number of cases in most instances is probably, starting with less than 60,000. So, 60,000 per state in these 12 States. So, relatively in the smallest states, either they have managed it well, or, you know, they have the facilities to deal with the issues or the variance have not spread, they seem to be concentrated in the, in those top five to six days, in fact, we put it as nine states. So, I think in the second category, I think we see that that there is, there is plenty of opportunities to make sure that they don’t do lockdowns and shutdowns, lockdowns and shutdowns have not worked. If anybody needs empirical evidence, they can look at India itself but you need to come to the United States to look at how non-lockdown states have performed relative to lockdown States.

Sree Iyer: And then to close it out we have the really less affected areas such as Chandigarh, Tripura, North Eastern states where it is even less than that less than 40,000 confirmed cases.  Sir, if you want to touch upon that?

Sridhar Chityala: I think that what it means that they’ve been a great job, you know, 12 States, these are a relatively small population, spread mostly in Northeast and then some in the Western and then two of them in the outer periphery you know they have managed it well up in the north as well they have managed in Jammu as well as in the Chandigarh and Ladakh and Chandigarh is about 37,000, and then Ladakh is about 13,000 cases that’s number one number 7, then, you know, from rest of the states are located in the Northeast. Then you have the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, you also have the Lakshadweep relatively. So if you break up these 36 States consisting of Union Territories and States. If they can concentrate on those top nine states it may be able to very quickly turn its head on the covid situation.

Sree Iyer:   And in the United States itself, a fully open, Texas and Florida are reporting fewer covid-19 instances than the democrat-led states, such as New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan. So, there appears to be a contraindication. Here, the more you lockdown. Looks like the more, the covid rages. So, I mean, I’m trying to make sense of this. What are your thoughts? Why is this happening, you think?

Sridhar Chityala:  it’s going back about a year. I am, I’m talking about March to Mid April 2020. One of the doctors, You know, whom I know and from whom I take treatment he is one of the first hundred people who had contracted covid-19, you know, those days protocols were just still evolving data was insufficient, then he recovered spending almost took 7-8 weeks for him to recover. Then he came out and he is a United Nations advisory member and he spoke about what needs to be done and how he got out. Some of his key messages at that point of time was that people should not be locked out at that point of time beyond 90 days somewhere June to July, people should be allowed to go out, allowed to mix allow to be exposed to the atmosphere. People should wear masks, follow social distancing and slowly advance or narrow the social distancing gap as they become acclimatized and more and more evolved into a community-based immunity system. But locking down people for any time, there is the first instance, for what you call an enormous amount of time is not very helpful in the advancement of this disease. And especially, he pointed out to the cities, like, Manhattan, maybe have tall buildings and the air conditioning System becomes a conducive mechanism to propagate this disease. So wherever you have concentrated people, again concentrated in buildings and rooms and blocks and with no exposure to the atmosphere is not a good way to mitigate. Now as you can imagine, if you take Texas and Florida, the broad States broader states, they don’t have tall structures in many places. Have not concentrated, whether is much hotter and people are more outdoors, rather than indoors. So this is the secret. And obviously, they have to follow. There was spurred in Florida with the markets, everybody went to the beach and then the case is spurred up. But then they began to realize that, you know, you are open but at the same time you are exercising caution. That’s the message that is coming through from Florida and Texas whereas we continue to think that we have to lock down and lockdown and knockdown. That’s not very helpful. I think that’s the message for this.

Sree Iyer:  And in US News, let us take a look at some of the critical numbers that a fox poll has found for President Biden.

Sridhar Chityala:  So, when we look at the fox poll, the first numbers that pop up is around the border security. So people are saying that only 15% say now that they’re better of relative to 46% who are saying that we are worse off compared to two years ago. So when you look at the numbers, two years ago, in 2018 who said you know is two years ago are we better 28%. Two years ago, people say are you worse off 17%. 50% of the people two years ago stated that you know it’s the same you know this constant attempt to cross the border which is a reason why President Trump at that point of time embark on this big border wall initiative, which was contentious much contentious eventually, it started and made its progress until the Democrats stopped it. And now they want to start it again. So when you look at today almost like 1:3 ratio, people are saying we are worse off and numbers tell the story and the polls are reflecting the same outcome. So when you look at the next set of data which is around the five parameters, the Economy, Gun laws, Healthcare, infrastructure, and illegal immigration, obviously the state of the economy and then the gun laws which is you go, you have seen a number of incidents, and the growth in cried, the health care because it is going to and fro and Obama expanded care is now coming into perspective, then the infrastructure which doesn’t seem to be infrastructure. It seems to be a lot of wastage of expenditure when you look at the Republican proposal on the table which is around 700 billion dollars. Then, look at illegal immigration when you look at this parameter, when you look at these numbers, you can see that people are either extremely or very concerned and that percentage ranges from 67% to 78%. The reason why the economy is at 78% notwithstanding the markets being close to 9% up since all these years depending upon which index you are talking about. The concern is around the Taxation and corporate taxes, the taxes that are rising to basically feed and support the illegal immigrants. The capital gains tax that has come in, the Estate Duty and I think the next to touch will be the personal income taxes. That’s likely to come clearly from taxes, personal taxes are going to be repealed. So these are the things that make up the economy story as to why the percentage that people are very highly concerned that number is a reflection of that no need to discuss guns laws or Health Care or infrastructure we have discussed it and these numbers just reinforce.

