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India Coronavirus Dispatch: No unanimity on death toll in Gujarat's Rajkot

Tripura schools set to reopen, Kerala has fastest growing Covid numbers, cases entering smaller villages in Maharashtra's Wardha--news on how the country is coping with the pandemic

Coronavirus | Coronavirus Tests | Coronavirus Vaccine

Shreegireesh Jalihal  |  New Delhi 

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The Municipal Commissioner, however, denies any under-reporting of deaths.

Rajkot’s death data disparity: In Gujarat’s Rajkot, the Covid-19 death toll will change depending on who you ask. According to the Municipal Corporation, 94 people in the city have died of Covid-19 as of 25 September, while state government data pegs that number at 131 people. According to data from the four crematoriums and six burial grounds across Rajkot, however, 1,247 Covid-related bodies have been cremated so far. This is way above the official figures.The Municipal Commissioner, however, denies any under-reporting of deaths. The number of bodies handled by each crematorium has also gone up. One crematorium, for example, handled 475 deaths in July 2020 compared to 270 deaths in July 2019, 1,035 in August 2020 as opposed to 301 the previous August, and 417 deaths as of 21 September 2020 compared to 314 deaths in the same month last year. Read more here

prepares to reopen schools: is set to reopen its schools from October 5 with social distancing norms for students and 50 per cent attendance for teachers. Student attendance, however, would need a letter of consent from their parents. The state has been experimenting with neighbourhood classes, online classes and even broadcasting pre-recorded sessions on Doordarshan. Neighbourhood classes were halted one week after they began as cases saw a spike. Further, the state will also be conducting final year college degree examinations via online mode. Read more here


View from Wardha: A public health expert from Maharashtra’s Wardha district speaks about the pandemic and its effects on the remote region. The big change, over the months, is that cases are now beginning to come smaller villages as well. He says there’s community transmission in the area is definitely going on. He says there’s a fair bit of awareness among villagers about the virus now. The virus is being detected after villagers with symptoms turned up at hospitals to have themselves tested. Manpower and healthcare facilities have so far proved adequate but healthcare workers complain fatigue has begun to set in six months into the pandemic. The advantage rural India has over the urban one is lower prevalence of lifestyle diseases like diabetes. Read the interview here

In Numbers

Kerala’s Woes: has emerged as the state with the fastest growing Covid-19 numbers in the country right now. It has been reporting over 18,000 new cases for the last three days. It still lags behind states like Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh in terms of caseload but is set to re-enter the top ten list given the rate at which cases are being reported. Over the course of the last week, almost 35,000 new cases have been reported in the state, taking the total number of confirmed infections to 161,000. The southern state also has the highest growth rate of cases at 3.51 per cent per day. Further, it is fifth highest in terms of number of active cases which currently stands at 49,000. One of the issues is that the state had been a slow starter in conducting diagnostic tests. It is, however, slowly picking up now. Read more here


Way forward: The columnist says that the pandemic is here to stay till 2021 at least. Governments must keep the crisis in mind going forward. Their top priority must be mitigating environmental impact keeping in mind that the environment is the parent of the economy and not vice-versa. In the beginning of the pandemic, he says, it was important to provide for the poor and ensure that the agricultural supply chain remained intact. However, the focus must now also include the urban middle class. Further, the spending on healthcare remains woefully inadequate. Over the last few months, Covid-19 has taken up the bulk of healthcare attention and other critical areas like immunisation programmes have fallen by the wayside. The government’s response should be to prioritise Covid-19 while ensuring sufficient funding for other public healthcare needs as well. Read more here

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First Published: Sat, September 26 2020. 14:43 IST