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Saturday, May 15, 2021

Daily Briefing: Covid surge peak likely in mid-May, says Central panel chief; US hints ready to help

The daily count of Covid-19 cases will likely peak in mid-may and touch five lakh before subsiding by June-July, according to a presentation made by NITI Aayog member Dr V K Paul, who heads a key Central panel, during the Prime Minister’s review meeting with Chief Ministers.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
April 25, 2021 8:20:57 am
A look at the top news today, May 14, 2021.

Good morning, 

The Second Wave 

The daily count of Covid-19 cases will likely peak in mid-may and touch five lakh before subsiding by June-July, according to a presentation made by NITI Aayog member Dr V K Paul, who heads a key Central panel, during the Prime Minister’s review meeting with Chief Ministers. Dr Paul also flagged that health infrastructure in states is not adequate to cope with the “very serious scenario”.

Meanwhile in Maharashtra, there are signs that cases might have peaked as the state’s daily Covid count has remained in the 60,000s for the last two weeks now. But more significantly, the state has also seen its transmission rate decline substantially.

Over 50 tweets flagged by the Central government have been taken down or restricted access by Twitter, including those critical of the Centre’s handling of the second wave of Covid-19. The tweets were sent by a journalist with a leading daily, a filmmaker, a Member of Parliam­ent, a Member of Legislative Assembly, and an actor.

Only in the Express 

With the pandemic choking India’s healthcare system, the country is now tapping international channels for urgent supply of vaccines, oxygen, ventilators and other critical medical equipment. Meanwhile, the US appears to have had a change of heart since last week, now hinting that it may be ready to help

With the three new farm laws stuck, where is India’s agri sector headed? Agriculture economist Dr Sudha Narayan and Godrej Agrovet Ltd MD Balram Singh Yadav spoke to The Indian Express on a range of issues in the sector, including crop diversification and self-reliance in edible oils.

Pyres of deceased Covid-19 patients burn side by side at a crematorium in Lucknow. (Express Photo by Vishal Srivastava)

Must Read 

Bharat Biotech has decided to charge state governments Rs 600 for a dose of its Covaxin vaccine against Covid while private hospitals would have to procure it at Rs 1,200 a shot. The new rates mean states will have to pay four times what the Centre will be paying to procure its shots.

Welcome to Asansol, The City of Brotherhood,” reads a blue arch running across the road in one of West Bengal’s key cities, home to Hindi speakers, local Bengalis, and a 25 per cent Muslim population. But despite what the board suggests, tension over religious conflict is weaved into the political fabric here. With polls due in the penultimate phase on April 26, the BJP and TMC are approaching the polarisation problem in the city in starkly different ways. 

For the last few weeks, Covid-19 patients across the country have scrambled to find oxygen amidst an acute shortage, some even dying due to the lack of it. We map the supply chain that brings the life-saver gas from the manufacturers to hospital beds, and identify key bottlenecks along the way.

Three Covid-19 patients on ventilator support in a Gorakhpur hospital died after the medical facility pulled their oxygen support saying their condition had not improved in a week. The owner of the hospital claimed that he took the call with the consent of the patient’s families, adding that doctors “chose to save lives of younger patients”.

ICYMI 

The CBI has filed an FIR against former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh in connection with corruption allegations made by former Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh. 

Mumbai’s third sero survey, conducted in March 2021, shows that 36.3 per cent of the population has antibodies against Covid-19, lower than last July’s 40.5 per cent.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has been roped in to transport necessary medical equipment across the country and bring oxygen containers from Singapore, while the Navy has been kept on standby.

At least 20 Covid patients in the critical care unit of Jaipur Golden Hospital in northwest Delhi died following a dip in oxygen pressure at the facility, officials said.

And Finally 

In an interview with the Indian Express, Hindi film director Neeraj Ghaywan, one of the few cinematic voices to weave in inclusivity and intersectionality in his work, explains how he brings in slices of marginalised lives from real to reel. 

Until tomorrow, 

Rahel Philipose

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