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India Coronavirus Dispatch: Pfizer's vaccine may play key role in India

Active cases fall below half of peak, Delhi's air quality remains severe, and Covid patients could suffer psychiatric illnesses-news on how the country is coping with the pandemic

Coronavirus Vaccine | Coronavirus Tests

Bharath Manjesh  |  New Delhi 

A health worker in personal protective equipment (PPE) collects a swab sample from a man at the Sadar Bazar market to conduct tests for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Delhi (File photo)

Pfizer says its Covid vaccine could play a role in India's early vaccine response:

American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said Tuesday that its Covid-19 vaccine has the potential to be an important part of India’s early immunisation response against the pandemic. Since the announcement, the mRNA technology-based vaccine has taken the lead in the race for a Covid vaccine and brought some semblance of relief amid the raging pandemic. In India, the number of active Covid cases is hovering around 5 lakh, with a total death toll of over 1.27 lakh.
A Pfizer spokesperson said that with the scale (of vaccine doses) required in India, there may eventually be multiple vaccines deployed in the country. However, if successful, Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine certainly has the potential to be an important part of India’s early vaccine response to the pandemic in priority geographies and populations. Read more here

Delhi air pollution levels remain ‘severe’ for the seventh consecutive day:

A thick quilt of smog eclipsed Delhi skies on Wednesday morning as the city’s air quality level remained “severe” for the seventh consecutive day, data from the Central Pollution Control Board showed. According to the agency’s air quality index or AQI, any reading above 100 on a scale of 500 is progressively unsafe for health. At 8 am, the AQI in Delhi was 476, indicating “severe” conditions that pose a risk of respiratory problems. On Tuesday, it was 476, and on Monday, the AQI of the city was 477. This comes as Delhi is possibly suffering a “third wave” of coronavirus infections.

Health experts worry that high air pollution levels over a prolonged period have compromised the disease resistance of people living in Delhi, making them more susceptible to the coronavirus. Delhi’s air pollution typically worsens in October and November due to farmers burning off stubble in neighbouring states, unfavourable wind speeds, and local emission of traffic fumes in the city. Firecrackers ignited for Diwali add to the problem. Read more here

Covid patients at risk of developing psychiatric illnesses, Oxford study finds:

Nearly one in every 17 people with Covid could develop anxiety, insomnia, or mood disorder for the first time within 90 days of being diagnosed, a new study of US patient health records suggested. The study published in Lancet Psychiatry journal on Monday also found that existing psychiatric patients run a 65 per cent higher risk of being diagnosed with Covid-19.

This means that the association between Covid and psychiatric illnesses is bidirectional — one condition that tends to promote the other.

Led by the University of Oxford psychiatry professor Paul J Harrison, the study used data from the TriNetX Analytics Network, a global network that captures anonymised data from electronic health records in 54 healthcare organisations in the US, totalling 69.8 million patients. This included 62,354 patients diagnosed with Covid between 20 January and 1 August. Read more here

India's active cases fall below 5 lakh to half of the peak:

There are now less than half the number of active cases of coronavirus infections than at the peak, two months ago. The number of active cases fell below the five-lakh mark on Tuesday, to a level last seen towards the end of July.

At its peak, in the second week of September, India had 1.02 million active cases, with more than 90,000 infections being detected every day. There has been a remarkable turnaround after that, with active cases going down steadily and progressively for the last two months. On Tuesday, the active cases fell to 4.94 lakh. Read more here

Collins Dictionary’s word of the year is 'lockdown':

In its original hyphenated avatar, the word meant a piece of wood used to nail pieces of a raft together. In the 1970s, it is believed that the prison systems of some US states gave it a meaning close to its current one -- restricting inmates to their cells, especially in the wake of or to prevent violence. On Sunday, it was named the word of the year 2020 by Collins English Dictionary. The word? Lockdown.

The word, which, in its current context means measures implemented by governments around the world to restrict the movement of people to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus disease, Covid-19, was chosen for its “unifying experience for billions” and for being one that “sums up the year” for most people. Read more here

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First Published: Wed, November 11 2020. 15:42 IST