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India Coronavirus Dispatch: How long can the disease really last?

Low pay, poor facilities deter health workers from Covid care, cases in Karnataka, AP at new highs, how Indian education can adapt to a post-Covid world-news on how India is dealing with the pandemic

hospitals | Tamil Nadu | Coronavirus

Sarah Farooqui  |  New Delhi 

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A worker in PPE sanitizes the interiors of High Street Phoenix mall in Mumbai’s Lower Parel on Thursday. The Maharashtra government has allowed shopping malls and marketplaces to reopen between 9 am and 7 pm from August 5 | Photo: Kamlesh Pednekar

Managing Covid-19

Low salaries, poor facilities deter health workers from care: Government and private are finding it difficult to recruit new and additional healthcare workers to care for patients even as the number of people testing positive continues to grow. The pandemic has added to the stress of an overburdened healthcare workforce. India has one medical doctor for every 1,404 people and 1.7 nurses per 1,000 people, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. This is lower than the World Health Organization (WHO) benchmark of one doctor and three nurses per 1,000 people. Read more here.

33 persons in government service died after testing positive in TN: At least 33 persons in government service who were involved in the fight against Covid-19 across the State have died so far after contracting the infection. The list of persons, included among others 11 from Greater Chennai Corporation, eight from Police Department, three from Health Department, and two from the Town Panchayats. One of the deceased had worked as Senior Private Secretary in the Chief Minister's Office. Read more here.

Positive cases in Karnataka, Andhra at new highs: The number of cases on the Southern states os on a rise.Of the total 69,700 active cases, 620 were in intensive care. Of 6,128 cases reported, 2,233 were in Bengalurru. Mysuru added 430 cases. In Telangana, 1,811 more samples tested positive on Wednesday, and 13 COVID-19 patients died. The new cases included 521 from Greater Hyderabad, 289 from Rangareddy, 151 from Medchal Malkajgiri, and 102 from Warangal Urban. Read more here.

Here’s how Covid-19 hit virus-free Vietnam again: Vietnam has had one of the world’s best records in containing the despite bordering China, its biggest trading partner, where the virus was first reported. But after more than three months with no reports of local transmission, new cases have now been reported in six cities and provinces in the past week and authorities in the communist-ruled country are scrambling to contain the new outbreak. Read more here.

Understanding Covid-19

How long can the disease really last? India was in peak crisis mode, where were filling up with acute cases and the ‘newness’ of this disease made everyone on edge. Cases are still on the rise, but with basic infrastructural needs like PPEs and ventilators and beds more streamlined, the initial panic has died down. This also means that we are now seeing the long-term effects of the virus, and how recovery is not always the end of the battle. So while we cheer on India’s nearly 65 per cent recovered cases, the story doesn't end there. Read more here.

Protein identified as potential Achilles’ heel of coronavirus: When the SARS-CoV-2 enters a human cell, it hijacks the cell mechanism. One of its proteins, called PLpro, is produced by the human cell itself after the virus hijacks the cell mechanism. PLpro is essential for replication of the virus. A new study in Nature has found that pharmacological inhibition of PLpro blocks virus replication and also strengthens our immune response. Read more here.

Is excess mortality a better measure of success or failure during the pandemic? India has poor registration and statistical infrastructure, and Indian mortality statistics typically take two to three years to estimate after a ‘normal’ year. Excess mortality is typically not calculated by government agencies either. It would therefore need to be specifically studied by an independent body or research group. Indians will therefore have to bide their time to learn India’s excess mortality due to the pandemic. Read more here.

Researchers smell a rat, say expensive remdesivir getting ‘subtle push’ over HCQ in studies:

A “subtle push” is being given to remdesivir (RDV) as a treatment for Covid-19 while hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is being “snubbed” despite the two drugs showing similar results with respect to coronavirus, a group of researchers has said. The observations have been made by Dr Sumit Dang of the from University of Kentucky, US, Dr Amit Dang, founder and CEO of the Telangana-based MarksMan Healthcare, and Dr Vallish B.N., senior consultant at MarksMan Healthcare, in an analysis published in the peer-reviewed Indian Journal of Medical Ethics (IJME). Read more here.


How can the Indian education system adapt to a post-Covid-19 world? To prepare for the post-Covid-19 world, we need to discuss what happens when schools reopen. How should India deal with the challenge of school closures? What does the education system need to do to prepare for the reopening? And how can it ensure that the long gap in schooling is effectively filled to improve children’s’ learning levels and move on in their learning trajectories? Listen to this podcast with Yamini Aiyar, President and Chief Executive of Centre for Policy Research and Dr Rukmini Banerji, CEO of Pratham, India’s leading NGO in the space of elementary education.

First Published: Fri, July 31 2020. 17:48 IST