Ahmedabad Mirror | 1 week ago | 23-06-2022 | 06:00 am
It is not just students who have returned to classrooms. As schools reopen, Covid has reared its ugly head again, with Udgam School For Children reporting two positive cases.The Covid cases were reported within two days of the school reopening after the summer break. Officials at Udgam said a student each from Class 9 and 7 tested positive for Covid on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. The school started its new academic session on Monday after the summer break.The school is yet to get details of the vaccination status of the Covid affected students.In the absence of any specific written guidelines and Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) from the Gujarat government, the school has continued to call all students of Classes 9 and 7 to class. School principals in the city believe that sinceCovid has made its re-entry into schools, it is time for the state to lay out an SOP allowing the affected classes to be held online.“We started classes on Monday. A student who attended the class later tested Covid positive on Tuesday. Another student in another class who attended school on Monday and Tuesday tested Covid positive on Wednesday,” said Udgam School for Children’s Executive Director Manan Choksi. He, however, said offline teaching continues in the affected classes as there is no guideline from the Gujarat Government about the same.“Ideally, we would like to be allowed to take the affected classes online. Since the government has sought 100% classroom attendance and has not made any provision for online classes we have no other option but to call students to school despite the risk,” said Choksi.Principals believe that safety of students should be a priority at such times. Mrugen Shah, principal of Prakash Higher Secondary School said as students below 12 years of age are unvaccinated, a plan needs to be chalked out for them in case they test Covid positive.“I think we should have a hybrid model of education where half of the class is online, while the rest is offline. But schools should be allowed to hold 100% online classes if any student in a class tests positive. We do not want to violate norms by doing this on our own, but student safety should be our priority,” he said.Nivedita Ganguly, principal of DAV International School said, “I don’t know about Covid’s severity. If medical experts feel that it is unsafe for children to be in school if their classmates have tested positive then a guideline should be issued accordingly.”A student tested Covid positive on Tuesday. Anotherstudent in another class who attended school on Mondayand Tuesday tested Covid positive on Wednesday–Manan Choksi, ED, Udgam School
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan recently wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention in cooling down inflated airfares, saying they were affecting Kerala’s tourism sector.“Let me bring to your kind attention a very important issue that is pulling the travel industry down and putting non-residents to extreme hardship. Airfares in both the International and Domestic sectors have become exorbitantly high recently. They are very high when compared to the fares that had been prevailing in pre-COVID times,” Vijayan wrote.In the past four years, Kerala, where tourism contributes 11 per cent to the State’s GDP, could witness a satisfactory tourist season only in 2019 as it was devastated by floods in 2018 and waves of COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021.Kerala is connected with most Indian states by air. Here is the analysis of average airfare for the next 30 days (July 4 to August 4) from different states to Kerala capital Thiruvananthapuram. (Prices are approximate and may change)From Delhi to Thiruvananthapuram, the average price of an air ticket is Rs 10,500 approximately for Indigo Airlines, Rs 11,000 for Vistara and Rs 11,500 for Air India. For flying from Chandigarh, the average prices are Rs 7,000 for Indigo Airlines and Rs 10,000 for Vistara.The average airfare from Lucknow to Thiruvananthapuram is Rs 6,200 for Indigo and Rs 12,500 for Air India. From Ahmedabad to Thiruvananthapuram, the average prices are Rs 6,200 for Indigo, Rs 13,000 for Vistara and Rs 22,000 for Air India.For flying from Bhopal to Thiruvananthapuram, the flyer has to pay Rs 7,200 for Indigo and Rs 14,000 for Air India approximately. From Patna to Thiruvananthapuram, the average air fare is Rs 8,500 for Indigo, Rs 11,000 for Vistara and Rs 14,000 for Air India.The average cost of flying from Raipur to Thiruvananthapuram is Rs 6,400 for Indigo, Rs 12,000 for both Air India and Vistara. Flying from Hyderabad to Thiruvananthapuram costs Rs 5,200 for Indigo, Rs 14,000 for Air India and Rs 12,500 for Vistara.In Vijayawada, the average air tickets prices for Thiruvananthapuram area Rs 7,500 for Indigo, Rs 12,000 for Vistara and Rs 14,500 for Air India.From Bengaluru to Thiruvananthapuram, the average flying cost is Rs 5,000 for Indigo, Rs 12,000 for both Vistara and Air India.The average airfare from Kolkata to Thiruvananthapuram is Rs 6,000 for Indigo, Rs 12,000 for Vistara and Rs 14,000 for Air India. For flying from Guwahati to Thiruvananthapuram, the average prices are Rs 6,000 for Indigo and Rs 12,000 for Vistara.As per the data available at state-owned retailer Indian Oil’s website, the price of jet fuel on Monday was Rs 1,41,232.87 per kilo litre. Last year in October it was around Rs 80,000, almost 40 per cent less.Aviation companies, raising concerns, have claimed that they will be unable to put planes in the air if prices keep rising as 60 per cent of airfare charges depend on fuel prices.The prices are rising in oil-import-dependent India due to the disruptions in supply chains due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and Rupee depreciating against the US dollar, making imports costlier.Fuel rates have been on the rise in India because energy prices globally have risen on the back of supply concerns following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and demand returning after being hit by the pandemic. India is 85% dependent on imports to meet its oil needs.
