How Covid-19 is impacting our mental health, and what the way forward is: In yet another record daily spike in cases, the number of coronavirus cases in India rose by 19,906 on Sunday morning. India now has 528,859 cases. The toll rose by 410 to 16,095. Watch this interview with psychiatrist Alok Sarin about how this pandemic will affect the society in the long term, the rising no. of suicide cases, impact of isolation on our mental health, how it will affect our collective memory, what kind of societal and cultural changes need to be made to help us move forward and much more. Read more here
40 per cent of Jan Dhan account holders could not access govt’s Covid-19 relief: A direct debit transfer of Rs 500 every month for three months to all women Jan Dhan account holders was announced in late March under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana. Between April and June, the government released three tranches of more than Rs 10,300 crore ($1.3 billion) each to be directed to about 200 million women. However, a large number of women were not able to access the money during the difficult time. This is reflected in the fact that of the Rs 10,300 crore deposited in Jan Dhan accounts in April and May, on average, only Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 crore ($400 million to 520 million) was withdrawn each month. Read more here.
India’s hotels are reimagining the hospitality industry to survive the coronavirus pandemic: India’s hotel industry is reimagining hospitality to survive the Covid-19 pandemic. But how far can creative thinking go at a time when people are reluctant to even step out of their homes? The coronavirus outbreak in India and the ensuing 70-day government-enforced lockdown has crippled the hospitality industry. Several restaurants and cafes have shut shop in the last two months, while large hotel chains are struggling to pay salaries, and in some cases, even laying off staff. But not everyone has given up hope as yet. Read more here.
What Apple-Google Covid feature does, and why it doesn’t work in India: In April, rivals Google and Apple made an unprecedented move of joining hands to help governments in tracing contacts of Covid-19-positive people. On Sunday, the “Covid-19 exposure notifications” feature appeared on Android and Apple phones everywhere. But that means very little for those living in India. As of now, the Apple-Google contact tracing app does not work in India. Read more here.
The art world as we know it is facing an existential crisis: With its steepening Covid graph but easing lockdown, India is drawing protocols for its museums to open, and art galleries are preparing for business in the coming weeks, but doing only that will not signal a return to normalcy for Indian art which was at a critical stage with rising international attention and growing diversification of its collector base. Broad support, financial and infrastructural, has now become integral for sustenance. Read more here.
Why it is a good idea to postpone the JEE Advanced exam by two years: I propose that the students who are interested in an IIT B.Tech degree join any engineering college, in a branch of their choice. Let JEE Advanced be conducted two years later, based on the first two years of their branch, with NPTEL/SWAYAM video courses as the syllabus, which can be accessed offline. Those who get selected can complete the remaining two years at an IIT and graduate with a B.Tech degree. Read more here.
Asymptomatic Covid-19 patients can still develop lung damage: Many patients with advanced Covid-19 disease show none of the hallmarks of severe respiratory illness until they suddenly collapsed and die. The science behind this early lesson is now emerging, with a study from Wuhan, China, describing pathological lung changes on CT scans of completely asymptomatic patients. Asymptomatic carriage is not uncommon in other virulent infections, such as MRSA and C diff, but what is striking with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) is that it may be accompanied by underlying organ damage. Read more here.
MMR vaccine can help fight sepsis in Covid patients: A new paper suggests that live attenuated vaccines such as MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) may prevent the severe lung inflammation and sepsis associated with Covid-19 infection. A live attenuated vaccine is derived from a disease-causing pathogen, which has been weakened in the laboratory so that it does not cause severe illness when a person is vaccinated with it. Read more here.
In Covid-19 research, not all that glitters is gold: So we must consider how much of the ‘explosion’ of research articles is the result of peer pressure to publish more and more. Everything from appointments and promotions to salary hikes and grants is directly related to one’s research output, which is often just the number of papers published. As a result, many studies are simply studies to boost one’s chances of a promotion, and don’t necessarily contain findings that advance the field. Read more here.
What coronavirus mutations mean for its vaccine, treatment and testing: In a recent study, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine analysed the viral genome sequences isolated from over 5,000 Covid-19 patients around the world. So what does this analysis of genome variations tell us? What implications does it have for vaccines, treatments and testing? And what does it tell us about the future direction of this destructive pathogen? Read more here.