India coronavirus dispatch: Covid patients more prone to dying from surgery

An old patient who fought coronavirus being felicitated after his recovery, at Aurbindo hospital.
Expert Speak

Mumbai has more patients than beds: Mumbai has detected 48 per cent of its 35,273 cases since May 17, when the lockdown was extended. The city accounts for over 22 per cent of the cases na-tionwide. With lockdown 4.0 set to end, will Mumbai’s hospitals be able to take the load of increas-ing new cases? Are hospitals being managed in terms of inflow of the right kind of patients in the right way, so as to not overload the system with patients who may not require hospitalisation? Can the logistics be managed better? Read this interview with Shivkumar Utture, president, Maharash-tra Medical Council, and Girdhar Gyani, director general, Association of Healthcare Providers of India. Read more here


A moment for civilisational introspection: This should be a moment for civilisational introspection. In the coming months, as hunger spreads, jobs crumble, children are pulled out of school into labour, and poor people die without hospital beds and ventilators, will we acknowledge our collective cul-pability in the social crime of the radical dispossession of our people, in an ultimately vain bid to keep just ourselves safe? Read more here 

Managing Covid-19

India’s health system is caught between Covid-19 and the monsoons: The onset of the southwest monsoons in India from June 1 will also mark the spawning of a new set of issues for the Centre and state governments to deal with. Perhaps the most important among them are water- and vector-borne diseases. Read more here 

What the latest data on India’s coronavirus testing tells us: A re-search paper published by a study group of the Indian Council of Medical Research provides the clearest statistical window to the novel coronavirus testing situation in India. The group, which fea-tures both government scientists and independent experts, examined anonymised data of 1,021,518 people tested for Covid-19 between January 22 and April 30. Of these, 40,184 people tested posi-tive – a positivity rate of 3.9 per cent. Read more here

Why women, children in Rajasthan’s tribal belts are facing hunger: With anganwadi centres closed and self-help groups that cook for public nutrition schemes inactive, the distribution of spe-cial food kits has been interrupted. This includes hot, cooked meals for children aged three to six years and take-home ration (THR), a special diet mix, for pregnant and lactating women, children aged six months to three years, and malnourished children aged six months to six years. Read more here 


States’ loss of fiscal autonomy in a centralised federal system: The response to Covid-19 has brought out the fragility of the Indian federal system. A tendency towards extreme centralisation during the pandemic and the absence of checks and balances to correct this centralisation is a matter of concern. The pandemic has to be fought by both the Centre and the states as both have stakes in protecting lives and livelihoods¬—in fact, the states more so since they are in the forefront. But they do not have the fiscal strength to do so. In such a scenario, the Centre is using the states’ distress situation to force them to adopt its economic and institutional agenda. Read more here

Hunger grows as India’s lockdown kills jobs--results of a survey from 12 states: The national lockdown has had a profound effect on employment and earnings in India. Livelihoods have been devastated at unprecedented levels. Food insecurity and economic vulnerability have increased to staggering proportions. Hunger deaths and suicides linked to economic stress are being reported. The immediate relief measures do not appear to be in proportion to the severity of the situation on the ground. India should universalise the PDS, expand cash transfers, and create a national job guarantee scheme. Read more here

Understanding Covid-19

Covid-19 patients at higher risk of dying from any surgery: Covid-19 patients are at a higher risk of dying if they undergo any surgery - even minor or elective surgery. This finding comes from a new global study published in The Lancet on the risks of postoperative death for Covid-19 patients by experts at the University of Birmingham-led NIHR Global Research Health Unit on Global Sur-gery. Read more here 

Older men worry less about Covid-19 than others: Data on Covid-19 so far has indicated that men are more vulnerable than women, and the elderly more vulnerable than the young. Now, a study has found that older men worry less about Covid-19 than women their age or than younger men and women, and thus may be at greater risk of contracting it. This is a concern given that older men are already more at risk, according to the study by researchers at Georgia State University, and published in The Journals of Gerontology. Read more here 

How evidence-based medicine eliminates bias: Today’s best medical practices use evidence-based medicine. EBM is defined as the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of best available evidence to make medical decisions. It consists of reviewing and assessing all the available information to determine what the best treatment could be. The pandemic is an opportunity to abandon emotion and anxiety in the search for treatments and to adopt Evidence Based Medicine. Read more here

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