Covid-19: Some things good, Some things bad


The Covid-19 pandemic is likely to last for a good while yet. How long, nobody knows. Every country is responding as best it can with whatever resources it has to limit spread of the virus, give treatment, prevent deaths. Covid-19 has brought out both the good and the bad in people. Every leader is trying to gain the people’s trust in his own way, and mobilize national efforts in a positive direction. Here are some of the things happening:

 India lights up

Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited all citizens to switch off the lights at their homes and light up lamps, candles or mobile phone torches for nine minutes at 9 pm on Sunday last to display the country’s ‘collective resolve’ to defeat coronavirus.

But lights in all essential services including hospitals, police stations and manufacturing facilities as well as street lights were not switched off. There were some apprehensions that there might be instability in the grid and fluctuation in voltage which may harm the electrical appliances. But no untoward incident was reported and the event went very well.

Many people in Mauritius too participated in the event in the same manner, starting at 7.30 pm local time.

The view of India from NASA’s satellite at 9.05 pm looked like this:

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Boris Johnson admitted to hospital

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted in a hospital in London for a check-up and further tests after he exhibited more severe symptoms. The latest update about his health condition indicates that he was moved into intensive care on Monday, ‘a worrisome turn in his 10-day battle with the coronavirus and the starkest evidence yet of how the virus has threatened the British political establishment and thrown its new government into upheaval,’ comments the New York Times.

It adds: ‘In a sign of how grave the situation had become, Downing Street said in a statement on Monday that Mr. Johnson had asked the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, to deputize for him “where necessary.” The pound fell against the dollar after investors reacted to the news.’

In Ireland, former Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who is a medical doctor, has donned his white coat and is back in hospital looking after patients. Chassez le naturel – but so much the better…

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‘Dr Donald Trump’

President Donald Trump in his press briefing at the White House recommended the use of hydroxychloroquine, a drug that is used for malaria, for the treatment of patients with Covid-19. The danger: people can hoard the medicine, self-medicate and suffer side-effects and complications. There could also be a shortfall for others who may genuinely need it.

At the same press briefing, Trump prevented his top adviser Dr Anthony Fauci from replying to questions about the drug, to the dismay of the press reporters. Dr Fauci is known to have expressed his reservations about its use until there is more robust medical evidence.

On the other hand, Trump and Cuomo, the governor of New York which is hardest hit, keep throwing barbs at each other. Due to shortage of place in the morgues, dead bodies are being kept in refrigerated lorries in hospital compounds.

* * *

Justin Trudeau takes on Donald Trump 

The Canadian Prime Minister has warned Donald Trump that his decision to stop a US manufacturing company from sending respirators to Canada could prompt retaliatory measures.

3M, a Minnesota-based manufacturer of protective healthcare equipment, said it had been asked by the White House to limit exports of protective equipment manufactured in the US to Canada and Latin America, which the company opposed on ‘humanitarian grounds’. Germany too has accused the US of poaching 3M made surgical masks from a planeload meant for it.

Fact: Hospitals across the world are facing severe shortages of protective equipment, which puts medical staff at greater risk as they treat coronavirus patients. In the US, many doctors and nurses are re-using their masks every day.

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Man in UK wipes saliva on products

‘A 20-year-old man has been arrested after being accused of ‘purposefully’ wiping his saliva on products on the shelves of a branch of Lidl in Dorset, potentially endangering the health of fellow shoppers amid the coronavirus outbreak’, so reports The Independent Online UK.

The man entered the supermarket ​at about 2 pm on Friday afternoon wearing a face mask and gloves, was then seen to lower the mask and lick his fingers before rubbing his spit across produce in the aisles.

He was arrested after enquiries and charged with the offence of contaminating or interfering with goods with intent under Section 38 of the Public Order Act 1986.

This kind of incident, deliberate contamination of food and other items during this period, has been reported in Australia and India as well.

As if we did not have enough trouble already!

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Hard times ahead

‘Barely noticed, amid the dramatic changes to day-to-day life and the gathering collective fear, has been the fastest and most fundamental recasting of economic policy since… when? The Bolshevik revolution, perhaps. Even wartime restrictions and mobilisations arrived more gradually, and while the global financial crisis of 2008 certainly turned the unthinkable into received wisdom pretty fast, it did not do so without a whole lot of (sometimes time-consuming) argument.’

Why are you doing this to the world Covid -19?

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Enjoy the many humorous video clips being circulated on social media for ‘time pass’.

Just one of them: ‘From the Psychiatric Society: It’s normal during a lockdown to talk to plants, flowers, tables. Contact us only if you hear them start talking back.’

* Published in print edition on 7 April 2020

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