India coronavirus dispatch: Detect, isolate, share data more transparently

Topics Coronavirus | Lockdown

FILE PIC: Health workers collect swab samples from people for COVID-19 tests, in New Delhi. PTI
Here is a selection of important Covid-19 articles from across Indian publications. From a pandemic patent pool, to courts working after the lockdown, and why coronavirus outbreaks could go on until 2024 — read these and more in today’s India dispatch.

Citizens Under Lockdown

One reason why tea garden employees went back to work – hunger: While industries across the country remained shut because of the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, tea garden employees in eastern India went back to work. Read more to understand why


Needed — a pandemic patent pool: The purpose of creating and recognising patent rights is for the common public good; that is, innovation should be made public in exchange for a limited monopoly. Thus, patents need to be disclosed to the public in order to enable further research. Read here on whether pandemics such as Covid-19 should be an exception to this.

To help farmers, govt must expand the ambit of PM-KISAN scheme: Farmers are in a deep distress, with the lockdown causing disruptions in the food supply chain, and scarcity of labour, and resulting in a decline in demand. From feeding a population displaced, dislocated and frozen in its tracks, to ensuring that farmers stay afloat in the coming months, the government has a tough job on its hands to which it will need to respond quickly and generously. Read more here

Managing Covid-19

Doubling time not the only metric, other data must to make post-lockdown decisions, experts say: As India plans to relax the countrywide lockdown after May 3, 2020, the government should not rely only on the rising doubling time of Covid-19 cases to infer the spread and progression of the disease. It should also ramp up testing, especially in densely populated areas. Read here on why patients and their contacts should be detected early and isolated or quarantined, and why the government should share data more transparently. 

After May 3, here's what states with most 'red zone' districts are planning: With just two days to go for the May 3 nationwide lockdown to expire, the central government is clearly embarking on a strategy of leaving it to the wisdom of the individual states to take the next course of action for lifting public restrictions – based on their vulnerability index, and the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases. Read more here.

Plasma therapy is no silver bullet: The most important principle in medical ethics is “do no harm”. The transfusion of convalescent plasma is also not without risks, which range from mild reactions like fever, itching, to life-threatening allergic reactions and lung injury. Read here on why recommending a therapy without studying it thoroughly with robust scientific methods may cause more harm than good. 

Fans, mosquito nets, pool testing — the plan to get Delhi courts working after lockdown: According to a committee, after the lockdown, cases in which arguments have already been heard and the order has been reserved should be given priority. Non-urgent/routine matters will also be permitted to be filed online, with the rider that it would be taken up for hearing as and when the normal and regular functioning of courts resumes. Read more here

Why coronavirus outbreaks could go on until 2024 despite social distancing: Even if we continue with strict social distancing, there’s still a significant chance of a major new outbreak this winter. If it turns out that recovered individuals only have temporary immunity, the virus will probably enter into regular circulation, causing annual outbreaks. If there are strong seasonal effects on transmission, the wintertime outbreaks may very well be worse than the initial ones. Read more here.

Understanding Covid-19

Can Covid-19 hit sense of smell? Among the symptoms listed for Covid-19 and include fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and a new loss of taste or smell. If a patient has two or more of these symptoms, there is believed to be a chance that the person has Covid-2019 infection. Read more here.

The more effectively we track data, the less speculative our coronavirus models will be: We don’t really know how many people have been infected or how fast the disease is spreading because existing tests on select groups of people don’t give a sense of the prevalence of coronavirus in the general population. Here is a quick explainer on the need for global testing for the virus and its antibodies, and how these tests work. 


Listen to this podcast on how India’s Covid-19 lockdown has disrupted tuberculosis diagnoses and care and how India can ensure continued TB care during and after the Covid-19 lockdown, with Dr Madhukar Pai of the International TB Centre, journalist Nandita Venkatesan and pulmonologist Dr Sarthak Rastogi.


Support the different sectors of the economy: Gita Gopinath, chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, in this interview says that the Indian government needs to spend more to provide support to the different sectors of the economy. She points out that global growth estimates have been the most pessimistic since the great depression and also says that China's economy should see a faster recovery compared to other countries

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