Posts

Showing posts with the label Pandemic Response

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

Image
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!

Image
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!

Image
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!

Image
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!

Image
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!

Image
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!

Image
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!

Image
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!

Image
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!

Image
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!

Image
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!

Image
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!

Image
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