Posts

Light In The Gloom: India Opens Up Vaccination For All Above 18 From 1st May!

Image
The Government of India has announced opening up of the vaccination drive to all persons above the age of 18 with effect from 1 st May 2021; this momentous decision coming after a marathon meeting by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with doctors, medical scientists and experts on 19 th April 2021, significantly the day that saw the highest ever rise in new daily COVID-19 cases to the tune of over 2, 73,000. An important aspect of a liberalized format under this decision is that the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers can sell 50% of their doses to the Government of India and the rest 50% doses to the Indian states directly in the open market. This effectively means that all the states can now purchase vaccine doses directly and can prioritize how and to whom they would want the jabs administered. The concerned pharmaceutical firms have said that they would come with the pricing within the deadline of the 1 st of May.   In view of the acute shortage of vaccine doses in several states and

COVID-19 Second Wave: India’s Worst Ever Health Crisis That Nobody Prepared For!

Image
For the 5 th consecutive day India’s daily new COVID-19 cases have been more than the unbelievable 2, 00,000 or 2 Lakh mark, with over 2.73 Lakh cases in the last 24 hours. Compared to the first pandemic peak of around 97,000 reached in mid-September 2020, we are staring at the mind-boggling fact that the daily numbers have almost tripled and are scared to guess the second peak even if it comes sooner than later, hopefully. Fatalities have also crossed the daily 1000 mark again as more 1600 people perished in the last 24 hours. However, the eternal chest-thumping self-styled ‘saviors’ of our country say that as per the deaths of around 1000 when the daily cases were less than 1 Lakh the fatalities now could have been three times higher, around 3000 per day, the negation of which means that the fatality rates are still low or even lower. Yes, numbers don’t matter for them; it is only their rates that have always been important, and they were boasting of India’s low fatality rate last y

DCGI Approves Russia’s Sputnik-V Vaccine: Finally India Gets The Third COVID-19 Vaccine!

Image
  Amid an unprecedented rise in new COVID-19 cases across India and reports of a shortage of vaccines in inoculation centers in at least 10 states about which the Government of India has been in a constant denial mode, the Indian drug regulator, Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), has accorded its final approval to Russia’s Sputnik-V COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. It is to be noted that the drug regulator had earlier approved Covishield (the Indian version of the Oxford AstraZeneca) and the indigenously produced Covaxin (even before its completion of the third phase of human trials) in January 2021 and a national vaccination drive had been launched from the 16 th of January 2021. However, in the past three months the jabs administered have been falling far short of the Government’s goal of vaccinating 300 million people by July 2021 (just over 100 million jabs so far which needs to be much increased now as the vaccination drive opens up to all above the age of 45) amid dema

The IPL-2021 Charge Amid The Second COVID-19 Surge!

Image
It is always debatable to have a major cricket tournament in the midst of an unprecedented surge of the pandemic, even though it is to be played behind closed doors, the new normal cricket variety, and with the imposition of a strict bio-secure bubble. As it has been seen so far several cricketers and support staff have contracted the COVID-19 virus, and since the tournament is being held across six venues—Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Kolkata—it would entail constant air travel and change of hotels for the eight participating teams. Further, the venues are the capitals of the worst affected states, except perhaps for Kolkata in West Bengal where the rising trend of new cases has not yet caught up with the others. It is to be noted that the IPL-2020 had to be taken out of India to the UAE due to strict lockdowns across the nation, and this means that within six months another IPL is being held, now in India where the second surge has reached unprecedented levels, but

COVID-19 Second Wave In India Threatens To Overtake The First Pandemic Peak!

Image
The fear has always been there about the Pandemic not saying quits in a hurry, be it in India or in the US or in Europe or anywhere. Yet, people, even governments, everywhere have been loath to carry on with the COVID-19 protocols and appropriate behavior. India, after the United States, has been marked out in this care-a-hoot mentality. And both of these countries are suffering heavily, apart from others where new Corona variants have created more havoc than inappropriate behavior. New daily cases of COVID-19 have been rising exponentially in at least eleven states of India since mid-March 2021. Personally speaking, when I left Mumbai in that period for domestic reasons daily cases in Maharashtra, the worst affected state, were around 6000-8000 and in the financial capital daily cases were hovering around 1000 per day. And now, new cases have reached nearly 50000 in the last twenty-four hours in Maharashtra while in Mumbai daily new cases have crossed 9000 in the last twenty-four hour

India Beat England In A Decider Thriller: Win ICC Cricket World Cup Super League Series!

