Covid-19

Covid-19

Issue Articles

Omicron: What Happens Now?

The long-term trajectory of COVID-19 will see the disease becoming endemic with the occasional flare up and frequent booster shots having to be given. We must understand the consequences of this path and reach a consensus on the level of risk we can live with.

Is India Experiencing a K-Shaped Recovery?

Well before Omicron arrived, all the evidence was that far from a robust economic recovery, India had been witnessing a rebound only in the the formal sector. The informal sector and labour have been left behind. This is a classic K-shaped recovery.

Covid-19 and the Informalisation of India’s Salaried Workers

The pandemic forced a fraction of India's salaried workers to fall back on self-employment or casual work, or to withdraw from the workforce entirely. It was only the salaried who held secure and regular positions who were able to hold on to their jobs.

Grief, Rage, Hope and now to A Place of Kindness

We must grieve for the millions who died in 2021 from Covid-19; we must also feel rage that the State was not responsive to their suffering. Groups of citizens stepped in to care for each other; that gives us hope we can move to a new place of kindness.

Do We Know Enough to Vaccinate Children against Covid-19 Now?

We need more information on the safety, immunogenicity and effectiveness of vaccines among children to be able to formulate a proper evidence-based policy; and we do not as yet know enough about the Omicron variant to change considerations of risk and benefit.

There is Much to Gain and Little to Fear from Reopening Schools

There is ample scientific and epidemiological evidence to indicate it is safe to reopen schools for children of all ages. It is not a question of whether to reopen schools, but what should be done to bring children back to the classroom.

'Will Come if it is in Our Podu'

Importance of cultural safety for Adivasis in Covid-19 care
Why do health workers often take the punitive route to obtain compliance from marginalised communities? How can we build cultural sensitivity into our public health practice? A story of the Solega group of Adivasis and how they related to Covid care.

Healthcare in India: Towards an Agenda for Change

Covid-19 has shown that we must abandon unscientific medical practices, integrate what is useful in traditional medicine into a modern system, intelligently plan our health workforce and move towards a medical care delivery system financed by taxes.

Epidemiology of 'Waves' in a Pandemic and What We Could do to Dampen Them

The 'waves' of Covid-19 have become a part of everyday concern. How are these waves created? An epidemiologist discusses the public health social social measures that must be taken to prevent another build-up and the warning signs that we should monitor.

Learning from the Mumbai 'Model'

Decentralisation and data analytics in dealing with the pandemic
The success of the ‘Mumbai Model’ in managing the second wave of the pandemic shows the importance of decentralisation, and the salience of involving a wide range of stakeholders and relying on data analytics.

Mumbai’s Peripheral Hospitals in the First Wave of Covid-19

Mumbai’s peripheral hospitals that form the spine of multi-speciality care for the city’s suburban population coped well with the demands unleashed by the first wave of Covid-19, which helped prepare them for the second wave that hit the city in 2021.

In Dubious Battle: Ramdev versus the Indian Medical Association

The Ramdev-IMA skirmish is more of a turf war based on perceived insults, than about upholding science or attacking obscurantism. It is a sideshow of a fake quarrel that has distracted us again from the crisis in healthcare that India faces.

Child Marriages During the Pandemic

The worsening of poverty during the pandemic may well have led to a worrying spurt in marriages of girl children in India. The information available indicates that has happened, pushing back the progress of recent decades in reducing child marriages.

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.

Is the Pandemic the Wake-up Call We Need on the Drug Regulatory Process?

Sometimes it is the power of lobbies rather than Science that is now driving approval of new drugs, as seen in the questionable clearance to a few Covid-19 drugs; people end up willing to pay anything for these drugs though it is not certain that they work.

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.

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.

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.

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.
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