India coronavirus dispatch: Why we should be looking at state-level trends

Medics prepare before collecting samples for swab tests from a Covid-19 mobile testing van, during the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, at Ramakrishna Mission area in New Delhi. (PTI Photo/Manvender Vashist)
Precautions to take as you step out to work, why a homeopathic defence against Covid-19 is no defence at all, and will a lockdown help Chennai contain the pandemic? — a roundup of articles in Indian news publications on how India is dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

INTERVIEW 

As Indians step out to work, some precautions you could take: India is easing lockdown restrictions in phases, with some restrictions set to continue till the end of June 2020. But work is resuming, and people are getting back to work in measured ways, and it is getting crowded. As cases continue to rise and hospitals run out of capacity, how do we calibrate our lives in a manner that we do not get infected? Read this interview with Giridhar R. Babu, professor and head of Life Course Epidemiology at the Public Health Foundation of India.

MANAGING COVID-19

We're focusing on national data on Covid-19 when we should be looking at state-level trends: There is enormous variation across Indian states in the magnitude, severity and stage of the Covid-19 pandemic. That is why national data is of limited use in either understanding the progression, or in formulating policies for containment and mitigation of the pandemic. In recent research we have documented state-level variation of the Covid-19 outbreak in India in a comprehensive manner. To generate a relatively complete picture of across-state variations, we have looked at three crucial aspects: rapidity with which the pandemic is spreading; adequacy of testing; and impact of the pandemic on mortality. Read more here.

Will a lockdown help Chennai contain Covid-19? Docs and experts divided: On Friday, the Tamil Nadu government informed the Madras High Court that it had no intention to impose a complete lockdown in Chennai and its neighbouring districts in the near future. This statement was made even as the capital saw another single day record increase in coronavirus cases, with 1477 patients testing positive, taking the city's total to 28,294 cases. And while experts have welcomed the state government's decision to avoid another lockdown, doctors on ground and heads of government hospitals are dismayed by the state's decision. Read more here

Chhattisgarh has no data on 40,000 migrants who are back and fears a spike in Covid cases: The government until last month didn’t have data on nearly 60,000 workers who had returned. The department later found many of them through community surveillance. Some of the “hiding” workers were even found to be Covid positive, and were admitted to hospital for treatment. Their contacts were tested too. Read more here.

Why is Meghalaya treating every resident as an asymptomatic carrier of the virus?

Behind this announcement is a four-pronged plan that suggests not just testing everyone who enters the state and thereafter isolating them, but a psychological model which stresses on behavioural change and training modules. Read more here.

For countries like India, tackling antibiotic resistance is key to preventing the next pandemic

For many years, people believed antibiotic resistance in bacteria was primarily driven by imprudent use of antibiotics in clinical and veterinary settings. But growing evidence suggests that environmental factors may be of equal or greater importance to the spread of antibiotic resistance, especially in the developing world. Read more here.

Despite battling Covid misinformation, community radio news still seen as 'security threat’: Despite acknowledging the role community radio has played in the past, as well during the challenging situation posed by the outbreak of the coronavirus, the government’s Policy Guidelines for Community Radio Stations, 2006, bans them from broadcasting news and current affairs – not even local news. The government responded by saying that allowing community radio to broadcast news could endanger ‘national security and public order’. The government further said that the broadcast of news could pose ‘possible security risk’ and may be ‘exploited’ by foreign radical outfits. Community radio and its advocates, of course, do not agree with this view. Read more here.

UNDERSTANDING COVID-19

A homeopathic defence against Covid-19 is no defence at all: The actual response to any critique of homeopathy has often been that “science does not know everything yet”. The problem is significant because people are likely to believe that by imbibing this “medicine”, they have just acquired a shield against the Covid-19. A corporator in Mumbai mentioned that some people, when questioned about their being out during a lockdown, said that they had taken Arsenicum album. They believed that they would now be immune to the disease. Read more here.

Females in India more prone to Covid death risk than males: Study While studies have shown that men are more prone to dying from Covid-19 than women globally, an analysis of case fatalities in India suggests that females may have a higher relative-risk of Covid-19 mortality in the country. Read more here.

Health ministry adds loss of smell, taste to list of Covid-19 symptoms: Union Health Ministry on Saturday added loss of smell (anosmia) and loss of taste (ageusia) in the list of symptoms of Covid-19. Union Health Ministry in its report titled ‘Clinical Management Protocol: Covid-19’ has said that Covid-19 patients reporting to various treatment facilities have reported signs and symptoms including fever, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, expectoration, myalgia, rhinorrhea, sore throat, diarrhoea. “Loss of smell (anosmia) or loss of taste (ageusia) preceding the onset of respiratory symptoms has also been reported,” it said. Read more here.



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