India coronavirus dispatch: Stark difference in Indian states' trajectories

Topics Coronavirus | Lockdown

A health-worker conducts thermal screening of residents in the Mudiali area which was sealed following detection of a COVID-19 positive case, during ongoing nationwide lockdown to contain the pandemic, in Kolkata. Photo: PTI
Here is a selection of most important coronavirus-related articles from across Indian publications. From the resilience of farmers, to how India will emerge out of the lockdown, and how Covid-19 affects your lungs – read these and more in today’s India dispatch.

Expert Speak

How will India emerge out of the lockdown? After a 39-day lockdown, what will be the shape of things to come? How should one strike a balance between ensuring livelihoods, minimising strife, and maintaining social distancing? Read this discussion of G Ananthakrishnan with Reetika Khera and Giridhar R Babu examining the options.

How Covid-19 affects your lungs: Around the world, Covid-19 is affecting patients’ respiratory systems. Several reports have highlighted how lungs are severely affected in patients who need intensive care. Read this interview on the subject with Sanjay Mukhopadhyay, director of pulmonary pathology at the Cleveland Clinic in the US.

Long Reads

Why Indian states have dramatically divergent Covid-19 trajectories: Testing rates in states of comparable sizes and populations vary widely. A countrywide growth rate may provide little insight into what might lie ahead for India once the lockdown lifts and inter-state migration resumes, thanks to the great disparities in several key indicators across states. Testing rates in states of comparable sizes and populations vary widely. What do these numbers mean? Does testing rate have a bearing on mortality? Is there a connection between testing rate and positivity rate? Several experts answer these questions.

Citizens Under Lockdown

Indebtedness, hunger may push West Bengal’s denotified tribes into bonded labour: Amid the countrywide lockdown due to Covid-19, farmers and daily-wage earners belonging to the denotified Kheria Sabar tribe in Purulia district of West Bengal are struggling for sustenance, a survey of 33 villagers from 30 villages in Purulia found. Direct cash transfers, free ration and subsidies that the government had announced have not reached many. The few who have received some help from the government have found it to be insufficient. Read more here

Even in a pandemic, mainland India is still racist and intolerant towards those from Northeast: The Covid-19 pandemic is threatening countries, industries and people alike. But that should not be interpreted as an equaliser. The routes the virus takes, and the social realities it exists in, are determined by structures of power and privilege. Read here on how these structures are deeper in India, confounding the Northeastern person’s quest for belonging and a dignified life.

‘Can’t afford Covid-19 rests regularly,’ Dialysis patients worried: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC’s) directive instructing dialysis centres to screen patients for Covid-19 symptoms before putting them on dialysis has caused problems for patients. The BMC directive comes after two dialysis patients from Millat Hospital in Jogeshwari tested positive for Covid-19 in the first week of April, forcing the hospital to be shut down for a few days. Read more here


The unsung corona warriors: Farmers weathered the demonetization storm by simply replacing cash with deferred payments for farm inputs. Currently, they are harvesting wheat and sugarcane using whatever labour is available, whether of family members or non-farm workers rendered jobless by the lockdown. Theirs is a tale of resilience and human endurance. Read more here.

Fishing in troubled waters during a pandemic: A more generous China during a global pandemic might go a long way in ensuring its global ascent. But that’s a hope that has been belied many a time in the past and it’s unlikely that the Chinese Communist Party would let go of its regional security agenda of expansion. Read more here

Managing Covid-19

Making doctors wash hands: Washing hands lends itself well to behavioural design nudging. An experiment done at the Gentofte Hospital in Denmark has found that sanitiser usage increased from 3 per cent to 67 per cent when the hand sanitiser was placed at a prominent location with a bright signage that caught people’s attention. Read why hand washing is a useful intervention

Why a lockdown helps only when judiciously combined with other strategies: India needs to learn an important lesson from other countries – that a lockdown helps only when judiciously combined with other strategies. Read here why public health officials also need to listen to public-health reasoning, and above all to the people who have lost their livelihoods.

Understanding Covid-19

How far can someone without symptoms spread the Covid-19 infection? The signals so far are that some people spread Covid-19 before showing symptoms themselves. Can someone also spread the disease without ever showing symptoms? Read here to understand the emerging evidence.

Convalescent plasma therapy explained: Recently, the Indian Council of Medical Research invited institutes to participate in clinical trials to assess the safety and efficacy of the convalescent plasma therapy, and 99 institutes expressed interest. Read here on why convalescent plasma therapy could become a game-changer in the current pandemic if these clinical trials turn out to be effectual.

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