A serious case of Covid infection in a 10-year-old, with ill effects akin to those of Covid in adults, was reported at a government hospital in Ahmedabad.First believed to be suffering from bacterial pneumonia, the 10-year-old boy from Bavla was admitted to GMERS Sola Medical College and Hospital (MCH) on June 25 with fever for the past fortnight, weakness and poor appetite. OPD treatment had yielded no results.The child was taken to the hospital 5 days after he began suffering from abdominal pain and vomiting. Mirror learned that the child also had difficulty in breathing and his condition was getting worse when he was admitted to the hospital.He was admitted into the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Perplexed over such a caseof ‘pneumonia’ amid constantly rising Covid cases, even as the child had no history of Covid, doctors urged a chest X-ray.That is when SARS-CoV-2 showed up. His lungs, especially the right lung, was inundated with what is known as ‘white out’ texture now associated with the coronavirus.His condition kept deteriorating even in the PICU. The boy was kept on a high flow nasal cannula.Further investigation by HRCT scan showed extensive consolidation in both right and left zones of the lungs showing ‘ground glass’ appearance, with the highest CO-RADS score of 5, another sign of suspected Covid.Meanwhile, the boy, his parents and relatives tested negative for Covid-19 by RT-PCR. However, the boy tested positive in an antibody test, further confirmation of suspected Covid.His parents had received two doses of the Covid vaccine, said doctors.Further medical examination showed Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) comparable to Covid associated pneumonia. He also showed significantly higher levels of IL-6, indicating a cytokine storm initiated by the immune system, a reaction that is also associated with Covid infection. Dr Nehal Patel, HoD of Paediatrics at GMERS Sola MCH said, “While we had doubts on the child’s ailment, the white out appearance on X-ray, a CO-RADS score of 5/5 on HRCT with ground glass appearance and subsequent cytokine storm during treatment, confirmed our suspicion of Covid.”Once confirmed as Covid, he was provided extensive treatment with steroids. His parents breathed a sigh of relief by the end of the week when his condition gradually improved. He is likely to be discharged on Monday.Dr Patel said, “Vaccination of the age group above 12 years has left those below that age group vulnerable to Covid. Covid symptoms may present themselves with age shift to younger children. So adult vaccination with their booster is required for continuing protection in the family against Covid. Vaccination of younger children should start as soon as possible.”The white out appearance on X-ray, a CO-RADS score of 5/5 on HRCT with ground glass appearance andsubsequent cytokine storm during treatment, confirmed our suspicion of Covid–Dr Nehal Patel, HoD, Paeditrics, Sola Civil Hospital
The effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines was found to be similar for those with a higher body mass index (BMI) and of a healthy weight, but slightly lower for underweight people, according to a study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.Researchers from the University of Oxford compared the risk of severe disease in vaccinated versus unvaccinated people at least 14 days after a second dose.While overall, the findings showed Covid vaccines greatly reduced the number of cases of the severe disease for everyone regardless of their body size, the effect was slightly lower in underweight people.Underweight vaccinated people had around half the likelihood of being hospitalised or dying compared with unvaccinated people of the same BMI.According to researchers, it may be because underweight people were also the least likely to have been vaccinated. It may also reflect a reduced immune response as a consequence of frailty or other conditions associated with low body weight. Further research is needed to explore the relationship between BMI and immune responses, the researchers said.On the contrary, people in the healthy and high BMI groups who were vaccinated were around 70 percent less likely to be hospitalised than unvaccinated people. People with a healthy or a higher BMI were also around two-thirds less likely to die than their unvaccinated counterparts two weeks after a second dose.“Our findings provide further evidence that Covid-19 vaccines save lives for people of all sizes. Our results provide reassurance to people with obesity that Covid-19 vaccines are equally as effective for them as for people with a lower BMI, and that vaccinationsubstantially reduces their risk of severe illness if they are infected with Covid-19,” said lead author Dr Carmen Piernas of the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, at Oxford.