India Coronavirus dispatch: Link between Mumbai's slums and Covid spread

Topics Coronavirus

A health worker collects a nasal sample from a child for COVID-19 test during the total lockdown imposed by the state government due to surge in Covid-19 cases, in Patna on Monday. Photo: ANI
Managing Covid-19

How strong is the link between Mumbai’s slums and the spread of the coronavirus? But while densification was a way to solve other problems of the city earlier, now density itself is being seen as a problem. Slums are being blamed for being too dense. The proposed solution, paradoxically, remains identical: high-density high-rise slum-redevelopment. Read more here

Why community transmission no longer matters at this stage: Covid-19 disease is present in every state and Union Territory, except Lakshadweep. Twenty-seven of these have seen more than 1,000 people getting infected till now. Even Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which has the lowest number of cases in the country, has more than 150.The government insists that the disease has still not reached a stage where community transmission has started to happening. Several scientists and experts have said community transmission was no doubt taking place, but that it did not matter in any case. Read more here

Covid fatality rate drops below 2.5 per cent; Gujarat and Maharashtra still a worry: While the country’s Covid count has crossed the million-mark, with 26,816 deaths as on July 18, the case fatality rate (CFR) has for the first time dropped below 2.5 per cent. At 2.49 per cent, India’s CFR is 1.78 percentage points lower than the global average. According to data released by the Union Health Ministry on Sunday, 29 states and Union Territories have a CFR that is below the national average, with 14 states reporting a CFR of less than one per cent. Read more here

No clear link to currency notes and Covid-19 spread: What happens to cash in a post-Covid world? In the United States, many credit card companies see an opportunity during the pandemic to make a more structural shift away from cash. But this is predicated on the assumption that the novel coronavirus lasts longer on paper currency notes than it does on credit/debit cards, or touchscreen surfaces. Studies have suggested that ethanol is one of the most effective disinfectants for surfaces potentially affected by Covid-19. As India still uses paper-based currency notes, it may be difficult in practice to disinfect the large volumes of notes in circulation and with the public. Read more here

Maharashtra plans app-based ambulance service like Uber, Ola: Soon, along the lines of app-based taxi services such as Uber and Ola, people in Maharashtra will be able to book an ambulance also through an app. The Maharashtra government is planning to fit all the state ambulances, mobile medical units and other health department vehicles providing medical services under various projects in the state with updated GPS and GPRS, and launch a free mobile application using which people can call an ambulance or a mobile medical unit. Read more here.

Understanding Covid-19

What we know of Covid-19 now: Updated symptoms, modes of transmission, immunity and complications: What began with a handful of infections in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December, has now spread to over 216 countries, with cases of the novel coronavirus infection crossing 14 million worldwide, including more than 6 lakh deaths. However, even after seven months, scientists are still to come to a conclusion on the source of the virus, how the disease is transmitted, why some cases are more severe than others and whether people who have recovered from Covid-19 can get it again. Read more here

Why do some coronavirus patients suffer chronic fatigue even after recovery? Although we know that lasting fatigue can sometimes follow other viral infections, detailed mechanistic insight is, for the most part, lacking. An ongoing viral infection in lung, brain, fat or other tissue may be one mechanism. A prolonged and inappropriate immune response after the infection has been cleared might be another. Read more here

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may reduce threat of Covid-19: A simple cholesterol-lowering drug may reduce the threat of Covid-19 to that of the common cold, suggests new research. Researchers at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center were focused on the changes in Covid-19 patients’ lungs and found that the virus prevents the regular burning of carbohydrates. What does this mean? Basically, this causes a huge fat buildup inside the lungs which helps the virus reproduce. According to the research, this could explain the risk profiles of Covid-19. Most people at risk are those with high blood sugar, high cholesterol and diabetes. Read more here


Made-in-India Covid vaccine likely by early 2021: Ahmedabad-based pharmaceutical firm Zydus Cadila has said that its indigenously-developed vaccine against the novel coronavirus could be launched early next year. ZyCoV-D, a plasmid DNA vaccine, is being developed at the company’s Vaccine Technology Centre (VTC) in Ahmedabad. The firm had, on 15 February, made an announcement about its vaccine development programme for Covid-19. Read this interview with Panjak R Patel, chairman of Zydus Cadila.  


How India’s healthcare and education systems must adapt to a post-coronavirus world: As India begins to unlock, cases of Covid-19 are increasing in parts of the country. This has brought the effectiveness of the lockdown and our ability to flatten the curve. It poses important challenges to our public systems, especially the healthcare system as it rushes to cope with increased mobility, economic activity and a surge in cases. How should India’s public health system respond as we unlock, and cases increase? What impact has the virus had on other public systems, like education? And what are the big questions we need to think about in the policy sphere as we learn to live with the virus? Read more here
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