India coronavirus dispatch: 1 undiagnosed case can infect 16,000 in 14 days

Here’s a round-up of reportage and insights from publications from India — from the impact of a single undiagnosed case, to practising information hygiene, and what you could do to tide over the economic fallout.

Expert Speak

One undiagnosed Covid-19 case can infect up to 16,000 people in 14 days: Those above 80 who are not vaccinated for flu or pneumonia and living in old-age homes are at A high risk, says Dr Prasun Chatterjee, associate professor, Department of Geriatric Medicine, AIIMS. Read more here.

Citizens Under Lockdown

Migrant fish workers stranded during Covid-19 need more govt support: Often, migrant workers bear the brunt of unplanned measures, such as the current lockdown, as they are “dispensable”. The department of fisheries of Goa stated that “all the vessel owners are hereby informed that the fishing vessels after unloading their catch shall leave jetty with crew members to safe zones offshore and remain anchored”. Effectively, this meant that the crew will not be allowed to get out of the fishing vessels as long as the is in place. Read more about how they are coping with the

Telangana HC seeks status report on SC order for protection of children at child care institutions: The Telangana High Court on Monday asked all Juvenile Justice Boards and Children Courts in the state to file a status report in terms of the Supreme Court order dated April 3 regarding measures to be taken to protect children in conflict with law. Read more here.

Long Reads

Physical distancing works by buying time to ramp up testing and bolster health systems: One of the first peer-reviewed studies on the impact of physical distancing on the spread of Covid-19 has used mathematical modelling to conclude that the measures delay the spread of the virus, defer and diminish peak infections, and shrink the total number of cases, but removing them too soon could lead to a second wave of infections. Read more here.


16 things you can do to tide over the economic fallout: The Covid-19 economic crisis has started to impact the personal finances of people at large. Things are likely to get worse in the days to come. In this scenario, here are a few tips that people can follow to slightly improve their position on the personal finance front.

Why it’s time to practise information hygiene: Information hygiene includes verifying the news that one gets, checking whether it is from an authentic source, double-checking with some fact-checking website, and asking a doctor or an expert (the list is not exhaustive). Just like washing your hands, these are good practices to follow at all times, but particularly in an emergency. Read here to understand why.

Dignity and disinfectant in the time of a pandemic: What becomes clear is that the factual enquiry – whether use of disinfectants on human beings prevents the spread of – does not have a clear answer. However, it is beyond debate that such a technique may adversely impact health. Despite this, that some citizens had to undergo this ritual cleansing suggests that either the authorities do not care for scientific evidence – thus being guilty of ignorance – or worse, that they simply do not care about the harm, both physiological and mental, arising from their actions. Read more here.

Managing Covid-19

How Mumbai is racing to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Dharavi: With a population of about 1 million, many of them migrant labourers from villages, Dharavi has seen a couple of positive cases already. Keeping the contagion from spreading in Dharavi could help prevent hospitals in Mumbai and across India from being overwhelmed. Read more about the efforts in Mumbai to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Indian health workers would have to die before their families get insurance fund: On March 30, a policy document released by the New India Assurance, the company tasked with implementing the scheme, defined coverage as “death due to complications arising out of accidentally contracting Covid-19 pandemic disease” while treating and attending to patients. The families of health workers would be compensated in the event of their death – but the workers themselves would not get any financial help in case they fell ill and needed to be hospitalised. Read more about this here.

Understanding Covid-19

Tracking COVID-19 in India — the BCG Hypothesis: The severity of the Covid-19 outbreak seems to be correlated with whether a country has a universal BCG vaccination (at birth) in place and how long it has been in existence. A comparison of the trajectory of the outbreak in India with other countries highlights an interesting and potentially important difference. India seems to belong to countries that are witnessing a slower rate of spread of Covid-19 than countries where the disease has caused a large number of deaths. Read more about why the picture of the pandemic could be very different in India from what we see in the worst-hit countries of Europe and North America.

Why everyone should wear masks: Covid-19 mortality is due to three reasons. Virus virulence is the given and cannot be altered. Co-morbidity (diabetes, chronic diseases) is already prevalent. And low-quality healthcare. Slowing down the epidemic by imposing a lockdown and ensuring universal mask use gives us the chance to protect people from infection and improve healthcare quality. Read more about why the significance of wearing masks cannot be emphasised enough.

How loss of sense of smell could indicate Covid-19 infection when there is no other symptom: Researchers have said coronavirus can attach to different types of cells in nasal cavity, which could explain why several patients are reporting a loss of the sense of smell. Read here to understand why this happens.

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