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India Coronavirus Dispatch: Delhi sees spike in Dengue, Covid co-infections

Notice to Odisha govt over spread of among tribals, Covid worse than swine flu, one million cases in 11 days--news on how the country is dealing with the pandemic

Coronavirus | Dengue | Lockdown

Shreegireesh Jalihal  |  New Delhi 

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Bloomberg

Dengue, Covid co-infections: Delhi is seeing a rise in Covid-19 and co-infections. Doctors warn that the combination of the two can increase the severity of both diseases. Another challenge these cases pose is the high likelihood of false positives which creates diagnostic challenges. Official data shows that the national capital is seeing a spike in both diseases. Further, both the diseases do not have any specific drug or vaccine and treatment is largely based on clinical symptoms. Others warn that this new trend poses a serious public health problem and could burden an already stretched healthcare system even further. The challenges are compounded by the fact that symptoms of both diseases overlap. Besides the treatment and diagnostic challenges, doctors also highlight the issue of a lack in experience with dealing with such a scenario. Read more here

Tribes in Odisha: National Commission for Scheduled Tribes has sent a notice to the Odisha government over the spread of Covid-19 among tribal groups in the state. Members of two primitive tribes, the Didayi and the Bonda, have tested positive for the virus. Both these groups are classified as particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTG). A previous assessment of migrant workers from Odisha’s tribal groups working in Kerala showed that they were unaware of the spread of the disease, its symptoms and preventive measures to be undertaken. An official of the National Commission, meanwhile, says that the body has taken ‘suo moto cognisance’ of the matter and have given the state authorities to respond with a report on measures taken to slow the spread among the tribals. Read more here

In Numbers

Covid vs Swine Flu: The number of Covid-19 cases in the country has crossed the five-million mark. By far, this is the deadliest pandemic of the 21st century. The last pandemic, swine flu, infected 36,240 people in India and killed 1,833. This was before it morphed into a seasonal flu. Between 2012 and 2019, H1N1 infected 138,394 people and killed 9,150. Epicentres have varied and rotated between Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. In total, the killed 11,600 since its first outbreak in 2009. In just 9 months, Covid-19 has killed over 600 per cent of the last pandemic, with 80,000 deaths. Further, Covid-19 has proven to be deadlier than other general infections that kill people in India. For example, Covid’s caseload is higher than the total cases of Malaria over the past six years in the country. Read more here

ALSO READ: World Coronavirus Dispatch: Vaccine to be ready or Chinese public by Dec

A million in 11 days: India added 1 million cases in just 11 days. The gap with the US, which has the highest number of infections, has reduced further and the writer says will be gone in a month’s time. India has been adding over 90,000 cases daily for the entirety of the last week. However, the daily growth rate has actually been going down for a while. On Tuesday, the day when India hit the 5 million-mark, the daily growth rate slipped below 2 per cent. This was a first since the pandemic first hit the country. The recent nationwide surge, meanwhile, can be attributed to Maharashtra which has been driving the pandemic. The state has been reporting between 20,000 and 25,000 cases daily for the last ten days. Read more here


On re-infections: Anecdotal cases of Covid-19 reinfections have emerged, including one from Bengaluru. An Indian virologist, Dr Shahid Jameel, speaks on re-infections in this interview. He says the main question experts are grappling with is whether these cases are of the same virus re-surfacing or are the result of an entirely new viral event. The only way to determine if it’s a case of re-infection is to check if the two viruses differ from one another. This can be done via genome sequencing which requires a special set-up as it cannot be performed in the usual diagnostic lab. He also adds that there is a possibility that RT-PCR tests can detect the dead genetic material of the previous infection and the person is declared positive again. In such a case, there is no risk of spreading the virus. However, he says, this shouldn't make people worry about re-infections and their focus should instead be on the disease itself. Further, as cases of re-infections are pretty rare and therefore they should not have any bearing on the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine. Read more here

Understanding Covid-19

Substance use disorders: A new study shows that people with substance use disorders are more susceptible to the Researchers involved in the study suggest that doctors should monitor those with these disorders more closely. The findings are based on a comparison of the known records of population of substance users and the proportion of Covid-19 cases they account for. Those with a recent diagnosis of these disorders were also found to be more susceptible. This effect was found to be more prevalent in those using Opioids, followed by those using tobacco. Further, these people were also found to be more likely to suffer outcomes such as hospitalisation and even death compared to the general population. Read more here

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First Published: Wed, September 16 2020. 15:24 IST