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India Coronavirus Dispatch: Delhi's task force works to stem rural spread

Durga Puja concerns in Bengal, Ahmedabad's private hospitals bear huge chunk of caseload, and herd immunity becomes highly politicised--news on how the country is coping with the pandemic

Coronavirus Tests | Coronavirus | Kolkata

Shreegireesh Jalihal  |  New Delhi 

Photo: Shutterstock
According to a report by the NCDC, contact tracing of Covid positive cases in the national capital has been “very limited since the beginning”. |Photo: Shutterstock

Delhi rural spread: The Delhi government is implementing a series of measures through village-level task forces called ‘Nigrani Samitis’ after noticing significant spread of the virus in the rural parts of the national capital. These task forces will be responsible for ensuring people adopt Covid-appropriate behaviour such as wearing masks, avoiding overcrowding and maintaining hand hygiene. All district magistrates in Delhi have been asked to create such a task force “in each village under their administrative control”. The task forces will also submit regular reports after assessing the on-ground situation. Teams have also been tasked with the job of creating awareness through posters, wall paintings and distribution of pamphlets. They will also use local tv channels and social media platforms for spreading the word. Read more here.

worries: With people in West Bengal thronging the weekly markets in the run up to the annual festival, experts are now worried about the surge in Covid cases this might lead to. This warning comes during a rise in the state’s active caseload in recent weeks, and a decline in the recovery rate over the past few days. A doctors’ group has written to the CM Mamata Banerjee and have pointed towards the case spikes in Kerala and Maharashtra after Onam and Ganesh Chaturthi. Experts have called for ‘strict measures’ to prevent gatherings at Puja pandals. Further, the experts say that the govt must ensure that those stepping out of their homes must mandatorily wear masks. Some experts have attributed the recent spikes in cases to Mahalaya and Vishwakarma Puja. Read more here.

Delhi’s workplaces become hotspots: According to a report by the NCDC, contact tracing of Covid positive cases in the national capital has been “very limited since the beginning”. The report also highlights the need to revamp containment strategy, decrease mortality, prepare for a surge in cases, and ramp up testing in the national capital. The most concerning part of the report, however, reads, “gradual opening up of offices and economic activities, workplaces are becoming hotspots and infection is spreading from workplaces to families.” The report recommends that workplace clusters must be identified for risk assessment in all districts. Further, it states the need to test all high-risk contacts even if asymptomatic. The report also notes that testing in containment zones and of contacts of positive patients has been limited. Read more here.

In Numbers

hospitals: In Ahmedabad, the caseload of Covid-19 patients is being borne by private hospitals. Further, a large number of patients admitted are from outside Of the 3,105 active cases in hospitals in the city, 2,198 are in private hospitals alone. Almost 112 of these are from other states — maximum from Rajasthan at 89 — followed by seven each from Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Nearly 450 patients in the city’s private hospitals are from other districts, including Kutch, with the highest coming from Gandhinagar at 48. Of the total patients in private hospitals, 993 are on reserved beds and hence do not have to pay for their treatment. 1,265, meanwhile, are on private quota. The higher number of patients coming in from neighbouring districts, say experts, could be due to lack of infrastructure in those regions. Read more here.

Understanding Covid-19

Herd immunity: The concept of herd for Covid-19 has become highly politicised and has led to a lot of misunderstandings, says the writer. This piece serves as a basic explainer of the issue. At this point, for exmaple, the Indian population can be said to have reached herd to Covid-19 even though not all individuals are immune. However, any new introduction of the disease will not lead to major outbreaks, making the herd ‘immune’. Herd can largely be achieved either through vaccination or through infection. However, in the case of Covid-19, the duration of prevalence of antibodies is still not known and an effective vaccine is yet to be available. There is a possibility that past exposure to other viruses may make individuals immune to Covid but this is also yet to be proven. Read more here.

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First Published: Sun, October 11 2020. 15:16 IST