India Coronavirus Dispatch: What do obituaries in Delhi's dailies tell us?

Over 62,000 fresh cases reported

India reported 62,480 fresh coronavirus infections on Friday, taking the cumulative caseload to 29.7 million, according to central health ministry data. The country saw 1,587 deaths due to the pandemic, taking the death toll to 383,490. The active caseload is at 798,656, while the total recoveries have surged to 28.5 million. As many as 268.9 million vaccine shots have been administered since the nationwide inoculation programme kicked off on January 16. Of these, 3.25 million were given on Thursday. Read more

Delhi's affluent were also hit hard by Covid, going by obituaries in newspapers

A report in ThePrint said the month of May saw a big jump in obituaries in two of Delhi's widely-circulated English daily newspapers—Times of India (TOI) and Hindustan Times. A total of 870 obituaries were published in the month this year, up from 204 in the same period last year. Given the steep costs of getting an obituary published in a widely-circulated newspaper, the rise in obituaries suggests the second wave of Covid took a grave toll on the affluent as well “It’s mostly people with business backgrounds who opt for obituaries, and a bulk of announcements come from corporate businesses for their noted employees,” said an obituary coordinator with TOI. Read more

Bengal’s Covid infection rate is at 1.36, much higher than India’s 0.78

West Bengal's R value—in other words, the Covid reproduction rate which measures how fast the infection is spreading—saw a spike in the past week and government officials have blamed the Delta variant, a report in ThePrint said. Bengal’s R value, which was 0.4 on June 8, reached 1.36 on Thursday. This is much higher than the national R value which dropped to 0.78 in the last two weeks—the lowest it has been since the pandemic hit India last year. The Delta variant was identified in nearly 90 per cent of cases reported in the past fortnight, according to a top official in the state's health department. Read more

Exposure to the common cold virus can help fight Covid

Researchers from Yale University have found that exposure to the virus that is the most frequent cause of the common cold, the rhinovirus, can provide protection against the novel coronavirus, a report in The Indian Express said. The common respiratory virus jump-starts the activity of interferon-stimulated genes, the study said. These are molecules in the immune system whose early response can halt the replication of the coronavirus within airway tissues infected with the cold. The research was published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. Read more

Sputnik version to fight Delta strain to be launched soon

A version of Sputnik V vaccine, developed by Russia's Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, which can target the Delta variant is slated to be launched "soon", a report in The Indian Express said. This version—which will be provided as a “booster” shot—will be offered to other vaccine makers, according to the Russian Direct Investment Fund. Read more

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