Image
  Sam Curran Of course, history does repeat itself from time to time; but the history of successfully chasing 337 runs in a one-day international (ODI) match does not repeat itself too often.  Thanks to some incredible display of power batting by Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes England chased 337 and defeated India by 6 wickets the other day in the second ODI of the ICC World Cup Super League series thus levelling the 3-match series. Although India posted a target, a little less than the other day, of 329 today England nearly repeated history again with bowling allrounder Sam Curran (95 not out) taking over charge. It rankled in the minds of Indian fans that the famed batting strength of the hosts wasted 8 balls of the Indian innings as there were no batsmen left, and that they could have set a target well over 350 runs. In the bargain were treated to a real nail-biter of a match that India, studded with dropped catches and misfields, finally managed to win by 7 runs thus winning the Ser

Sensational Bairstow-Stokes Batting Powers England To Tremendous Win Over India, Paytm ODI Series Level at 1-1!

Image
 Jonny Bairstow When a team chases a down a massive target of 337 runs with plenty of overs to spare you can only watch wonder-struck at the sensational batting display that has to be the cause of it and cannot really blame the rival team. England have done this tonight, overcoming the Indian target that looked quite formidable very easily at the end thanks to the spectacular batting performances of all the top three: Jason Roy notching up 55 off 52 balls falling to a terrible run-out; Jonny Bairstow registering a magnificent ton of 124 off just 112 balls; and most importantly, Ben Stokes scoring an incredible 99 in just 52 balls, getting out caught 1 run away from what could have been a memorable century. There were 24 fours and unbelievable 20 sixes (10 of those go to Stokes) in their victorious innings. At one stage of the game they were scoring almost 20 runs an over with Bairstow and Stokes firing all cylinders in their partnership of 175 runs. So then, England won the second one-

Neutralizing The Toss For The Third Time India Beat England In The 1st ODI: A Case Of Constants & Variables?

Image
In the first one-day international (ODI) of the three-match Series played in Pune India have beaten England by 66 runs yesterday, taking a 1-0 lead in the series. Like the last few matches this game too was played to empty stadiums due to the second wave of COVID-19 virus in India. India’s captain Virat Kohli lost the toss yet again, for the third time in a row taking into account the last two T20 internationals, and it proved to be a good toss to lose, yet again. It was heartening to see India’s regular opening pair, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, coming in to open the innings. Perhaps this being the first match of the series India started very cautiously to avoid the oft-repeated first-match blues, and concentrated on doing the groundwork for a good total. However, they did not get into a shell which also proves to be India’s undoing on many occasions. In the power-play overs they managed to put up 64 runs when Rohit departed for 28 off 42 balls.        The first hundred-run pa

COVID-19 Second Wave: Nothing New Normal About The Flight!

Image
  Four days prior to our flight I got a message from the airlines: all passengers from Maharashtra must get their RT-PCR test (COVID-19 Test) done to travel to any other states of India and must show their negative test reports at the arrival airports. I was annoyed and also disturbed, thinking of the hassles to go through before being tested, at the eleventh hour. Luckily my family has so far been spared by the pandemic and has not had the compulsion to get tested. I had been hearing about the long queues of people at the testing centres and the fear of getting the infection while going for the test. However, of late, the testing urgency had got much lessened in view of the falling infections all over India since the months of October-November. But again, the escalation in Kerala and Maharashtra infections has put the focus back on testing.       Fortunately, the process turned out to be quite easy as I completed all the formalities online and then reported at the nearest testing

The Lockdown Roti!

Image
From January of the year called 2020 onwards we had been constantly getting reports of the havoc created by the SARS-Cov-2 or the COVID-19 virus in various pockets of China. From February of the same year stray cases were being reported from some parts of India and from the month of March cases were on an unmistakable rise, particularly in the states of Kerala and Maharashtra. We were also hearing about the dangerous spread in several European countries, and we even saw on television how normal ebullient parts of countries like Italy and Spain were looking like ghost cities because of the lockdown. But somehow, at that point of time neither the Indian authorities nor the public took it seriously and perhaps was not aware of the incredibly fast human-to-human transmission that the virus was capable of. Not surprising at all, because even the World Health Organization did not know much at that time. Lockdown was also a novel concept for us and many thought that lockdown was not a realist