Coronavirus Briefing Newsletter – Times of India

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Jun 9, 2020

THE COUNT
  • India’s health ministry has confirmed 266,598 Covid-19 cases (129,917 active cases) and 7,466 fatalities. 9,987 fresh cases were recorded on Monday. The Times of India reported, based on state figures, 7,467 fatalities.
  • Fatalities across the world are 406,570 (over 7.12 million infections).

The numbers are as of Tuesday, 12:30 pm IST. Check out the latest data here

TODAY’S TAKE
Before things get better …
Before things get better …
  • Where we are: The consensus among experts is that the number of Covid-19 cases hasn’t peaked in India and we have already recorded the fifth-highest tally of confirmed cases in the world with more than 2.5 lakh infections and will shortly overtake the UK, which has about 2.8 lakh cases. Brazil with close to 7 lakh cases, is now at No. 2 after the US (19.6 lakh cases) and followed by Russia with 4.7 lakh cases.
  • What’s ahead: A comparison of daily growth rates of cases (check details here) shows that India might be growing at the fastest rate among the five countries with the most cases, though doubts have been raised about Brazil’s Covid-19 data. While the growth rates of three of the five worst-hit countries have slowed down to 2% or less, India and Brazil are growing at over 4%. This when India’s testing rate of 3.4 per 1,000 people is way less than Russia (87.2), US (61.6) and UK (47.9) though it’s higher than Brazil’s 2.3 tests per 1,000 population. Increase in testing could result in more cases being detected.
  • This means: Mumbai, which became the first Indian city to record 50,000 Covid-19 infections this week, is set to overtake the 50,340 official tally of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak. The pandemic is worsening globally as well, the World Health Organisation has said, as new cases soar in the Americas and South Asia.
  • And the peak? The Covid-19 pandemic may peak in different parts of the country at different times, a government panel on health has observed. While states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Delhi continue to have a large number of cases, there is some moderation of curve in states like Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Kerala though spikes continue to happen.
TELL ME ONE THING
Are asymptomatic people safe?
Are asymptomatic people safe?
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that people infected with the virus — SARS-Cov-2 — but not showing any symptoms, described as asymptomatic, may not pose a risk to others in transmitting the disease. This assertion is at variance with views of some researchers who opine that the spread of the pandemic will be difficult to control due to infections from asymptomatic people.
  • The WHO’s ‘good news’ comes even as it has expressed worry about the worsening situation of the pandemic, saying that a majority of the new cases — 75% — are now emanating from the Americas and South Asia (the region where India lies), especially as mass gatherings resume. Still, with regards to the spread of Covid-19, the WHO’s Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, head of emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said that it’s “rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual”.
  • While this doesn’t mean that the precautions being taken — social distancing and wearing face masks, apart from hand hygiene — are let go, the WHO says that governments around the world should focus on people showing symptoms, apart from contact tracing of anyone who might have come into contact with symptomatic infected people. The WHO’s findings, however, appear to be at odds with the US CDC’s findings earlier, “that to control the pandemic, it might not be enough for only persons with symptoms to limit their contact with others because persons without symptoms might transmit infection”.
STAY SAFE
How should you stock your medical cabinet for the pandemic?
How should you stock your medical cabinet for the pandemic?
A friendly reminder. It’s time to check and re-stock your medicine cabinet. Here’s a handy list of basics, according to experts:

Pandemic essentials

  • Thermometer
  • Cough drops and cough syrups
  • Fever reducers and painkillers like Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen
  • Antidiarrhoeal medicines and electrolyte-replenishers

New additions that everyone should have

  • Face masks or coverings
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitisers and sanitising wipes
  • Latex gloves
  • Pulse oximeters (optional)

General items

  • Seven to 10-day supply of your prescriptions
  • Antihistamines (for seasonal allergies)
  • Nasal decongestants

… and always consult your doctor and pharmacist.

THE GOOD NEWS
A plan to import drugs on trial
A plan to import drugs on trial
  • The central government is planning to amend New Drugs and Clinical Trial Rules to allow hospitals — private and government-run — and medical institutions to import drugs that are on trial for “compassionate use” for patients suffering from a life-threatening disease, an illness that cause severe permanent disability, or those requiring therapy for unmet medical needs. The change in law will also allow hospitals to import Covid-19 drugs that are under trial. The development was reported by both the Times of India and Economic Times, citing people in the know.
  • Once the rules are amended, medical institutions will need to apply to the Drug Controller General of India explaining the rationale for compassionate use of the particular drug on the patient. The move is likely to help import drugs such as Remdesivir, ET reports. The drug has to be in a stage 3 trial, TOI reports; Gilead Sciences began stage 3 trials of Remdesivir in late February. If a hospital prescribes a drug, a manufacturer could also apply for a special license to import limited quantities of the drug, the report adds.
TIME TO CALL
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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Judhajit Basu, Sumil Sudhakaran, Tejeesh N.S. Behl
Research: Rajesh Sharma


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