Sree Iyer: Yes, indeed sir. And let’s take a quick look at the next news item. The next news item which is Putin and Biden may meet in June, Russia’s media is reporting now. What do you think they will be discussing here sir?

Sridhar Chityala:  I think they will be discussing three specific items one, they are not going to discussing climate Accord, which is Biden’s topic. He is coming out of remembering that is June times coincides with the G7 Summit, he is meetings with EU, he’s also addressing the NATO meeting. So that’s his first overseas trip to UK and Brussels or Belgium. So I think on the sidelines, especially, they’re trying to schedule a meeting with Mr Putin. So what are we going to discuss? They are going to discuss, Ukraine. They’re going to discuss whether interference in US Affairs, Cyberattacks etc., those types of items and then opening up the Kerch Strait and the Baltic Waters, So, Black Sea. So I think those are the topics that it would that they would feature. I am sure they would also discuss covid.  As far as the green climate is concerned, I don’t know whether Russia can be held ever accountable for that, but I’m sure the topic may come up.

Sree Iyer: Senator Lindsey Graham calls out Biden Foreign policy as being destabilizing. This is a senior senator from the Republican side, and if he says this, there must be cause for concern, sir.

Sridhar Chityala: Afghanistan is a sore point for Mr Lindsey Graham. Withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and placing reliance on the Taliban to negotiate and to have a harmonious and peaceful integration with mainstream Afghan Society, Lindsey Graham, who knows a lot about Afghanistan doesn’t believe in it. He has similar views on Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Kurd and he is very much interventionist as far as Syria is concerned. Whether we agree with it or not is an entirely different point. Obviously, he has concerned that the eyes are being taken of the South China Sea where we have the biggest threat.

Sree Iyer: Vice President Kamala Harris says that migrants surges are not going to be solved overnight. You created the problem overnight, though.

Sridhar Chityala: Well, they created the problem overnight. We have to understand the language. They call it the migrant surge, so it’s no longer illegal. It’s a migrant surge that is happening at the border. The words tell the perception of the mindset and the policy framework that Democrats have. They think that everybody who is coming here, legally or illegally, is now called a migrant or an aspiring migrant attempting to come in, either to join the family or to in pursuit of work and they should be encouraged. By the way Mr George W Bush, the former president has also joined the fray and talks about a sympathetic and compassionate approach in dealing with the border crisis. So Kamala Harris has no solution. What does she say? She says that it’s not going to be solved overnight. Well, as you rightly pointed out, they created the problem and they have no ability to stop it right now.

Sree Iyer: This is going to come and bite them really, really badly in 2022. Even a political novice like me can tell you this is not going to end well for Democrat. Let’s see how it plays out.

Sir, Kentucky’s attorney general blast Biden for polarizing the nation on racial Injustice. What is the context under which he saying this?

Sridhar Chityala: The context is this Kia Bryant, the context is George Floyd, the context is the agitations that are spewing up, the context is some of the afflicted communities, be it African-American or Latino or some of the crimes against the Asian. By taking sides with this approach called depolarizing we’re swinging this the other way and making a conspicuous difference like in a white and black. He saying this is not very helpful. It’s not going to create social harmony. It is going to create permanent ripples in society and that’s going to take quite a bit of time. We already have challenges, we have whoo culture now in corporations, we have seen by MLB game being postponed because they believe that the Georgian laws were biased against African-American and prejudiced against some of the other less advantaged communities. So, all these things put together in a nutshell, the Kentucky Attorney General is taking a blast.

Sree Iyer: Senator Manchin rails against eliminating the filibuster, supports targeted infrastructure bill and opposes reconciliation. I don’t think even this bill is going 50/50 because Manchin is a democrat, isn’t he?

