Posts

Showing posts with the label Omicron

Omicron Crisis In India: Rules, Advisories And Contradictions!

Image
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!

Image
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?

Image
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!

Image
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!

Image
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!

Image
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!

Image
  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!

Image
  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

Omicron Still Presents A Mixed Scenario Even As A Patient Dies in UK!

Image
Photo: bostonherald.com The World Health Organization (WHO) n its latest update to the media that the new Omicron variant of SARS-Cov-2 virus had spread to around 63 countries till now and that as per the data available so far, the new variant seems to spreading much rapidly than the Delta variant; there seems to be a reduction in vaccine efficacy against the new variant; it had also demonstrated its ability to reinfect; and that it was still too early to comment on its severity. Among almost all nations of Europe having confirmed Omicron cases the United Kingdom is bearing the brunt of its rapid spread with the highest number of Omicron cases of around 4700 thus far and more than 1500 new Omicron cases in the last 24 hours—the daily new COVID-19 cases now around 50000 daily. The UK Prime Minster Boris Johnson has sounded an alert saying that at least one patient has already succumbed to Omicron infection and therefore, its debated severity should be set aside and full focus has to b

India Tour Of South Africa: Rohit Named Regular Captain In The Shorter Formats, Virat Retained In Tests!

Image
The regime of having different captains for different formats for which we have been writing in these pages has finally happened with the Indian cricket selectors making opener Rohit Sharma the regular captain in the ODIs and T20Is with effect from India’s tour of South Africa-2021-22 while the captain of all formats since 2017, Virat Kohli, has been retained as captain for the 3-match Test Series starting on the boxing day, 26 th December 2021, in Centurion. This move, probably under the guidance of the new Head Coach Rahul Dravid, is ideally aimed at allowing the wonder of a batsman Virat Kohli to play freely and most importantly, in view of the ICC Men’s World Cup-2023 to be hosted by India for the one day format. This could also be a reflection of the fact that Virat is yet to win an ICC Cup! It is unfortunate that Ajinkya Rahane, the hero of the great Indian comeback in Australia in January this year when Kohli left for home for domestic reasons, has lost his place in Tests as vi

Omicron Vs Maharashtra Vs Centre: What’s Wrong In Taking Stronger Safety Measures?

Image
Not only on the front of fighting and containing the COVID-19 pandemic, but on every possible issue under the sun that the central government has been finding faults with the Maharashtra government with unfailing regularity since the Shiv Sena moved away from the winning combine with the BJP and formed a coalition government with the NCP and the Congress in 2019. Now, the clash is on a very dangerously suspenseful issue of containing the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, and any political rivalry on this may lead to a situation where it is not at all clear who is going to have the last laugh; we better not call it the last laugh, because this is strictly not a laughing matter, if we still remember the catastrophe of the Second Wave that hit the country the hardest due to total neglect, complacency and lack of any kind of preparedness of the central government. Of course, at the moment the situation is much different than in late 2020 and early 2021 with rising vaccination figures and more

Tick-Tock Suspense In India Amid The COVID-19 Omicron Variant Scare!

Image
Photo: jagran.com The Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) which is an independent group of experts that periodically monitors and evaluates the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and assesses its specific mutations had convened a meeting on 26 November 2021 to assess the emerging COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529 that was first reported to World Health Organization (WHO) from South Africa on November 24, 2021. The epidemiological situation in South Africa has been characterized by three distinct peaks in reported cases, the latest of which was predominantly the Delta variant that originated in India. In recent weeks, infections have increased steeply, coinciding with the detection of B.1.1.529 variant. This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other Variants Of Concern (VOCs). The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost