India Coronavirus Dispatch: Can telemedicine step up during Covid-19 times?

Topics Coronavirus | healthcare | WHO

Health workers wearing PPE to carry out medical checkup of the residents of a 'containment zones' Ambujwadi slums area at Malad, a Covid-19 hotspot, in Mumbai.
Why the migrant crisis set us back 15 years, what works in Covid-19 treatment, and should you get an antibody test done: a roundup of articles in Indian news publications on how India is dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.


Can telemedicine step up during Covid-19 times? With Covid-19 cases continuing to rise in India, one of the major problems faced by the general public is how to consult their doctors, what with an increasing number of healthcare professionals also contracting the virus. Telemedicine is beginning to step in here, with consultations taking place over the phone and video calls. This seems a way to keep both doctors and patients safe in the current situation. Listen to this podcast with Dr. K Ganapathy, former president of the Telemedicine Society of India, and director, Apollo Telemedicine Foundation. 

Catastrophic migrant crisis set us back 15 years: Read this interview with Santosh Mehrotra about the effects of the post-lockdown migrant crisis, what’s wrong with Make in India, and the four economic self-inflicted wounds by the current government. Santosh Mehrotra, is an economist, chairperson of the Centre for Informal Sector and Labour Studies, JNU and editor of Reviving Jobs: An Agenda for Growth. The booklays bare the challenge that India faces in providing employment for millions entering the workforce – and the many, many policy mistakes that were made to bring the country to this perilous situation.

Managing Covid-19

18 States/UTs have recovery rate higher than national average of 64.2 percent: Eighteen States/Union Territories are currently clocking a recovery rate more than the national average of 62.42 percent, the Health Ministry said on Friday. Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, among others have a recovery rate of over 70 percent. States/UTs have also taken steps to keep the fatality rate low with mapping of communities to focus on the high risk group like the elderly/aged and population with co-morbidities, and providing special care, according to the Health Ministry. Read more here. 

The Covid-19 hospital in Delhi that came up in just 12 days: The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Covid Hospital, a temporary 1,000-bed medical centre spread over 25,000 sq metres of Indian Air Force land on Ulan Batar Marg near Delhi airport’s domestic terminal T1, opened its doors to patients on July 9.The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has built the facility – which was formally inaugurated on July 5 – from scratch in just 12 days. Read more here. 

What works in Covid-19 treatment: Drugs used in Covid-19 treatment: As cases and deaths rise, doctors have been trying out a range of treatments. Based on current evidence and what scientists say, here’s a compendium of what works (or doesn’t) — and in what specific circumstances. Read more here

Migrants in Chennai still waiting to go home 100 days after lockdown began: Over 100 days since India first went into lockdown on March 25, 90 migrants were still waiting for news of a 'gaadi' or a 'vandi'--a Shramik train--that would take them home. So far, 100 trains have left Chennai carrying 1.35 lakh migrants, a senior official of Chennai Corporation said.These migrants had followed batches of others to spend between a few days to several weeks at this shelter while they waited for the train. Read more here. 


Delhi needs coordination across agencies and proactive leadership to fight Covid: The cumulative Covid-19 case count for Delhi crossed 85,000 by the end of June. Delhi’s test positivity rate increased (that is, worsened), despite a four-fold increase in daily testing, between mid-May and mid-June, coinciding with Lockdown 4.0 and Unlock 1.0. This period also witnessed a marked rise in daily cases, from an average of about 300 to more than 3,000 — it has since come down to about 2,000. The warning bells were loud and clear, culminating in meetings between the Union and Delhi government along with the mayors of the city’s municipalities. Read more here.

Understanding Covid-19

Should I get an antibody test done? Pvt labs begin tests for all: Antibody tests are not for diagnostic purposes, but only to determine if a person has developed antibodies to the disease after getting infected in the past. On June 23, the ICMR reiterated in its revised guidelines that RT-PCR (real-time polymerase chain reaction) test remains the ‘gold standard’ for detecting the infection. A positive antibody test, however, indicates an ongoing or past infection. Read more here.

Coronavirus can be airborne indoors, WHO confirms. Now what? WHO on July 9 published an updated version of its March 29 scientific brief, ‘Modes of transmission of virus causing Covid-19: implications for infection prevention and control (IPC) precaution recommendations’, which it said included “new scientific evidence available on transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19”.In the brief, the WHO has formally acknowledged the possibility that the novel coronavirus can remain in the air in crowded indoor spaces, where “short-range aerosol transmission… cannot be ruled out”. Read more here

Coronavirus could become resistant to Covid drug remdesivir, study says: According to researchers, mutations in the virus may eventually render remdesivir ineffective against the virus. The findings of the study, the authors said, can be used by structural biologists to better modify drugs “so that we are prepared”. The researchers have touted another experimental drug--EIDD-2801--as a better alternative against drug resistance. EIDD-2801 was the only drug used by researchers to draw a comparison. Read more here.

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