Covid-19 caseload in India breaches 75-lakh mark with 55,722 fresh cases

Agencies
October 19, 2020

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New Delhi, Oct 19: The number of new coronavirus infections reported daily in India dropped below 60,000 for the second time this month, while the number of fresh fatalities registered across the country dipped below 600 almost after three months, the Union Health Ministry data stated on Monday.

The total cases mounted to 75,50,273 with 55,722 infections being reported in a day. On October 13, India had last registered daily cases below 60,000.

The death toll climbed to 1,14,610 with 579 fatalities being registered in a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 am showed.

The active cases of coronavirus infection remained below 8 lakh for the third consecutive day.

There are 7,72,055 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprises 10.23 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated.

The number of recoveries have surged to 66,63,608 and the national recovery rate has improved to 88.26 per cent. The case fatality rate due COVID-19 stands at 1.52 per cent.

India's Covid-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23 and 40 lakh on September 5. It went past 50 lakh on September 16, 60 lakh on September 28 and crossed 70 lakh on October 11.

According to the ICMR, a cumulative total of 9,50,83,976 samples have been tested up to October 18 with 8,59,786 samples being tested on Sunday.

The 579 new fatalities include 150 from Maharashtra, 64 from West Bengal, 56 from Tamil Nadu, 51 from Karnataka, 39 from Chhattisgarh, 29 from Uttar Pradesh  and 28 from Delhi.

A total of 1,14,610 deaths have been reported so far in the country including 42,115 from Maharashtra followed by 10,642 from Tamil Nadu, 10,478 from Karnataka, 6,658 from Uttar Pradesh, 6,429 from Andhra Pradesh, 6,056 from West Bengal, 6,009 from Delhi, 4,012 from Punjab and 3,635 from Gujarat.

The health ministry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities.

"Our figures are being reconciled with the Indian Council of Medical Research," the ministry said on its  website, adding that state-wise distribution of figures is subject to further verification and reconciliation.

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News Network
October 17,2020

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New Delhi, Oct 17: India ranked 94 among 107 nations in the Global Hunger Index 2020 and is in the 'serious' hunger category with experts blaming poor implementation processes, lack of effective monitoring, siloed approach in tackling malnutrition and poor performance by large states behind the low ranking.

Last year, India's rank was 102 out of 117 countries.

The neighbouring Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan too are in the 'serious' category but ranked higher than India in this year's hunger index. While Bangladesh ranked 75, Myanmar and Pakistan are in the 78th and 88th position.

Nepal in 73rd and Sri Lanka in 64th position are in 'moderate' hunger category, the report showed.

Seventeen nations, including China, Belarus, Ukraine, Turkey, Cuba and Kuwait, shared the top rank with GHI scores of less than five, the website of the Global Hunger Index, that tracks hunger and malnutrition, said on Friday.

According to the report, 14 per cent of India's population is undernourished.

It also showed the country recorded a 37.4 per cent stunting rate among children under five and a wasting rate of 17.3 per cent. The under-five mortality rate stood at 3.7 per cent.

Wasting is children who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition. Stunting is children under the age of five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition.

Data from 1991 through 2014 for Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan showed that stunting is concentrated among children from households facing multiple forms of deprivation, including poor dietary diversity, low levels of maternal education, and household poverty.

During this period, India experienced a decline in under-five mortality, driven largely by a decrease in deaths from birth asphyxia or trauma, neonatal infections, pneumonia, and diarrhoea, the report stated.

"However, child mortality, caused by prematurity and low birth weight, increased particularly in poorer states and rural areas. Prevention of prematurity and low birthweight is identified as a key factor with the potential to reduce under-five mortality in India, through actions such as better antenatal care, education, and nutrition as well as reductions in anaemia and oral tobacco use," it said.

Experts think that poor implementation processes, lack of effective monitoring and siloed approaches to tackling malnutrition often result in poor nutrition indices.

Purnima Menon, a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute, New Delhi, said the performance of large states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh need to be improved to see an overall change of India's ranking.

"The national average is affected a lot by the states like UP and Bihar... the states which actually have a combination of high levels of malnutrition and they contribute a lot to the population of the country.

"Every fifth child born in India is in Uttar Pradesh. So if you have a high level of malnutrition in a state that has a high population, it contributes a lot to India's average. Obviously, then, India's average will be slow to move," she said.

Ms Menon said big states with large population and a high burden of malnutrition are those which are actually affecting India's average.

"So, if we want a change in India then we would also need a change in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar," she said.

