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Sunday, August 2, 2020

Covid 19 ~ the style of reporting in social media !!

Covid 19 pandemic has brought the Globe on its knees ! ~ it is certainly bad with so many dying, yet it is perhaps not that bad as the media, more specifically social media has put it to be ! people vie with other to post statistics !!

First – everyone is confused and that sadly applies to the premier Health Organisation – WHO, which has faltered in many steps.  A team from the World Health Organisation (WHO)  has completed the groundwork for an investigation into the animal source and reservoirs of the novel coronavirus, the UN agency said on Sunday.   The two persons team  had “extensive discussions with Chinese counterparts and received updates on epidemiological studies, biologic and genetic analyses, and animal health research”, it said.

In April 2004, the SARS-CoV virus escaped not once, but twice, from a Chinese lab. Back then, the WHO unabashedly criticised the lab’s safeguards, or the lack of it.  The WHO made the twin incidents public almost immediately, unconcerned about Chinese official reaction.  Fast forward 16 years later: In January 2020, at the beginning of the novel coronavirus outbreak, the WHO took China’s narrative that the virus jumped from a seafood market, without bothering to check. On January 14, 2020, the WHO sent out a tweet stating: “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China"  .. .. now they send daily Health bulletins !!

Over 17.85 million cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported across the globe,  while 6,83,767 people have died due to the disease, according to a Reuters tally. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.  Meanwhile, Australia’s Victoria state declared a state of disaster on Sunday and imposed a night curfew for its capital Melbourne as part of its harshest movement restrictions to date to contain a resurgence in Covid-19 cases.  South Africa has surpassed 500,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, but President Cyril Ramaphosa said Sunday he sees “promising signs” that the rapid growth of cases has stabilized and that the country’s strained health system is managing to cope.

How well has Tamil Nadu managed ! ~ one really wonders – there are two standing tall – Health Minister Dr C Udayabaskar and Health Secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan.  From the first COVID-19 case reported at Arumbakkam on March 17, it took 137 days for the tally to cross the one lakh-mark in Chennai on Saturday. The 15 zones have cumulatively reported 1,00,877 cases. City Health Officer  said, “The number of cases is declining in Chennai. The daily number has declined from [approximately] 2,300 to 1,074. But we have not reduced containment activity. We are continuing the same vigil. We cannot say the peak has come,” he said.

In an unsavoury development, the directorate of medical services (DMS) has asked a private hospital in Kilpauk to stop admission of Covid-19 patients from Saturday after investigations showed the hospital has issued bills that exceeded the amount prescribed by the government. The hospital, which gave an initial bill of Rs 16 lakh to a patient, has been asked to give an explanation for the exorbitant bill in the next few days. Health minister C Vijayabaskar had earlier announced that hospitals authorised to treat Covid-19 patients should follow the Government Order dated June 5, which specifies rates for people with state government insurance and general public. As per the order, the general public (those without insurance) can be charged Rs 5,000 a day for non-critical patients and between Rs 9,000- Rs 15,000 a day for treatment at the ICU. The health department statement on Saturday said action has been initiated against the hospital. (why disparity in those having Insurance and others !) is stated that a leading Private hospital in Kilpauk that has branches in other parts as well had overcharged a patient with mild symptoms and gave a bill of 16 lakhs and later discounted it by 4 lakhs !! 

On the good side (positive suddenly has a negative meaning !) - researchers around the world are racing to develop a vaccine against Covid-19, with more than 140 candidate vaccines now tracked by the World Health Organization (WHO). Vaccines normally require years of testing and additional time to produce at scale, but scientists are hoping to develop a coronavirus vaccine within 12 to 18 months. Vaccines mimic the virus – or part of the virus – they protect against, stimulating the immune system to develop antibodies. They must follow higher safety standards than other drugs because they are given to millions of healthy people.

The world’s largest vaccine producer, the Serum Institute, announced a plan to make hundreds of millions of doses of an unproven inoculation. It’s a gamble with a huge upside. And huge risks.   But if it does, Adar Poonawalla, Serum’s chief executive and the only child of the company’s founder, will become one of the most tugged-at men in the world. He will have on hand what everyone wants, possibly in greater quantities before anyone else. His company, which has teamed up with the Oxford scientists developing the vaccine, was one of the first to boldly announce, in April, that it was going to mass-produce a vaccine before clinical trials even ended. Now, Mr. Poonawalla’s fastest vaccine assembly lines are being readied to crank out 500 doses each minute. 

History is replete with chapters of human misery – of Nature’s fury, plague and other diseases, man’s avaricious wars and the like – the present situation was never envisaged ! ~ Corona statistics drill fear in human minds every day.  Statistically, today there are  178,49,853 persons affected across the globe, of which close to 10% - 17,50,723 is from India .. .. that for sure frightening.

To view the same positively, India’s Covid 19 recoveries exceed active cases by 5.7 lakhs .. of 17.50 – recovered cases are 11,45,629.   Delhi on Sunday reported 961 COVID-19 cases, 1,186 recovered /discharged/migrated, and 15 deaths in the last 24 hours. The number of COVID-19 cases in Delhi at 1,37,677 and death toll due to the infection stands at 4,004.  One more statistics, the total no. of deaths across the globe is 685701 of which India’s tally of 37364 is 5.45% - India is 5th behind USA, Brazil, Mexico and UK.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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