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India coronavirus dispatch: Should all patients in hospitals be tested?

From classification of zones, to managing the pandemic in the northeastern states, and why Tamil Nadu is the latest cause for worry - read these and more in today's India dispatch

Coronavirus | healthcare | Health crisis

Sarah Farooqui  |  New Delhi 

Medics wave at a Covid-19 patient who was being discharged as the last patient recovered at Kozhikode Medical College, in Kozhikode. Photo: PTI
Medics wave at a Covid-19 patient who was being discharged as the last patient recovered at Kozhikode Medical College, in Kozhikode. Photo: PTI

Here is a selection of articles from across Indian publications on Covid-19. From classification of zones, to managing the pandemic in the northeastern states, and why Tamil Nadu is the latest cause for worry – read these and more in today’s India dispatch.

Long Read

With low Covid-19 numbers, northeastern states not doing enough to test, prepare: In the northeastern region, only seven districts are orange, one is red, and the rest are green. Assam, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland combined have 101 Covid-19 cases. Should there be an outbreak, there would be a lack of testing facilities and skilled staff to manage it, besides inadequate infrastructure such as hospitals, isolation beds and ventilators. Read more here.

Citizens Under Lockdown

Where have the children on the streets gone? Children are not the face of this pandemic, but they risk being among its biggest victims, a report released by the United Nations in April said. In India, the crisis is snowballing for marginalised children. Migrant child labourers, street children, child beggars and farmers’ children trapped midway, are fighting more than they can at their age. Read more here.

How the pandemic has affected India’s forest-dwelling communities: The country’s forest dwellers earn their livelihood chiefly by collecting more than 15 different types of minor forest produce, including honey, gum, bamboo, beedi leaves, broomstick grass, tamarind and Indian gooseberries. All collections have now stopped. Disrupted movement and supply of essential commodities have also affected these communities. Read more here.


The case for a gradual exit: If the is continued in the way it is now being done, it will decimate the poor. Epidemiologist Jayaprakash Muliyil, and orthopaedic surgeon Dr Thomas George look at the conflicting statements from the scientific community and governments. They explain why mitigation measures, taking people into confidence, and facing the pandemic by deploying available resources is the most ethical and effective response.

Diverting rice to produce ethanol during pandemic is unethical: Diversion of food crops to produce biofuel was considered one of the reasons for the rise in food prices globally. Corn and other grain are also used in feedstock for poultry and cattle and are hence part of the food economy. Siraj Hussain and Ajit Ranade explain here whether India, a country with rampant poverty, hunger, and malnutrition, should use food grains for making ethanol.

How do we build a society less susceptible to debt, disease, devastation? We begin by investing in the three basic needs of people — food, water, and shelter — and provide three primary basic services of healthcare, education, and banking which people and societies need for their well-being. Ela R Bhatt writes in how by focusing on these six needs and services, we can make sure that our post-pandemic society is both sustainable and equitable.

Managing Covid-19

Why Tamil Nadu is latest cause for worry: Tamil Nadu has added to its tally at a very fast pace in the past few days. Its number has nearly doubled in the past week from 2058 to 4058. The state has reported over 500 new cases on each of the past two days, and has been the single biggest contributor to the numbers after Maharashtra. Read more here.

Where have all the hospital emergencies gone? Around the world, emergency rooms are receiving fewer patients with strokes, heart attacks and other conditions that usually keep them occupied. Although Covid-19 is the most impending health emergency in most countries, cardiovascular disease remains the world’s leading cause of death. Read here about how the crisis has dramatically altered the delivery of cardiology care as it has other emergency care.

The logic and illogic of India’s attempt to paint districts red, orange and green: On April 15, as the country’s first ended and the second began, India’s health ministry published its first district categorisation list, and identified 170 as ‘hotspots’. Then, on April 30, four days before India went into its third lockdown, the ministry issued a new district-classification list. Read here to understand more about the classification of each of these zones.

Covid-19 successful or not? In the next two weeks, all discussion will centre around one question — did the lockdown work? There are five ways to evaluate if it worked, where India measures up on these metrics, and a rough guess of who is likely to favour which indicator. Read them here.

Understanding Covid-19

Spraying disinfectants on city streets won’t do much to curb Covid-19 spread: The likely effectiveness of spraying streets and other public places depends on how the virus spreads, how the disinfectants work and what conditions these are used in. Read more here.

Should all patients admitted to hospitals be tested for Covid-19? Testing has been India’s bane during the Covid-19 pandemic. But while efforts to increase testing would generally be welcomed, there is one area where the policy of testing in India remains grey. And that is regarding testing all hospital admissions. Read more here.

Why the small pulse oximeter is becoming a major tool for doctors in Covid-19 crisis: A simple yet effective tool, the pulse oximeter, has been coming in handy in the treatment and management of Covid-19. Oximeters are small clip-on devices commonly attached to a patient’s fingers. It has so far been used on people suffering from respiratory illnesses like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung disease and asthma. Read more here.

First Published: Thu, May 07 2020. 06:31 IST