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Saturday, June 27, 2020

Covid 19 - people sharing statistics and ray of hope !!

India has been locked down since 24.3.2020 ~ the intense lockdown in Tamilnadu (some districts) from 19.6 is drawing closer to its end amidst speculations that the general lockdown might get extended .. .. .. the numbers are threatening. One really would not like to hear the increase in nos. again and again yet sadly, in News, in every social media, people have the habit of posting the statistics and no. boards again and again.  It saddens and is depressing to see them again and again with newer adjectives – ‘the highest’; the new high and more !

World has changed since the dreaded Corona Virus named Covid-19 emanated from Wuhan, China.  There are news that  Beijing is battling an “explosive outbreak” of the coronavirus, with health authorities reporting 36 new local infections in the city in one day – all linked to a food market. As scientists try to track how the latest outbreak in Beijing emerged, the capital and neighbouring regions have stepped up emergency measures, including renewing lockdowns.  Europe has seen an increase in weekly cases of Covid-19 for the first time in months as restrictions are eased, the World Health Organization (WHO) says. In 11 places, which include Armenia, Sweden, Moldova and North Macedonia, accelerated transmission has led to "very significant resurgence", said Regional Director.  His warnings about the risk of resurgence had become reality, he said.

However, Sweden rejects it - Swedish state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has rejected a warning from the World Health Organization stating  it was a "total misinterpretation of the data". Sweden had seen a rise in cases, he argued, because it was testing more. (sounds familiar !)  According to WHO data, EU member state Sweden has seen 155 infections for every 100,000 inhabitants in the past 14 days, far higher than anywhere else in the organisation's defined Europe region, other than Armenia. Sweden's response to the pandemic has been very different to other European countries. There has been no lockdown, with schools and cafes staying open, but large gatherings have been banned and most Swedes observe social distancing.

In Hongkong, quarantine rules for domestic helpers may be revised to ban employers from isolating at home 10,000 workers expected to fly into Hong Kong from the Philippines in the coming weeks, the city’s labour minister has revealed, as he warned the influx could bring in an estimated 65 imported Covid-19  cases. Secretary for Welfare and Labour Law Chi-kwong’s remarks came as Hong Kong on Saturday reached two weeks without any locally transmitted cases of Covid-19.  The city has been hit by a surge of imported cases recently, recording 69 infections from residents returning from abroad this week, mostly from Pakistan. Nine cases were from the Philippines. 

After rapid surge in COVID-19 cases across India, several states have announced complete shutdown in some of their districts to combat the further spread of the highly contagious virus.  The country’s tally of confirmed coronavirus cases has inched towards 5,00,000 mark, while the death toll also crossed the 15,000-mark.  Ten districts and cities–Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Thane, Palghar and Pune in Maharashtra , Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy in Telangana, Ahmedabad in Gujarat and Faridabad in Haryana–have accounted for 54.47 per cent of the total caseload.  Between June 1 and June 26, the country recorded 2,99,866 cases, an analysis of the data showed. The recovery rate is, however, steadily improving to touch 58.24 per cent, the ministry said.

Tamil Nadu on Thursday crossed the million mark in terms of number of Covid-19 tests. It was the first state to do so. That translates to around 15,000 tests per million of population (or 1.5% of the population), lower than Delhi’s 23,000+ and even Andhra’s 15,000+, but still among the highest in the country. The number is also much lower than that in some of the countries ravaged by the coronavirus disease — the US, UK, Spain, Russia, Italy, that have all tested between 8% and 12% of their population -- but it is still higher than the national average in India of around 5,834 tests per million of population.

The state has rapidly increased testing. On June 11, it carried out only 16,829 tests. By June 25, this number increased to 32,543. And its daily positivity rate hasn’t changed much. This is a measure of the number of positive tests to the total tests, expressed as a percentage, and it has gone from 11.14% on June 11 to 10.78% on June 25. The lowest daily positivity rate for the state in this period was 7.21% on June 20, and the highest was registered on June 11. Tamil Nadu may well be the first state in India to be testing enough. Its positivity rate is following the trend (described previously in this column) — an increase, then a plateau, and then, finally, as a country, state or city begins testing adequately, a decline. Still better, the positivity range is exactly what the World Health Organization and experts at the Harvard Global Health Institute recognise as adequate.

India is much better placed than many other nations with respect to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, Prime minister Shri  Narendra Modi said on Saturday. PM Modi’s comments came during his inaugural address on the occasion marking the 90th birth anniversary celebrations of Rev. Dr Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan. “The world is fighting a strong battle against a global pandemic. Covid-19 is not only a physical sickness that is a threat to the lives of people but also takes away our attention to unhealthy lifestyles,” the prime minister said during his virtual address. The prime minister said that earlier this year, some people had predicted that the impact of the virus in India would be very severe but due to the lockdown, various initiatives taken by the government and a people-driven fight, “India is much better placed than many other nations”.

Before concluding, weeks of torrential rains and heavy flooding in southern China have affected 14 million people and caused economic losses of around 27.8 billion yuan (US$3.8 billion). The emergency management ministry said 744,000 people across 26 provinces had been displaced, with 81 missing or dead, and more than 10,000 houses had collapsed.  China is experiencing an unusually intense flood season this year, with rainstorm alerts issued for 26 consecutive days in June, according to state news agency Xinhua.

Amidst all data, views and news, one sincerely hopes that Covid 19 gets contained sooner, vaccines and medicines are found and humans start living lives as happily as they were prior to start of 2020.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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