India coronavirus dispatch: Pandemic and the challenge of behaviour change

Topics Coronavirus | health | Lockdown

FILE PIC: Migrants travelling from Haryana walk towards her native place, during the ongoing Covid-19 nationwide lockdown, at Anand Vihar in New Delhi. Photo: PTI
Here is a round-up of coronavirus-related articles from across Indian publications. From preparing for community transmission after lockdown, to relief for homeless migrants, and how to wear and remove a mask properly — read these and more in today’s India dispatch.

Expert Speak

A mental health crisis is brewing: How ready are we as a populace or as individuals for the post-Covid-19 world? What is happening to us right now as we sit at home and engage with our families? Are issues we should have been grappling with or are grappling with perhaps have an impact as we emerge back into the real world? Read this interview on the impact of the lockdown on mental health, with Shekhar Saxena, professor of Practice of Global Mental Health at Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health, Amit Malik, who has spent 13 years in the National Health Services, and Neha Kripal, co-founder of Innerhour, a digital mental health platform.


Covid-19 is teaching us that force of nature is bigger than combined force of science and technology: According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the recession triggered by the “Great Lockdown” will be more intense and more extensive than the “Great Recession” in the wake of the global financial crisis (GFC). But that is not the only factor that separates the corona financial crisis (CFC) from the GFC. There are other critical differences between the two crises, and it is important to recognise them for they have implications for the nature and effectiveness of the solutions. Read here.

The pandemic and the challenge of behaviour change: Containing Covid-19 and restoring our economies require not just good policy decisions and medical advice, but also continued compliance with the recommended behavioural changes that in many ways go against social and cultural conventions. The science of social marketing use is known as marketing principles and behaviour change theory to influence people’s behaviour for the benefit of both the target audience and of society. Public health, safety and environmental concerns are some of the areas where social marketing can have a huge impact. Read more here

Citizens Under Lockdown

They walk 30 km. Wait four days for a train. No one’s told them they’re at the wrong station: Millions of working-class Indians have been stranded far away from home, mostly without wages and food, for nearly two months. Many have walked over 1,000 km to get back to their villages. Over 120 have died in accidents on the way. Read more here.

How to ensure all homeless Indians get lockdown relief? With no money and no documents to help them access relief measures related to food, health, water, sanitation, shelter and livelihood, the homeless have become the most vulnerable to the immediate impact and aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis, an analysis shows. Read more here.

Managing Covid-19

Koyambedu — India's coronavirus cluster at a vegetable market: Koyambedu market in Chennai was temporarily closed because several vendors and labourers at the market tested positive for coronavirus, and it was linked to a spate of cases in Chennai and surrounding areas. Asia's largest fruit and vegetable market, trading in millions of tonnes of fresh produce daily, is quickly becoming a cause for concern. Read more here.

India must prepare for community transmission of Covid-19 after lockdown: When the lockdown opens, there will be much greater mobility of people, there could be more widespread transmission of the virus, so we have to maintain as much physical distancing as possible, continue practices like wearing masks and hand-washing as precautionary measures. Things are going to be difficult in overcrowded areas, especially slums, according to Public Health Foundation President K Srinath Reddy. Read here.

If flights resume, study estimates outbreak risk: Air travel is currently on hold to check the spread of Covid-19, but a new study of 1,364 airports worldwide has found that if flights resume, cases could spread unevenly across the globe, with many of the airports in India and China posing the highest risk of the spread. Read more here

Why Bihar’s door-to-door screening could be underreporting Covid-19 cases: The Bihar government’s door-to-door screening campaign for Covid-19 is marred by poor adherence to guidelines about data collection. Health workers conducting the screening are skipping entire households and conducting incomplete, perfunctory interviews. Read more here.

Understanding Covid-19

How to wear and remove a mask properly: Cloth masks reduce the number of droplets that are spread into the environment when people breathe, cough or sneeze. Medical masks protect the wearer from these droplets. It’s important to wear and remove a mask properly. Read more here.

India overtakes China with 85,000 confirmed cases: How did we reach here? With 85,940 Covid-19 cases on Saturday, 16 May, India has now exceeded China, which has 84,038 cases. While India has surpassed China in the total number of cases, China is still way ahead in number of deaths. China has a case fatality rate (CFR) of 5.5 per cent, against India's 3.2 per cent. Read more here.
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