Shweta Khandelwal, the head of Nutrition Research and Additional Professor at Public Health Foundation of India, said the country has one of the most impressive portfolios of programmes and policies in nutrition in the books.

"However, the ground realities are quite dismal."

"Research shows that our top-down approach, poor implementation processes, lack of effective monitoring and siloed approaches in tackling malnutrition (missing convergence) often result in poor nutrition indices. We must integrate actions to make public health and nutrition a priority across each sector," she said.

Ms Khandelwal suggested five measures to prevent exacerbation of hunger because of the pandemic.

"Safeguard and promote access to nutritious, safe and affordable diets; invest in improving maternal and child nutrition through pregnancy, infancy, and early childhood; re-activate and scale-up services for the early detection and treatment of child wasting; maintain the provision of nutritious and safe school meals for vulnerable children and expand social protection to safeguard access to nutritious diets and essential service," she said.

She said it is important to aim at curbing multiple forms of malnutrition holistically in a concerted manner rather than single short-sighted fixes.

"Hunger and undernutrition cannot and should not be fixed by mere calorie provision. All stakeholders steered by robust leadership must pay attention to making balanced healthy diets which are climate-friendly, affordable and accessible to all," she added.

GHI score is calculated on four indicators - undernourishment; child wasting, the share of children under the age of five who are wasted-- who have low weight for their height reflecting acute undernutrition); child stunting, children under the age of five who have low height for their age reflecting chronic undernutrition; and child mortality - the mortality rate of children under the age of five.

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News Network
October 15,2020

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London, Oct 15: Ongoing illness after infection with Covid-19, sometimes called "long Covid", may not be one syndrome but possibly up to four causing a rollercoaster of symptoms affecting all parts of the body and mind, doctors said on Thursday.

In an initial report about long-term Covid-19, Britain's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) said one common theme among ongoing Covid patients - some of whom are seven months or more into their illness - is that symptoms appear in one physiological area, such as the heart or lungs, only to abate and then arise again in a different area.

"This review highlights the detrimental physical and psychological impact that ongoing Covid is having on many people's lives," said Dr Elaine Maxwell, who led the report.

Many thousands of people worldwide have linked up on social media platforms and online forums to share their experiences of ongoing Covid-19 symptoms. Some call themselves "long haulers" while others have named their condition "long Covid".

According to UK-based patient group LongCovidSOS, data from a King’s College London-devised symptom tracker app shows that 10% of Covid-19 patients remain unwell after three weeks, and up to 5% may continue to be sick for months.

Maxwell, who presented the findings of the "Living with Covid" report in an online media briefing, said health services are already struggling "to manage these new and fluctuating patterns of symptoms and problems".

She and her co-authors urged patients and doctors to log and track symptoms so that health researchers can learn more about the condition and how to ease it as swiftly as possible.

"Despite the uncertainties, people need help now," she said. "We need to collect more data."

For this initial report, Maxwell's team held a focus group with 14 members of a Facebook group called Long Covid.

Their testimony suggested ongoing Covid can be cyclical, Maxwell said, with symptoms fluctuating in severity and moving around the body including around the respiratory system, the brain, cardiovascular system and heart, the kidneys, the gut, the liver and the skin.

"There are powerful stories that ongoing Covid symptoms are experienced by people of all ages, and people from all backgrounds," the report said.

Maxwell said an urgent priority is to establish a working diagnosis recognised by healthcare services, employers and government agencies to help patients get support.

"While this is a new disease and we are learning more about its impact..., services will need to be better equipped to support people with ongoing Covid, as emerging evidence is showing there are significant psychological and social impacts that will have long term consequences," the report said.

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Agencies
October 29,2020

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Lucknow, Oct 29: Amid speculation that some of her party MLAs could switch sides in Uttar Pradesh, BSP leader Mayawati on Thursday said that to ensure defeat of Samajwadi Party candidates in future elections, including those of MLC and Rajya Sabha, her party will vote for BJP or any other party's candidate.

The former UP chief minister said her party will leave no stone unturned to defeat SP candidates even if it means voting for candidates of BJP or any other party.

Any candidate who dominates over SP's second candidate will get BSP MLAs' vote, she said in a statement.

In a jolt to the BSP on Wednesday, six party MLAs reportedly met Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and later threw hints that they may switch sides.

Four of the group of rebels also filed an affidavit, saying their signatures on the party candidate Ramji Gautam's nomination for the Rajya Sabha polls had been forged.

The move turned out to be futile with the Returning Officer still accepting Gautam's nomination as the Bahujan Samaj Party candidate for the November 9 biennial elections for the 10 Uttar Pradesh seats that are vacant.

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