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Showing posts with the label Pandemic Response

The Pandemic-Driven Desperation Is Worrying!

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The two-year long COVID-19 pandemic (no signal that it’s ended) has jolted the Indian economy almost out of its roots, heightened by the fact that the economy had been under a lot of strain for at least two years prior the outbreak. The normal demand-supply equation has gone bizarre—the supply chain not yet being able to resume its normal course, with some of the key sectors suffering maximum damage, in light of insufficient demand as the common people now want to hold on to their savings fearing an uncertain future. Normally, with less demand and normal supply the prices should fall and this has led many experts to expect a recession soon or already in the process. However, prices only kept on rising, crossing a whopping level of 7% in the recent quarter that’s made the Reserve Bank of India increase the Repo rate twice in two weeks. With some knowledge of economics I feel that while the customers are not spending their money enough the suppliers not still getting the normal booming t

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

Explosive Iyer Helps India Seal T20I Series At 2-0 Against Sri Lanka!

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Shreyas Iyer, one of the most promising youngsters for India in all formats, picked up his second consecutive and equally explosive half-century (in 31 balls) to guide India to a comfortable victory by 7 wickets over the visiting Sri Lanka in the second T20 International match at Dharamshala this evening, again remaining not out with a superb stroke-filled 74 in 44 balls and thus sealing the 3-match Series with an unassailable 2-0 lead. Iyer made 57 not out in just 28 balls in the first T20I match in Lucknow and combined very well with opener Ishan Kishan who came into his own with a fluent 89 runs in 56 balls helping India set a formidable target of 199/2. Sri Lanka batsmen faltered in the chase making only 137 runs losing 6 wickets. Ishan crafted a 111-run opening partnership with Rohit Sharma (44) in that match.   Today India won the toss and elected to field first perhaps because of the possible dew factor. Sri Lanka openers made a good start racing to 67 runs in the 9 th over

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

ECI Extends Ban On Public Election Rallies Till February 11: Economic Survey Tabled And Budget-2022 Tomorrow!

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We must commend the constitutionally autonomous body of the Election Commission of India (ECI) for sticking to its strong resolve to make the upcoming 7-phase state assembly elections COVID-safe for all by extending the pandemic ban on rallies/roadshows till February 11 following a review for the second time today which is quite effectively done as the first phase of the elections begins on 10 th February. While announcing the dates for assembly elections in five states on 8 th January the ECI banned all public rallies, roadshows and bike or cycle marches till 15 th of that month subject to a review on 15 th January and in that review the ECI stuck to its ban, only allowing physical rallies subject to a maximum of 500 persons for the political party candidates to contest in the first phase from January 28, a date when all formalities of nominations for that phase are completed. Similarly, for the second phase the relaxed rallies to commence from 31 st January with the same restri

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

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