India Coronavirus Dispatch: Concerns over infections among primitive tribes

Many people who have recovered from the virus report symptoms such as fatigue and breathlessness
Why Covid reaching primitive tribes is a concern: In Odisha, members of Bonda and Didayi tribes have tested positive for the virus. These are primitive tribes characterised by physical isolation, low literacy rates, stagnant population and pre-agricultural economy. The fact that members of these tribes are infected by the virus is a matter of grave concern. According to a public health newsletter realised by the Odisha government, the health status of these tribals is quite low due to poverty. Their immunity, in particular, is in bad shape. Further, their lifestyle is community-driven which makes the spread of the virus easier if even one member is infected. The source of infection in those tested positive is still not known. However, some believe that migration might be to blame as some tribals have had to venture out to other districts in search of livelihood opportunities. Read more here

KV guidelines: State-run Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) have announced their guidelines for partial reopening. However, these guidelines differ for its local branches in accordance to rules put in place by the respective state government. According to the guidelines dispatched to Delhi KVs, the schools will have to designate different days for students of different grades to avoid crowding inside the premises. Teachers, according to the letter, will be called in depending on the timetable for the day. They will also have to conduct online classes to cater to those who choose to stay at home. The arrangements for online classes will be made at the school-level itself. The guidelines also state that in case a student does not have access to devices, their parents will be counselled to have them sent to school. Read more here

Scepticism over fatality rate: India has so far seen an unexpectedly low fatality rate. Many believe this is due to the relatively young age of the population. Others say that a lag between infection and death coupled with increased testing will keep the rate low. The authors decide to put all such assumptions to the test. They compare India to 17 other nations for whom age-distribution data is either available or can be constructed. They found that the numbers are lower than India’s Covid fatality rate. They conclude that ‘raw’ fatality rate data on its own cannot be an indicator of success against the pandemic. This trend holds true when comparing other factors, as well. Read more here

Haryana schools: The first day of reopening of government schools in Haryana saw thin attendance. Only 12 to 15 per cent students went to school to seek guidance from their teachers. School authorities expect the number to go up from Tuesday. The schools, meanwhile, put in place various preventive measures against the virus. Separate gates for entry and exit, circles marked out for ensuring social distancing, and sanitiser dispensers were all put in place. Most private schools, however, remained shut. According to some, the high rates for coronavirus tests for teachers discouraged most private schools from reopening. An association of private schools, meanwhile, has sought government intervention to reduce Covid-19 testing rates for teachers. Read more here

Ghost of Bhopal gas tragedy amid Covid: In an incident that once again put the spotlight on Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (BMHRC), groups working with Bhopal Gas tragedy survivors have accused it of negligence after 6 patients died of Covid-19 in September alone. BMHRC is a hospital dedicated to survivors of the gas tragedy which was converted a Covid-19 hospital in March. Groups monitoring the health of the gas tragedy survivors have written to authorities demanding better care for survivors who tested positive for Covid-19. It’s now being alleged that isolation rooms do not have dedicated supervisors or facilities like oxygen supply and ventilators. Further, even non-Covid healthcare needs of the survivors have been disrupted and many haven’t gotten admission into the hospital yet. Read more here

Understanding Covid-19

Precautions post-covid: Many people who have recovered from the virus report symptoms such as fatigue and breathlessness. Some patients, says a doctor, have even had to be rushed to the hospital with low oxygen saturation levels just a day after discharge. Post-recovery, experts say, patients should monitor their oxygen levels, temperature, blood pressure and look for symptoms of respiratory symptoms. They should go for follow-up consultations as well. A CT scan of the chest should also be performed 3 months after recovery to look at extent of recovery in lungs. If these precautions are not taken, there’s always a risk of cytokine storm. Read more here

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