How Covid disrupted India's TB programme
Even though around 150,000 people have been reported to have died because of Covid-19, tuberculosis remains India’s severest health crisis killing over 1,200 Indians daily, according to a report in Scroll.
The TB treatment programme and its services have been upended by the pandemic with delays in diagnosis, treatment, access and possibly increased suffering, and mental health issues. TB and Covid-19 together present a deadly mix for India’s health system, the report said.
TB affected individuals are scared of Covid-19 and are not visiting labs and hospitals. Patients are also struggling to access medicines putting the treatment in jeopardy. Fewer transportation options have restricted access to health centres. TB drugs have been reported to be in short supply in both the public and private sector, the report said. Read more here
Why poorer nations have low Covid deaths per million
If one compared countries on deaths per million basis, poorer countries such as India have a much lower fatality rate than richer countries. This report in The Print delves into the reasons behind it.
The deaths per million figure is 45 in Pakistan, 46 in Bangladesh, 80 in Indonesia and 107 in India. Belgium’s deaths per million figure was 1667 on Wednesday. This rate is 16 times India’s even as Belgium’s per capita GDP is 16 times higher. There are several factors, but age seems to be a key one. The poorer the country, the younger the population. And, those over 60 are the most vulnerable. In richer countries, the Covid fatality rates on a per million basis are 10 to 15 times. For instance, San Marino, where the rich retirees of the world live, the deaths per million is highest in the world at over 1700, the report said.
Another factor is a history of communicable diseases, according to a paper to be published in a journal called Current Science. The study finds that there is a negative correlation between fatality rates and a history of communicable diseases such as typhoid and tuberculosis, the report said. Read more here
India’s ‘own Covid variant could emerge sooner or later’: Top expert
While many UK returnees have tested positive for the new variant in recent days, here are views from a top expert at CCMB in Hyderabad, one of the ten labs in the country conducting genome sequencing of the Covid-positive samples of UK returnees. This report appeared on The Print.
The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Research (CCMB) has said there could be a “large number of UK variant positive cases” in the coming days. CCMB director Rakesh Mishra said there is a good chance that the country might “make our (its) own variant sooner or later” as India has the second-largest cumulative caseload.
There is no evidence to support if this variant is more dangerous. Nevertheless, a faster rate of transmission means more people could get infected than before. This in turn could lead to an added burden on an already strained healthcare system. Read more here
Year 2020 in words, from ‘you’re on mute’ to ‘the rona’
2020 was an unprecedented year. The pandemic has disrupted the lives and lifestyles of millions of people. The year has also popularised several words and expressions so that we could better understand what this bizarre time has been like with some much-needed humour, a report in The Hindu said. Read twenty such ‘coronacoinages’ here
The role data played in containing the virus
Advancements in technology have enabled scientists and researchers to track how the virus is spreading in real-time, according to a report in Hindustan Times. Within weeks of the outbreak, the scientific community around the world kicked off large-scale tracking exercises. This produced real-time data that was shared online. The data, together with advances in computing power, would go on to play a massive role in containing the virus. This was the biggest collaborative public data-gathering exercise in history, the report said. Read here