COVID-19

COVID-19

Issue Articles

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.

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.

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.

Covid-19 Accelerates the Transformation of India's Newspaper Industry

India’s newspapers grew by relying on advertising, a dependence that began to unravel before the pandemic struck. Dailies have shut down and journalists have lost jobs. To revive their fortunes, they are now—belatedly—trying to build incomes from digital.

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.

Knowns and Unknowns in the Covid-triggered Global Economic Crisis

The traditional toolbox of fiscal and monetary measures will not help deal with the exogenous shock given by Covid-19 to the global economy. In these unknown waters for now the state can at best ramp up medical services and devise proper relief for the poor.

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.

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.

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.

Situating the Biology of Covid-19

A Conversation on Disease and Democracy
‘Struggles for a more just, fair, inclusive, or caring politics in the time of Covid-19, need to be grounded in the everyday work of building institutions, supporting the vulnerable amongst us, and cultivating a deeper ethic of mutuality.’

Hunger Grows as India’s Lockdown Kills Jobs

Results of a Survey from 12 States
The lockdown has devastated livelihoods at unprecedented levels, causing widespread job losses and hunger. The measures so far will not solve the crisis. India should universalise the PDS, expand cash transfers, and create a national job guarantee scheme.

How many casual workers in the cities have sought to go home?

There has been no count of the number of workers returning to their home states. An analysis of NSS data tells us that the first wave of returnees is likely to be mainly urban casual workers who lost their livelihoods and lived in insecure accommodation.

Psychosocial Challenges In the Midst of the Coronavirus

While trying to maintain our psychological equilibrium during a pandemic, we may well do so in a manner that facilitates the emergence of authoritarianism. But there can be hope too if we allow ourselves to be touched by an awareness of our vulnerabilities.

Beyond the Pandemic

Strategies for Reforming Governance
‘We need to address the basic structural issues of governance design if we are to be better prepared for future complex challenges. This is particularly necessary in managing disasters, but the broader process of policymaking too needs reform.’

Sweden’s ‘No Lockdown’ Strategy

A Senior Citizen’s Personal Experience
In dealing with Covid-19 Sweden has been unique for not shutting down the economy & enforcing a stay-at-home policy. This is a 'learning by doing' approach that has the broad support of all political parties & is in line with an old social democrat tradition.
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