Sridhar Chityala: Manchin is a Democrat from West Virginia. Usually, you have 7-8 senators from the Republican party who generally have toed the line like Thune, Murkowski, Mitt Romney, the Pennsylvania senator who is retiring. These people have put on the infrastructure plan, the fact that these Senators have come up with a number, which we presented in I think a Thursday or Friday in the DGI, represented and that seems like a very reasonable plan. So Manchin is saying that plan is much more competitive and supportive, it’s very targeted. Second, he said, I am not going to be in the Senate that is going to burst the filibuster and go down a path that is very much partisan in terms of getting the policies. You cannot have a partisan policy that becomes the national policy notwithstanding the fact you may have a margin thin majority. In a filibuster, you have a 2/3 that means at least you have your vast representation of the country. So that’s his point around filibuster and on the infrastructure.

Sree Iyer: In Global News, Turkey summons the US ambassador over the genocide announcement. So now things are beginning to heat up with the US’s friend Turkey or would we say, partner. What would be the status that one can best describe US and Turkey?

Sridhar Chityala: Sir, the best way to describe the US and Turkey is convenient engagement on an opportunistic basis. So I don’t know, they probably are healing to the Armenian scenario. A lot of Biden’s policies are flip-flop. So, today Biden has announced recognizing the genocide. Obviously, that’s one of the other Progressive agenda items. Turkey has basically said we don’t accept it. Why are you rewriting, going back in history and time? This is not the last one that we have here, something will be about in due course.

Sree Iyer: 74% of Japanese support engagement in Taiwan Strait according to a Nikkei poll. So looks like Japan is itching for a fight.

Sridhar Chityala: No, I think Japan is very concerned about security. The Japanese are concerned about security, especially in the Senkaku Islands where you have the fisherman. That’s one area, which is close to their territory. The second is the South China Sea as a strait. Japan is reliant on energy, food supplies and other aspects. Remember, Japan is the one which probably is preparing also, had a long war and is preparing itself for what happens if you have a 200-day war or a 250-day war. So they have started to prepare and plan in the event of a war. If there is a blockade how the population of the country has to deal with it, and how the supply chain needs to be dealt with. The covid has certainly left them very sore and burned. So now the next thing that needs to happen or if it happens, the Taiwan Strait, Japan will become very, very vulnerable in terms of its security. That’s reflected in the pulse of the people.

Sree Iyer: The sunken Indonesian submarine has been found to be split into three parts and all 53 are dead. It’s all confirmed. Sir, your thoughts on this?

Sridhar Chityala: It is very, very sad and the fact that it split into three, natural or unnatural, we don’t know. But right now the Indonesian Navy is confirming it, the Indonesian Army is confirming that all passengers are dead. They have found enough debris to make that specific case. It is very sad but Indonesian waters are very, very hostile. This is not the first and this is not going to be the last incident.

Sree Iyer: The French detain 5 amid terrorism investigation of a deadly police station attack. A little more information on this, sir, where did this attack happen? Who are the people who have been detained?

Sridhar Chityala: I think that the attack happened around the police station in one of the Suburban areas, and the policewoman who was standing outside and was stabbed to death. The investigations revealed at least a few people have been involved of which the first four arrests have been made and then the fifth arrest was made today. Many of them seem to be of either Tunisian or some origin of that category. So they’ve categorized it as a terrorist incident. We will wait for some more data to come out but it seems like the fifth person arrested, their parents gave him an address and location for him, we have very sketchy details but when you look at the data, at least from a key headline, point of view, it looks like whether it was orchestrated or whether it was what you call a knee-jerk response or an opportunistic incident that happened, but the French are investigating. Remember, France is the only country and this couple of other European States that have been taking a very strong stance by making sure that the French culture and identity is preserved and maintained and people don’t impose themselves. They’ve been tackling issues head-on, whatever you may want to call, Jihadism or Islamism or so. We have seen the repercussions of the French issue in Pakistan to the extent that I think the embassy has withdrawn some of its staff and issued a warning to the French citizens if they happen to be in Pakistan to move, nothing to do with this incident but wherever there is the reaction to the French laws which have become far more stringent in dealing with these issues. Again, this is not the first time, we had the Charlie Hebdo issue which was left to simmer until Macron came and took it head-on.

Sree Iyer: EU says, now that CCP is endangering peace in the South China Sea. It is a strong statement from the EU. Chinese premier or should I say, Prime Minister Li Keqiang met the leaders from EU and Asia seeking support for the EU trade deal. Viewers, there are two camps, at least that we know of inside the CCP, one belongs to Xi Jinping and the other one is  Li Keqiang and looks like these are the moves from the other side, sir.

