Thinking Citizen Blog: India — the Second Covid Wave: “No Beds, No Oxygen, No Medicines”

Thinking Citizen Blog: Thursday is Health, Health Care and Global Health Policy Day

Today’s Topic: India — the second Covid Wave: “no beds, no oxygen, no medicines”

How bad is the second Covid wave in India? Why? Why was India exporting oxygen and vaccines as recently as January? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

1.) “We completely let down our guard and assumed in January that the pandemic was over — and COVID surveillance and control took a back seat.” (K. Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India.)

2.) “As cases declined from September 2020 to mid-February 2021, the Indian government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ignored warnings of a second wave, despite the fact that new variants were identified as far back as in January…” (National Geographic)

3.) “After the first wave…the healthcare system moved on to tackle other medical emergencies that were neglected during the first wave, and dedicated COVID-19 facilities were converted back to their previous functions.” (ditto)

THE SUPER SPREADER EVENT OF SUPER SPREADER EVENTS: KUMBH MELA, APRIL 1

1. “On April 1, the Kumbh Mela, an annual religious event, was also allowed to begin with full fanfare.”

2. “As 3.5 million Indian devotees gathered in the state of Uttarakhand to take an annual holy dip in the Ganges, it was unsurprising that it turned into a superspreader event…”

3. “In the short term it pushed up the number of daily cases in Uttarakhand from 30 to 60 cases in February to 2,000–2,500 this month.”

TWO VARIANTS COULD BE BEHIND THE SECOND SURGE — B.1.1.7 and B.1.617

1.) “This second wave in India has been widely attributed to the B.1.1.7 variant — first identified in the U.K. — which had ramped up cases in the state of Punjab.”

2.) “Another possible culprit is a homegrown variant, called B.1.617, with two worrying mutations, that originated in Maharashtra, the worst affected state.”

3. “This variant, B.1.617, is also believed to be triggering new surges in Bangladesh and Pakistan and led many countries, including the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., to advise citizens against traveling to the region.”

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/how-indias-second-wave-became-the-worst-covid-19-surge-in-the-world

https://www.wsj.com/articles/indias-covid-surge-is-most-ferocious-yet-spreading-like-wildfire-11619388584

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-56870410

For the last three years of posts organized by theme:

PDF with headlines — Google Drive

YOUR TURN

Please share the most interesting thing you learned in the last week related to health, health care or health care policy — the ethics, economics, politics, history…. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to health are or health care policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random health-related fact that blew you away.

This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your mind something really important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that matters.