India Coronavirus Dispatch: Delhi sees a slowdown in daily new cases

The pandemic in Delhi has entered another phase of decline in cases, similar to the one seen in July
Undertrials see spurt in cases: Prisons across India have shown high rates of infection. The worst hit is Maharashtra with 2,061 inmates and 421 jail staff infected as of 23 September and an increase of about 30 confirmed cases daily. The SC, meanwhile, has refrained from monitoring the implementation of its March orders calling for committees to devise a criteria for granting bail to undertrials. The police continued to over-arrest even after prisoners were released and over-occupancy dropped by only 20 per cent. The main reason for the administration’s inability to reduce the prison population are the highly restrictive parameters for release with regards to the age and co-morbidities for convicts. In some cases, people have been deprived of relief despite meeting all criteria. Read more here

Delhi prison staff feel the brunt: In Delhi’s three prison complexes, 175 of 240 confirmed Covid-19 cases (72.9 per cent) by August 30 were among jail staff and the rest (65 or 27.1 per cent) were among inmates. Cases among inmates rose by 22.6 per cent while those among staff increased by 108.3 per cent in 58 days to August 30. This trend is in contrast to the that seen in jails across India where most Covid-19 cases-b have been reported among inmates. In Maharashtra, for example, around 1,043 prisoners and 302 jail staff tested positive for Covid-19 by August 18. The contrarian trend in Delhi, officials say, could be because the infection spread in staff quarters. This is despite the fact that Delhi’s prisons are the most crowded ones in the country. According to data, the total number of Covid-19 cases spiked by 75.18% from 137 to 240 in 58 days to August 30. Read more here

Nutrition woes: Over the past few months, anganwadi workers have predominantly played the role of frontline delivery agents of Covid-19 services, conducting door-to-door visits, awareness checks and delivering essentials. However, the lack of child services has emerged a cause for concern. Over 60 million children in India would be served meals anganwadi centres. Not only anganwadi centres, but schools have also shut down since the pandemic hit. This has upended the mid-day meal scheme entirely for millions of children for whom it was an important dietary programme. The fact that anganwadi centres have shut down has also disrupted employment for many parents as they depended on these centres to take care of their children. Read more here

In Numbers

Delhi’s decline: The pandemic in Delhi has entered another phase of decline in cases, similar to the one seen in July. The decline this time is not as rapid, though. On Sunday, about 2,700 confirmed cases were reported in the city, the third straight day when it has remained below 3,000. The recoveries have also started to exceed the new cases once again. During the slowdown in July, the number of active cases had slipped below 10,000 before surging to 32,000 on September 20. The active case count currently has dipped below 25,000. Further, nearly 63 per cent of the hospital beds allocated for Covid-19 patients in the city are now vacant. The case fatality ratio — the number of deaths as a proportion of confirmed cases — has slipped below two per cent for the first time since May. Read more here


Mask up, now: The colour-coded zone laws, lockdowns and curfews are losing steam but the pandemic itself isn't. Last month a network of medical students across India observed how one in four people were not wearing masks. Among those who were, nearly one-third to one-half did not wear them properly. In effect, nearly 2,528 of the 4,548 people observed (more than half) were not effectively masked. This, the author says, is a worrying sign since masking up is the only effective strategy against the virus if and until a vaccine arrives. A recently published article in a medical journal has gone as far as to suggest that masking up can actually improve immunity. Indians refusing to mask up could be because of the hot and humid climate in the country. Another reason could be the fact that many are suffering from fatigue since the pandemic has only grown. Read more here

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