India Coronavirus Dispatch: Why are hospitals bent on testing all patients?

Topics Coronavirus | hospitals | healthcare

As the number of cases in Delhi began spiking, people began facing problems related to testing, containment and finally admission in hospitals

A convergence of crises: There is mounting debate about what the scarcity and privation wrought by the Covid-19 crisis will mean for our long-term response to climate change. There are two strands of opinion. The optimistic one sees this as a moment to remake our states and societies in a measured response. The other strand argues that this will amount to a lost decade or two, as our attention is focused on keeping the teetering ship of economy afloat. Between these two strands there is consensus that we are at a critical juncture. What we do now will determine the flow of events decades into the future. Read more here

Lessons for Indian agriculture during a pandemic, from M S Swaminathan: The Green Revolution helped us move from a ‘ship to mouth’ existence to a commitment to the ‘right to food’. Our food stocks need to be used to ensure the food security of the poor and hungry – many of them farmers – who have contributed to the building of this stock. This crisis is a time to recognise and strengthen our farming community. Read more here

Lockdown lessons and the need to reconsider draft new education policy: India’s multilayered society has always needed a strong public education system incorporating a holistic vision to universalise education while also establishing a discrimination-free education system. However, this didn’t receive adequate attention from policy makers. Now, the pandemic has magnified inequalities like never before. Read more here.

Managing Covid-19

As India Fights Covid, 50 per cent households share a water source, 41 per cent share toilets: Nearly 600 million people face “high to extreme water stress” in India. About 94 million--more than three times the population of Australia--live without a source of clean water, at a time when access to water and sanitation is essential to protect people from Covid-19 or any other health risk. Read more here.

Has coronavirus reached community transmission stage in Kashmir? Doctors are divided:

Eight of 10 districts in the Valley are still red zones, areas with a high caseload. But does the spread of the infection in Jammu and Kashmir fit the pattern of community transmission, as some doctors claim? Medical opinion is divided even among doctors working with the health department. Read more here.

As Covid-19 cases spiked, what ailed Delhi’s health delivery system?: As the number of cases in Delhi began spiking, people began facing problems related to testing, containment and finally admission in hospitals. Now, when the city is witnessing an increase of over 1,000 cases per day for nearly a fortnight, the situation has worsened – and for various reasons. While the Delhi government claims that the high number of admissions and recovery shows its plan is working, some believe it failed to deliver. So what really has been the problem? Read more here

Covid-19 cases in South Asia are rising at the fastest rate in the world: South Asia coronavirus cases have increased at the fastest rate globally in the past week, as the region becomes one of the latest pandemic hot spots. Infections have risen by 27 per cent in Pakistan, while Bangladesh cases spiked by 19 per cent and 17 per cent in India, according to data of the 20 most affected nations compiled by Bloomberg. Pakistan and Bangladesh also had their single biggest daily spike in fatalities. Read more here.

Fewer cases, deaths: How Dharavi dealt with the Covid-19 crisis: According to data from the BMC, over 360,000 people have been screened in Dharavi so far, and high-risk slums sealed. Over 8,500 people have been quarantined at institutional facilities so far and over 38,000 individuals have been quarantined at their home till June 7. Targeted testing of suspected patients is another factor that helped. Read more here.

Understanding Covid-19

Why are Delhi hospitals insisting on testing all patients for Covid-19? When the Delhi government decided to only test symptomatic people for Covid-19, medical practitioners reacted with apprehension. While this policy would have had some obvious and direct outcomes for Covid containment, it would also have greatly affected access to non-Covid health facilities for patients requiring these other services. If patients are operated upon without knowing their Covid status, those who are, indeed, positive, would have been put at a 20 per cent higher risk of death. Read more here

Population-wide mask use can bring R number below 1: A new modelling study led by the University of Cambridge suggests that if facemasks are used across a population, it keeps the coronavirus ‘reproduction number’ under 1.0. When combined with lockdowns, widespread facemask use prevents further waves of the virus. Read more here.

For Covid-19, a vaccine is not really the end of the road: The coronavirus, and our response to its spread, has dramatically altered our way of life, and many experts have postulated our lives may never go back to normal unless we find a vaccine. Read here on why, even if we develop a vaccine, we may never go back entirely to the way we used to live.
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