India Coronavirus Dispatch: Why are Netas admitted even when not critical?

Patients attend the morning Yoga session, organised by the ITBP at Sardar Patel Covid Care Centre and Hospital in New Delhi
Shutdown hits schools: Low-income private schools have been hit pretty badly by the pandemic. Most of these schools enrol children born to daily wage labourers and street vendors. As their families ran out of income after the economy came to a grinding halt during lockdowns, paying school fees has become tough. Besides, engaging online classes has been incredibly difficult since most students don’t have smartphones. The lack of funds has pushed most of these schools to breaking point as teachers go unpaid and so does the rent. These schools were the only hope of quality education for a section of society that has often been forced to send children to government schools characterised by deplorable conditions and general neglect. Read more here

Resuming Parliament: For the first time since March, Parliament is set to meet in September. However, this time around, it will be a greatly altered workplace the lawmakers will be returning to. Presiding officers of both houses have almost agreed to conducting physical sessions. Both houses will take turns to work - either in the form different shifts or on alternate days. Of the LS’s total strength, 168 will be seated in the chamber and the rest will be distributed across its galleries, the RS and the RS’s galleries. A similar arrangement will be worked out for the RS, too. Apart from this, polycarbonate sheets will be used to separate rows. Read more here

Where the migrants went: The migrant worker exodus was an immediate fallout of the Covid-19-induced nationwide lockdown. Labourers left the cities they were working in as unemployment soared and incomes spiralled down. Over time, a clearer picture of where most of them returned to has emerged as the initial haze has cleared. From Mumbai, over 245 Shramik Special trains were headed towards Uttar Pradesh alone. These trains transported 373,287 to the state. UP was followed closely by Bihar as the next most-popular destination among Mumbai’s migrants. But the margin between UP and Bihar is huge with only 86 trains headed towards the latter. Read more here

Medical negligence? In the second such case to come to light from Faridkot Medical College, a coronavirus positive patient has died amid concerns of gross institutional neglect. Attendants say the patient was kept in a wheelchair for long hours and was provided no food or water. To top it off, his wife was allowed to stay in the same ward overnight. Hospital authorities have now expressed surprise over the allegations and promised to look into the matter. Read more here

Long Read

Viral Histories: “One of the most important consequences of the pandemic has been the ripping off of the veil regarding assumptions about society, politics, and the economy,” says the author in this analytical column. The new normal is one that sees the intersection of environment, politics and economy, and takes us back to basic considerations for survival: food, shelter and employment. Governments use crises such as this to further consolidate state power through surveillance and other means. That the population has willingly submitted to it is different this time. The pandemic also brings about huge changes in our daily lives; self-isolation, for example, is no longer a marker of misanthropic behaviour, but is the exact opposite. Epidemics of the past have exacerbated fault lines with caste-segregated hospitals and so on. What does the current moment represent? What will it lead to? Read more here


Understanding the virus: This editorial calls for caution when dealing with sero-survey data. Delhi government has announced its intent of making the study a month affair, which is a cause for appreciation. However, it must be noted that the findings can only be used to chalk up estimates about the spread of the virus and not to draw sweeping conclusions. Chief Minister Kejriwal’s statement suggesting that sero-surveys show that Delhi is close to achieving herd immunity is exactly the kind of inference authorities should stay away from. It is not clear what attributes are required to stave off repeated attacks from the virus. Read more here

How politicians are treated: That the virus does not discriminate is well known. As the nationwide cases continue to surge, politicians from across parties have been infected as well. However, what has caught the attention of many is the fact that they’re admitted to hospitals as soon as they test positive even when not in a critical condition. This flies in the face of what lawmakers themselves tell the public about who should be availing healthcare, and who shouldn’t. This tendency, the columnist notes, “…negates the “don’t panic, there is enough for everyone” message, it destroys trust in the role of the state, and encourages cynicism when leaders make grandiose pronouncements that together, we will get through this.” Read more here

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