India Coronavirus Dispatch: Denying community spread hampers Covid response

Health workers wearing PPE kit check the temperature, blood oxygen screening of a child for COVID-19 symptoms at a residential building at Adarsh Nagar area of Malad, in Mumbai on Saturday.
Managing Covid-19
As Goa reopens for tourism, state struggles to control a third wave of Covid-19:
Amid a rising spate of Covid-19 cases, Goa, as part of Unlock 2.0, officially reopened for tourism on July 2. Approximately 250 hotels registered with the state tourism department have been allowed to open following guidelines set by the state. While the state has received a mixed response to this decision, the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise.  Read more here

How denying community transmission is hampering India’s Covid-19 response: Even as Kerala confirmed there was community transmission in the state, the government of India has remained silent on it. The government, till date, maintains there is “no community transmission”, despite more than a million confirmed Covid-19 cases, the third highest in the world, behind only the United States and Brazil. This denial of what the experts are calling “the writing on the wall” is hurting the administration’s ability to build trust, communicate effectively and mobilise communities during the crisis, and hurting India’s handling of the pandemic. Read more here

Has Delhi passed its peak or is its test strategy confusing the picture? New cases have dropped from an average of 3,400 per day to an average of just 1,400 per day in the past week. Tests have increased from an average of about 7,000 per day to an average of nearly 20,000 per day. To see the improvement, we can take daily cases and divide by daily tests to get an approximation of ‘test positivity’, which is the proportion of tests that are positive. We find a decline from about 30 per cent test positivity in mid-June to about 7 per cent now. Yet experts have argued that this improvement is a mirage caused by a change in Delhi’s testing strategy. Could this be true? Read more here

What mapping Mumbai’s Covid-19 relief work reveals about inequality in services and ‘slow violence’: Thinking beyond the pandemic, tacit community knowledge provides a strong foundation for building a more complex and dynamic planning process, which better reflect the incremental ways in which migrants and slums make the city. But to reverse an inherited, static and deeply unequal planning imagination that is Mumbai’s bane, communities from invisibilised areas need to be in the driving seat. Read more here

Will the Covid-19 pandemic prove a turning point in history? When the dust has settled somewhat around the catastrophe that this pandemic represents, say in 2022, it is difficult to imagine a brave new world of autarkic nation-states. Rather, it will be a world of lesser and greater, interdependent yet competing powers, some very close to empires, in an acceleration of the tendencies already visible in 2010 or 2015. This is why the Crisis of 2020 may not be a “turning point” (at which the derivative changes sign), but a point of inflection at most. Read more here

The Covid-19 fiscal response and India’s standing: India has surpassed almost all others in the stringency of its containment measures. As a result, the extent of relief measures does not seem to be commensurate with the economic disruption and dislocation caused by the severity of the lockdown. Vietnam, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Egypt, all while averaging less stringent measures than those in India, have announced stimulus measures that are as large or more substantial, as a share of GDP. Read more here

Understanding Covid-19
Cough droplets travel longer when it’s cold & humid–new Covid model: A new study has found that respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze travel farther and last longer in humid, cold climates than in hot, dry ones. Conducted by researchers from University of California San Diego (UCSD) Indian Institute of Science (Bengaluru) and University of Toronto, the study is published in the journal Physics of Fluids. Read more here

An immunologist who is working on Oxford’s coronavirus vaccine explains how it works: A vaccine against Covid-19 is urgently needed. We’re now one step closer to that goal. On Monday, the early results from the clinical trial of the vaccine ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, also known as AZD1222, was published, designed by the University of Oxford and developed in partnership with AstraZeneca. The preliminary data shows that it is safe and induced a strong antibody response in all vaccinated volunteers, suggesting that an effective vaccine could be within reach. Read more here

How are Covid-19 treatment options faring? Recently, headlines are abuzz with positive news from the Covid-19 vaccine front but these are preliminary results. There are many more phases of testing to go, and once these are cleared it will still take time to develop, manufacture and release the vaccines in the market.So what can we do till then? Doctors and researchers world over are experimenting with various treatment options for Covid-19 patients. Read more here

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