Covid-19

Covid-19

Issue Articles

Vaccine Conundrums

The government lost an opportunity to dampen the second wave but it should at least protect us from the third wave. For that it needs to revise its ‘liberalised’ vaccine policy, which with its array of complicated procedures will not aid rapid vaccination.

Covid-19 and Indian Exceptionalism

There was no Indian exceptionalism behind the small number of deaths during the first wave. It was instead a failure to understand the subtleties underlying the low case fatality ratio that induced a complacency for which the country is now paying dearly.

Estimating Covid-19 Fatalities in India

India's recorded Covid-19 fatalities are a gross underestimate. A more accurate assessment, from careful interpretation of available date and of international trends, is needed to better respond to the pandemic.

Band-Aids for Bullet Wounds

Why has the second wave devastated India and what lies ahead?
The brutal advent of Covid-19’s second wave in India was not unforeseen. But claims of an ‘Indian exceptionalism’ lulled politician, policymakers, and the public into complacency.

Dr Pradip Bijalwan: An Unsung Journey for an Equal World

Many health workers have given their lives working tirelessly for the Covid-19 ill; Dr. Pradip Bijalwan was one of them. His journey was different: he had given his life caring for the under-privileged and he died caring for the homeless of Delhi.

What has Gone Wrong with India’s Vaccination Programme?

In the middle of a virulent second wave, India finds itself staring at shortages that will delay vaccinating its 45+ population well beyond August. If only the government had not thought it was infallible and had been less complacent in its planning.

Confronting the Pandemic

A primer on Covid-19 offers a comprehensive guide to the science of pathogens, disease, and therapies; but disappoints with a lack of analysis of the policy response to the pandemic.

India and the Pandemic

The First Year
A collection of 24 essays on how India dealt with Covid-19 in 2020, published by Orient BlackSwan. The essays, with a detailed Introduction, cover the history of pandemics, the early stages, the lockdown, the law, impact on economy & society, and the future.

The Political Economy of Covid-19 Vaccines

Vaccine grabs, the refusal to relax patents to enable mass production, and the use of vaccines for diplomacy run the risk that poorer nations may not be protected against Covid-19 quickly enough. This will prolong the pandemic, even for the richer nations.

Pandemics: The Perils of Agribusiness Profits

The multiple pandemics of the past decades can be linked to the expansion of agribusinesses into the global South. The consequent deforestation and unregulated industrial farming of animals have produced hotspots for pathogens to cross into humans.

Vaccine Platforms Old and New for SARS-CoV2

Ten years of work have been compressed into 10 months to yield the 10 vaccines now in use in the world. But trust has to be built among people by sharing accurate information, and a vaccine is also only one tool for dealing with this Coronavirus.

India 2020

A collection
A curated set of 35+ articles published in ‘The India Forum’ during a year which began with the demonstrations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, ended with the farmer protests against the new farm laws, but was the year of Covid-19.

Exodus Constitutionalism

Mass Migration in Covid Lockdown Times
Multiple disasters and mass catastrophes have been on display in the migrant crises following the Covid-19 lockdown. In its light, India’s constitutionalism might be called ‘Exodus Constitutionalism’, a development that threatens to devalue citizenship.

Four Future Scenarios, or, What’s Different about the Covid-19 crisis?

What should we expect, post the coronavirus pandemic? Four scenarios contain four very different futures. A better world is only possible if social actors seize this opportunity to overcome the inequalities this crisis has laid bare.

Bearing Witness to the Covid-19 Lockdown

Migrant Workers in Proof Regimes
During the lockdown, migrant workers have produced ‘proofs’ to lay claim to promised aid, display grief and gratitude, and to archive violence they faced. These fragments from the worker-as-witness throw up critical questions on practices of welfare and aid.

A Moment for Civilizational Introspection

The devastating effects of the pandemic upon the working poor should be a recognition of the collapse of our moral centre as a nation and as a people. The elite have exiled the poor from their conscience and consciousness.

Can Conventional Metrics of Employment be Accurate During a Lockdown?

Labour force surveys that yield estimates on job numbers are designed to capture work inputs in 'normal' situations. The concepts and methodology used can lead to errors in estimates during a lockdown when production has been completely or partially halted.

The Blind Spots of Public Health

The Covid-19 pandemic demonstrates that the discipline of public health needs to be open towards a plurality of ideas and paradigms. Else it could end up being reductionist and suited to authoritarian governance and commercial interests.

Making Medicines for Pandemics

Can Bangladesh do for Covid-19 what India did for HIV/AIDS?
Bangladesh could do for Covid-19 and other diseases what India did for HIV/AIDS: provide expensive therapeutic drugs globally at low prices. But its potential is constrained by a lack of indigenous capacity to produce the basic ingredients for these drugs.

The Unequal Effects of the Covid-19 Crisis on the Labour Market

The unequal labour market in India would have seen a widening of disparities after Covid-19 struck. Those at the bottom, with few skills, limited education & without security, would have been affected the most; they are the ones in immediate need of support.

Covid-19 and the Spectres of Colonialism

India’s lockdowns and questionable experimentation with vaccines and drugs to fight Covid-19 eerily mimic its colonial past.

Gendering the Pandemic in the Prison

'For women, prisons are built with stones of "patriarchal" law. It is time to campaign against incarcerated pregnancies and custodial childbirths as making for cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of women.'

A Novel Virus, A New Racial Slur

In the wake of Covid-19, racial discrimination towards people from the North East has acquired a new edge. The lack of cultural understanding in mainland Indian communities has always manifested itself in slurs and attacks that have increased and not reduced.

Towards Universal Health Coverage?

Taking stock of two decades of health reforms in India
A survey of reforms in health policies in India over the past two decades – actually a string of privatisation policies – indicates that we have moved away from and not towards Universal Health Coverage. What then needs to be done?
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