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Showing posts with the label Pandemic Response

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

The COVID-19 Second Wave Yet To Conclude—Government Of India!

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With India registering more than 47,000 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the highest in two months, the Government of India has today for the first time officially declared that the disastrous Second Wave of the pandemic is yet to conclude and asked all the states to stick to restrictive measures in the affected areas while appealing to the citizens to continue with COVID appropriate behaviour. This announcement can be termed as significant in view of the coming festival season including the Ganesh festival (observed widely for 11 days in the worst affected Maharashtra), the Navaratri and Durga Puja, and Eid-e-Milad-Un-Nabi festivals. The Union Health Secretary has appealed to the people of the country to pray and worship in their respective homes with members of the families and to avoid congregations. On the positive side the Government has informed the media that the number of worst affected districts in the country has come down from 279 in May to only 42 in August; the pos

Probabilities Of The COVID-19 Third Wave And The Endemic Theory in India!

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The COVID-19 expert panel of the Government of India had predicted a few days earlier that the much feared Third Wave of the pandemic could start in the month of September or even in August 2021 and is likely to peak in October. The panel sounded a sinister warning that daily cases could reach 4 to 5 hundred thousand (lakh) or more, and accordingly they recommended further strengthening of the health infrastructure of the country in terms of ICU beds, beds with ventilators and oxygen. There has also been a fear that it could infect a large number of children and some states of India are already on the job of creating more paediatric facilities in hospitals. The panel, however, said there is still lack of data to confirm such a fear. In the meantime the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) had already approved India-made Zydus Cadila’s Zycov-D vaccine for emergency use for children above the age of 12 and the vaccination process is likely to start from the month of September 2021. Th

Why Social Distancing Is Near Impossible In India!

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Before going to the practical problems of maintaining social distancing we must mention at the outset about the basic traits of the Indians: that they are one of the most hospitable lots of the world always loving company in abundance and celebrations on every possible occasions—like in a family of four birthdays of all the members plus anniversaries/others will be celebrated most preferably with friends and relatives apart from all other social occasions including the big ones of marriages and even funerals; all religious festivals whereas it is said that people can have more than twelve occasions in a year of twelve months, big community festivals and home worshipping; all cultural festivals where all communities from all religions can participate; get-togethers and parties in hotels for any reason under the sun; and so on. Although the erstwhile joint family system is no longer in vogue every household loves to entertain guests on all of the above mentioned occasions and more. No wo

India: Reopen The Schools After Vaccinating The Students And Preventing The Third Wave!

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In regard to the nearly 17-month old pandemic horrors in India we usually discuss the economy & the growth rate, loss of lives, jobs & livelihoods, the worst affected sectors, lack of any meaningful financial relief by the government and other issues. The TV channels regularly show how the film stars and other celebrities are doing and how sports activities should be restarted. Only occasionally we discuss how the home-imprisoned students are coping with the crisis; that too we don’t care to know how they are doing, but only hold chat shows with the same education experts or teachers on basically the same points repeated over and over again.  Then, there are the raging debates on holding various types of exams at the relevant points of time. However, in the recent weeks the debates have picked up about holding the 10 th and 12 th class final exams which finally ended with all the states deciding to declare results without holding exams and based on the online tests and overal

Politics And Sports In The Time Of Pandemic!

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It was cruelly insensitive on the part of the Government of India to declare in Parliament that there had been no COVID-19 deaths during the second wave due to lack of medical oxygen in the country, when not only the thousands of the affected families but also millions other anxious or someway related families just cannot erase the nightmarish images of people dying gasping for breath on hospital beds, in the hospital passages/corridors/lounges, on the outside courtyards or on the streets, in the parked cars, within the four walls of homes; hospitals sending SOS for oxygen, desperate doctors even breaking down; and round-the-clock media reports and most disturbing visuals.   The reason given by the government is even more ludicrously insensitive: that the states did not report the deaths due to the lack of medical oxygen. Well, most of the states, particularly the ones ruled by the same dispensations would hardly advertise their failure or the stark lack of preparedness. The govern

A Lockdown Remix Experience In Peoples’ Land Kolkata!

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If we can assume that people are already familiarized with the concept of lockdown as it has been more than a year since the national lockdown was imposed in India in March 2020, on the basis of this assumption we can go on to opine that the present version of the lockdown in Kolkata and the state of West Bengal has been a remix. Of course, the local media here has been terming this as only a ‘near-lockdown’, and we also know the kind of ‘mixed’ approaches adopted by various states of India to lockdown, but the experience here is unique and not related to most of the other states. We have decided to call it a remix, because under this process the old is often presented in a new getup to attract and excite the common people, and the state lockdown here has been a genuine remix with continuous tweaking to make it more and more user-friendly for the larger interests of the common people of West Bengal, particularly the state capital of Kolkata.   Yes, peoples’ interests. Nothing moves

The Unlocking Spree Begins Amid The Inevitable Risks Of Another Looming Wave!

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About 10 million people, as estimated, have lost their jobs/income following the state-wise lockdowns across India in view of the marauding second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is feared that 10 million more people are likely to lose their jobs/income till the economy gets back on rails. Therefore, nobody can deny the inevitability of the pandemic-oriented debate of Lives Vs Livelihoods, and the easing of the curbs has to follow at some stage. However, experts keep on saying that the unlocking process must be well thought-out and gradual. Even then, the associated risks with the forecast of a third wave in about six months cannot be eliminated, and Maharashtra, a state that has adopted a very mature 5-level unlocking as per the prevailing positivity rates and the occupancy percentage of oxygen beds across the respective districts, has still pointed out that the state government has taken calculated risks with those decisions.   The national capital region Delhi, with the positi

A Much Needed Comic Relief: The Distanced Senior Citizen!

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Nowadays I choose a slot when the nearby park is almost empty and so is the market on the other side, for my morning walks which I think is quite important, despite the deadly times we are living in. I satisfy myself with the precautions thus taken. That morning too, properly masked up, I combined the intended walk with the essentiality of buying a few fresh fruits for our wellbeing. After taking my predetermined rounds in the park which was empty as the rising summer sun, at this hour, made it relatively hot for the walkers, I went to the fruit shops in the market.   I found a senior citizen occupying the whole of the front-side of the shop with a lady waiting patiently behind him on his right keeping an appropriate distance. That shop was my favorite because it offered better-quality fruits at relatively cheaper prices. Therefore I joined, behind the senior citizen on his left, again keeping a good distance. In fact, I was very pleased that the social norms were maintained strict

COVID-19 Second Wave: India Continue To Reel Under A Spell Of Death And Disease!

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It has been the most horribly painful and depressing week of my life. There has been the spectre of death and unimaginable sufferings of fellow countrymen across India, from which you cannot turn away; reports are there in all news channels, something even the decidedly pro-government media cannot but report, reports and personal accounts across all social media platforms, the dread of the sudden telephone calls and so on. I am reminded of the horrors suffered by Italy and Spain last year, and shiver to imagine a full repetition in a vast and densely populated country like India; the saving grace so far being that the fatality rate here is fortunately still much lower than witnessed in Italy, Spain and other European countries; but even then, in terms of population the Indian numbers in infections and deaths are numbing, and the mutants are more lethal taking toll equally on the young and the old.         The heart wrenching scenes are everywhere to behold: people crowding the hosp

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

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  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