Sridhar Chityala: It’s very interesting that this meeting occurred in Chengdu. There were, I think, eight countries, Germany, France, Netherlands, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Singapore were countries at this meet. Mr Li Kequiang addressed the gathering and said, ‘we are all doing business here, there’s no change in the business rules, we encourage you to exert your influence and make sure that the EU deal comes through.’ Obviously, France, Germany, Netherlands were the most influential members. They added Hungary to that list as well. It’s interesting that it is, as you rightly said, is the second camp, rather than the first camp.

Sree Iyer: In Indian News, BHEL commences supply of oxygen from Bhopal and Haridwar facilities. Indian railways deliver 150 tons of medical oxygen. ITC group is going to import 24 cryogenic containers with a capacity to carry 20 tons of oxygen each. The IAF, Indian Air Force C-17, airlift for 4 cryogenic tanks from Singapore. And the Modi government ramps up Remdesivir production from 70 lakh vials per month to 90 lakh vials per month. India is fighting back.

Sridhar Chityala: India is fighting back. The data that I have from various sources is that going back to the last quarter of 2020, each of the states was set aside a specific budget to augment their oxygen requirement. We know that covid disease attacks the respiratory system. When it attacks the respiratory system you have less oxygen supply than normal and many of them suffer and this thing propagates if the oxygen is not augmented and the lungs are not receiving enough supply which in turn affects your cardio system. So the point here, is that each of the states was given money and some of the states have implemented the oxygen augmentation program. And what you find is that in many of the hospitals in the top 12 states, there is a complete lack of augmentation, there are no production facilities, specifically Maharashtra and Delhi. Even Ayodhya a small place in UP has got 2 hospitals with enough oxygen supplies and I think they’ve created a 2000 bed facility. When you take into account the situation in Maharashtra and Delhi I’m told that there’s only one facility that has been created out of the budgets that are allocated. This was taken up by Modi himself at the chief ministers meeting. Of course, in West Bengal, the Madam chief minister or the Madame Queen, doesn’t attend any of the meetings, she doesn’t think that she wants to be part of the Union. Anyway, So I think this oxygen is a reflection that India as a whole from corporations to the infrastructure like planes and railways and so on are ramping up their game to provide the logistical support to make sure that the oxygen is reaching the right places.

Sree Iyer: Border Security Force foils attempts by Pakistani drones to drop arms and ammunition. The Indian Navy begins the process to lease 24 light Navy helicopters for five years. So India is beginning to also prepare in an armed way, sir.

Sridhar Chityala: They are going about in 2 places. One up in the north – the whole logistics, infrastructure and it looks like they have fairly good army architecture in place from three forces. Now, with the Rafale planes coming in and with the BrahMos missiles as well as their light tanks and special moving tanks in those mountainous terrains, they seem to have augmented themselves. They recognise that in the Indian Ocean, the Indo-Pacific site, they need submarines plus they also require more logistical capabilities in the carriers. So, what you can see here is that the naval helicopters, which is basically to move from land into to the ships or land to the carriers, so they are augmenting that. They are thinking ahead and advancing the logistical plans in tune with this much advertised or much-spoken rhetoric that there is an imminent threat that is looming around Taiwan which can easily spread. There is also a threat to the Philippines side that they are going to occupy that specific side. What the Philippines President Duterte does, we don’t know, whether he will strike a deal or whether he will confront the Chinese in concert with their allies, which is the United States, and ASEAN remains to be seen. But India is equipping itself because it will spill into India or India may be called in to provide blockage and support etc.

Sree Iyer: In markets news, stock futures are calm in anticipation of the big earnings this week. Earnings to watch for are Tesla, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon. The FOMC meeting is going to be happening this week. What are your predictions for the FOMC, sir?

Sridhar Chityala: The prediction for FOMC is no change in policy, we have been able to hold the bond rates. We have not still seen the uptick in employment numbers. We are going to wait and watch. But clearly, 2021 has no interest rates and we will continue to support the accommodative monetary policy that we have adhered to in support of the fiscal policy. So that is going to be Jerome Powell’s speech.

Sree Iyer: You have practically written his speech for himself. Viewers with that, we come to the conclusion of episode 149. Please do subscribe to our channel, do join our membership and as always it’s a pleasure having you on our channel Sridharji. We will be back tomorrow bright and early. Namaskar.

Sridhar Chityala: Namaskar. Thank you so much. Have a wonderful day.



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