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Showing posts with the label Pandemic Response

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

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

Happy New Year 2022 To Our Dear Readers And Friends!

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We wish you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2022! Let the New Year bring all the happiness, success and prosperity in your life, home, work and relationships. Most importantly, we wish you all very good and sustained health, and of course, a never-ending immunity against any intruding virus! We’ve decided to post our wishes well in advance, because the New Year is going to dawn in at different hours in different countries across the globe. And also, to avoid the last-minute hassles! Enjoy at home with your dearest members of your family!  Stay blessed!   You must be wondering that we’ve not touched the two-year-old roaring COVID-19 pandemic in a direct way at all! Well, because we want to end with a piece of good news! The Hindu Almanac calculations for the New Year ( panchang 2022 ) say that sometime during the coming year we’ll all be ‘ferried across’ (as per an interpretation by a friend of mine) which clearly means that we’ll surely overcome the curse of the pandemic

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

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

WHO Approves India-Made Covaxin On The Eve Of Diwali!

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Finally, the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of the World Health Organization (WHO) has given its approval to fully India-made Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin for Emergency Use Listing (EUL) today. The approval comes after a crucial meeting held on 26 th October 2021 where the TAG had asked Bharat Biotech for some additional information and the WHO indicated its approval once that piece of information was received (source: The Indian Express report). The EUL is set to clear the way for listing of Covaxin by more and more foreign countries easing the overseas travel restrictions being faced by Indian students and other travellers. The EUL is also set to help India to supply the vaccine doses to underdeveloped and poor countries through the WHO COVAX programme, depending of course on the production which has so far been quite low compared to Covishield in the Indian vaccination drive since January 2021.   This comes as a Diwali gift considering the long del

The COVID-19 Masking Mosaic!

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The citizens of Planet Earth have been wearing masks for nearly two years now or rather have been forced to do that in view of the COVID-19 pandemic that seems to be extremely reluctant to help usher in the much-awaited unmasking of the Homo sapiens. There have been varying degrees of protests or complaints or deemed-hazards of wearing masks continuously. In a way the citizens are showing signs of an acute mask-fatigue which is actually very unfair to even hint at in view of the pandemic-fatigue experienced by the tirelessly working medical fraternity—particularly during the peak periods like the disastrous Second Wave in India. However, the angle of the citizens cannot be wished away, because this is very real; in some cases the mask-fatigue leading to huge protest marches/uprisings in the US or in some European countries like Germany. Therefore, it becomes our noble duty to analyze the factors while, of course, keeping our mask-sincerity securely in place.  All around us we’ve been

DCGI Seal Awaited As Its SEC Approves Covaxin For Emergency Use For Kids Of 2—18 Age Group!

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The Subject Expert Committee (SEC) on COVID-19 of the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has today approved Bharat Biotech’s India-made Covaxin for emergency use for kids in the age group of 2 to 18 years. This comes as a big positive breakthrough in light of the reopening of schools across India and the urgent need of vaccinating the children so that they do not become carriers of the virus and bring it home to jeopardize the elders of the families. Further, in the much feared Third Wave of the pandemic in India that can actually break out after the festival season there has been a concern that the kids would be the worst affected section of the population. The final approval of the DCGI may come any time soon as it is being considered as just a formality. It is to be noted that the DCGI had already approved Zydus Cadila’s 3-dose Zycov-D, the first DNA-based non-injectable vaccine of the world, for emergency use in children of 12 years of age upwards in August this year. Thus, In

UK Vs India: India Reciprocate With Tit For Tat COVID-19 Travel Measures!

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It is indeed hard to believe that matters would come to a head between two friendly countries even after nearly two weeks of the United Kingdom’s unwarranted imposition of travel restrictionsfor Indian travelers . The Ministry of External Affairs of India then lodged a strong protest against such discriminatory and ‘colonial’ action and warned UK of reciprocal measures; and the UK government reportedly held extensive discussions with the Indian counterpart and decided to include Covishield, the Indian version of their own AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, in the approved list from the 4 th of October 2021, but did nothing about lifting the 10-quarantine restriction even for fully vaccinated travelers refusing to accept the Indian vaccination certification procedure and thus still keeping India in the ‘amber’ list of travel regulations. This has greatly irked the Government of India and they announced the ‘reciprocal’ measures yesterday which are plainly a ‘tit for tat’.   From the 4

India Register The Lowest COVID-19 Daily Cases In Six Months As The Festival Season Looms Ahead!

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For the last 3-4 days India have been registering less than 30,000 daily COVID-19 cases with daily fatalities also reducing. A lot of hope is being generated now as the country has seen less than twenty thousand cases in the last 24 hours, 18,795 to be exact, which is the lowest in six months, and the daily deaths have also come down to 179 fatalities in the same period. The state of Kerala is still leading, but the daily infections that had reached more than thirty thousand recently are 11699 in the last 24 hours and the daily fatalities that had overtaken Maharashtra crossing the 200 mark have come down to 58 in the same period. Maharashtra, the worst affected state in India with over 6 million total infections, has also registered less than 3000 cases in the last 24 hours which is the lowest since February 2021 and the deaths at 32 during the same period. Only two other states, Tamil Nadu and Mizoram, are still showing a rising trend of daily cases; all of the rest of India seem to

UK Vs India: The COVID-19 Vaccine Vexation!

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In the recent cricket Test Series between England and India the 2-1 result in favour of the visitors still hangs in balance entirely due to the fact that a few non-playing members of Team India were found COVID-19 positive which implies that the fifth and the last Test had to be cancelled only because of India’s fault even though not a single playing member of the team got the infection. Now, the change in travel regulations for Indians visiting United Kingdom could be a fallout of the cricket hanger, meaning that the Indians are feared as more prone to getting or spreading the COVID-19 virus with its variants; that India is the originator of the more infectious Delta variant which is again mutating into the Delta Plus; and perhaps also possibly that the handling of the Second Wave of the pandemic in India had been disastrous. Therefore, basically the Englishmen could be feeling insecure with vulnerable Indians loitering around in their territories after sort of achieving the feat of l

England Vs India: Finally COVID-19 Makes A Mess Of The Final Test!

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The fifth and the last Test match between hosts England and visitors India was awaited by cricket lovers with much excitement with India taking an unbeatable 2-1 lead winning the fourth Test at the Oval, because the Indian fans wanted their team to seal the series win while the England fans wanted their team to bounce back and win the Test to share the final honors. All of them were in for a huge disappointment though. As soon as the junior physio of Team India tested COVID-19 positive on Thursday, the 9 th of September 2012, a day before the fifth Test was to start at the Old Trafford, total and clueless uncertainty enveloped the match; head coach Ravi Shastri and possibly one or two members of the team management including the senior physio (not confirmed) were already in isolation testing positive before the fourth Test. The practice session for India on that day was cancelled.   Since a physio is obviously to get involved with the players ‘physically’ there were risks of playe