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Showing posts with the label Omicron

No Mask, Yes Entry! Has The Pandemic Ended In India?

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Maharashtra, in spite of being the worst affected state in India in terms of COVID-19 infections and fatalities, has still become the first state in the country to make wearing of masks ‘not compulsory’ with effect from April 2, 2022 (Gudi Padva, Marathi New Year Day) apart from lifting of all other restrictions and COVID-appropriate behavior norms. This is followed in real haste by the Delhi government today by waiving off the penalties for not wearing masks. The decisions seem to have been taken to give the much-needed relief to near-normal citizens from the hottest summer months ahead, rather than having no concern for a possible fourth wave. You see, the amount of sweating behind the masks has to be avoided somehow! The Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal is wiser to lift all other curbs except for the norms of strictly wearing masks and observing sanitization cum hand hygiene in all public places.   Obviously, the experts are divided on the issue—some supporting the move saying yo

India Play Holi Amid Frayed Nerves Over Russian-Ukraine War And Concerns For A COVID-19 4th Wave!

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The Festival of Colors, Holi, began in India with the symbolic burning of Holika (a demoness of ancient times representing the evil or the Satan) effigy last night. This festival is celebrated every year in the last full moon night of the Hindu calendar year. Today, the colors are submerging the country in a spirit of joy. The Indians righteously feel and justify the celebrations across the country as they have missed this for the last two years, and after all, this signifies the victory of good over evil. For the last one month the country has seen a return to near normalcy with all restrictions except for the mask removed, the schools/colleges reopening; and just when they felt that the Pandemic had finally entered the endemic phase came the WHO (World Health Organization) warning that the pandemic is far from over and it has been spiking globally again with more than 11 million cases new cases and over 43,000 deaths in the last week. Combine this with the Russia-Ukraine war raging

Deaths Of Celebrities And Others Continue Even As The Third Wave Recedes In India!

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  The daily numbers of infections, Omicron or otherwise, have come down from the high of 350,000+ to around or less than 30,000 in the last few days in India. However, the daily fatalities still hover around 500, and just a few days back the figures crossed the 1000+ mark. Although most of the deaths are attributed to the state of Kerala the figures in many other states are still double-digit, and the spate of deaths of celebrities goes on unabated across the country. That the deaths continue to rise despite the experts or the Government assuring all that Omicron is a milder virus and can lead to only mild diseases, particularly in vaccinated people is an issue that needs to be examined. In an earlier post we explored this syndrome of deaths as ‘the expendables’, meaning the unvaccinated people or people with serious comorbidities and senior plus the super senior citizens with or without comorbidities. Obviously, no country can take the risk of national devastation by resorting to seve

Pandemic Third Wave Response: The Feel-Good Factor And The Expendables!

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An encompassing aura of complacency seems to have spread across India, probably faster than the Variant of Concern, Omicron itself. Anyone, doctor or expert or a commoner, you meet nowadays would tell you with a smile that you need not worry about Omicron as it is like normal influenza and does not penetrate your lungs, its area being limited to the upper respiratory tract. This sense of complacency or the feel-good factor, of course, has various ‘sound’ reasons varying from almost proven trends internationally, advisory-driven perceptions, comments by experts and the variant being considered as an immunity booster, even more powerful than the precautionary vaccine dose. So far, only the South African experience shows exponential rise in numbers accompanied by equally rapid decline after a few days and that Omicron leads only to a mild disease, particularly for the fully vaccinated. Fatality figures, however, do not follow the SA standards as a lot of people have died or still dying in

Omicron Crisis In India: Rules, Advisories And Contradictions!

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The Government of India Health Secretary has today disclosed to the media that the hospitalization rate during the Delta-led second COVID-19 wave was between 20-23% while in the Omicron-led third wave the observed rate so far is 5-10%. However, he warned the states and union territories of the country the situation may change radically anytime. Even otherwise, the observed low rate of hospitalization is not reassuring at all, because with infections spreading at an exponential rate, 3-4 times higher than the Delta, the 5-10% hospitalization could mean unmanageable absolute numbers. The national capital Delhi is considering a lockdown-like clampdown with its positivity rate reaching 25% whereas 5% is considered to be high enough for red alert. In Mumbai the positivity rate is around 23%, in Kolkata more than 40% and similar numbers are to be seen in other metros too. The reproduction rate or the R factor is also looking ominous at 2-3% all over India. While the present crisis needs stri

Assembly Election Dates Announced By The ECI: Step Aside, Omicron!

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The Election Commission of India (ECI) has today, a day when the country logged 1,41,986 new COVID-19 cases, announced the dates for assembly elections in 5 states of India, Uttar Pradesh (UP), Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa, starting from February 10, 2022. The polling in all five states will be completed between 10 th February and 7 th March in seven phases while the counting is to take place on 10 th March for all five states. UP election will be spread over all the seven phases till 7 th March; Uttarakhand, Punjab and Goa will have single phase polls on 14 th February; and Manipur will have two-phase polling due to security concerns in the state on 27 th February and March 3, 2022. More than 180 million citizens are set to exercise their voting rights during this what is often referred as festival of democracy.   The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), Sushil Chandra, assured while addressing a press conference in the national capital Delhi that the elections would b

Why Should Death Be A Good News?

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Media-persons, including this writer, have the habit of prioritizing news stories/reports on the basis of how many people have died or are adversely affected, which is actually necessary to structure a news bulletin, always a tough job doing justice to the stories, selecting them and giving the prominence a story deserves. When a reporter comes in to the newsroom stating that an accident or any kind of such tragic happenings has occurred in which 2-4 people have died the news editor would just grimace it away and most often would ask it to be included in the scroll. If the fatalities are around 10 it normally gets into the bulletin as an important story, and when the toll is more than 15/20 then it becomes a headline news story. Well, this is unfortunate indeed; but in a hyperactive newsroom it becomes unavoidable. However, such stories are never taken as a good news story.   Deaths are always unfortunate whatever be the number, because for the person who succumbs in an accident or

The COVID-19 Third Wave Is Here: Short-Term National Lockdown A Must!

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The fact of the matter is that the emerging trend in daily COVID-19 cases in India confirms the arrival of the Third Wave in full force, with the daily cases rising from around 6000 about a week ago to over 58000 in the last 24 hours, covering almost all the states. The fatality rates have been showing fluctuations for the past several weeks subject to the high or moderate figures in Kerala the cause of which is not known, even as more than 500 deaths are reported nationally in the last 24 hours. The concern is that most of the states have started showing rising fatality figures. The positivity rate in Kolkata is an incredible 44% plus followed by Mumbai with about 15% and at a national level the rate being already above the danger-mark of 5%. In contrast to the emerging fact about the Third Wave curbs or rules or restrictions are very different from state to state which is another point of concern. And yes, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has decided to go ahead with the assemb

Omicron Scare: Delhi And Mumbai Leading So Far, The Third Wave Looming Large!

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The national capital Delhi and the financial capital Mumbai are leading the Omicron spread-chart in India in terms of total cases and an Omicron-fueled rising trend in daily COVID-19 cases. While Mumbai has shown a 70% rise in daily cases in two days Delhi has shown a 50% rise, both metros registering the highest numbers of daily cases in six months. Mumbai has 1377 cases in the last 24 hours with Maharashtra going above 2000 and Delhi having nearly 500 daily cases in the same period. Delhi has 238 Omicron cases so far while Mumbai has 167 cases with the new variant having spread to 21 states of the country. Overall, India has till now around 780 Omicron cases, showing a 44% increase in a week, and a total daily COVID-19 cases of over 9000 in the last 24 hours, after hovering around 6000-7000 in the previous several days. Kerala cases are still over 2000 and although Omicron cases are still low compared to Delhi and Mumbai the state is consistently having high fatality figures. Since i

PM Modi Announces Booster Doses And Jabs For Kids Even As DCGI Approves Covaxin For 15-18 Age Group!

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced, in another unexpected national address late evening yesterday perhaps as a Christmas gift like he did recently on the occasion of Prakash Parv   (an annual festival of the Sikhs in Punjab and Haryana) to repeal the Three Farm Laws, booster doses or precautionary doses for the healthcare and frontline workers and all citizens above 60 years of age with comorbidities, to start from the 10th of January 2022, amid the rising Omicron scare in India. In a bid to make the parents confident enough to send their children to the schools the Prime Minister further announced vaccines jabs for children between 15 and 18 years of age to start from January 3, 2022. He also appealed to the people to not panic and follow COVID appropriate behavior strictly while cautioning them against rumors, fear mongering and misinformation. This announcement of the PM has been hailed all over as the most welcome move considering the global Omicron crisis—by the medical fr

The Indian Ironies With The Courts Finally Trying To Iron Out!

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  Yesterday, the 23 rd of December 2021, I, and perhaps millions of citizens of India, had been eagerly waiting for the emergency meet by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on COVID-19 situation in view of the fast-spreading Omicron scare, expecting some major steps; however, nearly the  whole day the honorable PM had been busy addressing rallies in the poll-bound state of Uttar Pradesh with thousands of citizens or voters cheering him in mostly mask-less fascination, while the social distancing was reduced to an absurdity as always. And then, in the evening the PM, back in the capital, found the time to chair the important meeting, and sounded a pan-India alert announcing the precautions to be taken. We have no option but to wonder: why doesn’t the beloved leader of millions lead by examples like bringing the mass rallies into the ambit of the restrictions. During the second wave early this year too we witnessed the same cardinal mistake of going ahead with the assembly elections, and we a

The Omicron Led COVID-19 Third Wave Is A Reality Now As USA, Europe Get Ready: India Must Gear Up Fast!

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  This is exactly the situation last year when India was in a very complacently satisfied position boasting of conquering the COVID-19 pandemic and a surge of new cases were happening across the US and European countries. And then, the disastrous Second Wave happened in India. In fact, we mentioned in one of our previous pieces that the most the most heard and seen expert had warned that a surge in the western countries normally ignite a wave in India. Now too, India is in a very comfortable situation with total COVID-19 cases still hovering 6000 daily and Omicron cases just above 200 across 12 states while in USA the Omicron variant has become the dominant virus rising from just 3% of total cases to 73% in one week and the variant has been fast emerging as the dominant virus in UK, Denmark, Norway and other European countries. A COVID-19 Third Wave thus is very much a reality now in those countries and considering its unbelievable contagiousness it may lead to a third wave in India to