“These data also highlight the need for targeted efforts to increase vaccine uptake in people with a low BMI, where uptake is currently lower than for people with a higher BMI,” Piernas added.For the study, the team included 9,171,524 patients who were over 18 years old, had BMI data, and had not previously been infected with SARS-CoV-2 from December 8, 2020, to November 17, 2021. People were grouped based on their BMI.Further, people with low and high BMI were at significantly higher risk of severe disease following two doses of vaccine, compared with a healthy BMI, the researchers found.For example, a BMI of 17 was linked to a 50 percent increase in the risk of hospitalisation compared with a healthy BMI of 23, and a very high BMI of 44 had three times the risk of hospitalisation compared with a healthy BMI.While the cause of the increased risk among people with obesity is unknown, it is consistent with the higher rate of seasonal flu infections in people with a higher BMI, an altered immune response in heavier-weight individuals may be to blame.Now, identify variants in hours using CoVarScanA team of researchers has developed a rapid COVID-19 test that might help in identifying different variants of the SARS-CoV-2 in just hours. After developing CoVarScan, a rapid COVID-19 test that detects the signatures of eight hotspots on the SARS-CoV-2 virus, last year, the team now tested that on more than 4,000 patients’ samples. Their test is as accurate as other methods and can successfully differentiate between all current variants.
Despite many successes on the health front, the nation still faces innumerable challenges in the forms of diseases that are communicable and non-communicable in nature and/or sanitation facilities as well.These monumental challenges are being tackled on both the private as well as public sector fronts - with affordable healthcare, malnutrition as well as other range of issues in special focus over the last half a decade.Vastly neglected for a number of years, a large number of schemes have been launched in the health sector in the recent past.The last eight years have been about augmenting health infrastructure, ensuring affordable and quality healthcare access to every Indian, and integrating technology with this sector.A major development has been the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana under the umbrella Ayushman Bharat scheme that was launched in the year 2018. The scheme intends to provide health cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year to more than 100 million vulnerable individuals in need of the same.Towards the same, Ayushman cards have already been provided to about 180 million beneficiaries. Additionally, 141 medical procedures earmarked specifically for women have been included under the scheme as well.In toto, around 46.7 per cent of beneficiaries who have availed of the free treatment are women. As part of the same, the other aspect of the scheme has been the establishment of the Health & Wellness Centres that number over 1.18 lakh now.In a short span of time, these wellness centres have organised about 1.08 crore sessions with more than 85.63 crore patients having visited there. With the rapid pace at which these are growing, it is estimated that the number of such centres shall increase to 1.58 lakh within the next six months.To weigh down the healthcare budget of every family through providing quality generic medicines at affordable prices, Pharmaceuticals & Medical Devices Bureau of India (PMBI) has set up around 8,750 Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendra(PMJAK) that help to save 50-90 per cent costs on medicines.Coupled with that, these wellness centres have been connected to a novel telemedicine service called e-Sanjeevani that has been providing treatment to over 90,000 patients across the country on a regular basis. This humongous endeavour has been made possible only after the renewed vigour with which the Union Government has begun focusing on the health sector.A significant testament of the same was witnessed from the way the world’s largest free vaccination campaign against COVID-19 took shape with the Government of India at helm.Along with ramping up the health infrastructure during the time period between the first and the second wave, India continued with its strict imposition of the lockdown along with vaccine development and implementation.More than Rs 35,000 crore were earmarked for the research & development of the vaccine in the union budget 2021. The large vaccination campaign officially began on January 16, 2021 with the protocol status with regards to the storage, transportation, procurement and cold chain facilities having been decided.After the implementation of the same, the Har Ghar Dastak (Door-to-Door) campaigns along with the use of CoWIN (the digital platform put in place to ascertain that accessible registration was done) ensured that the maximum number of people were vaccinated in a record time period.India made a world record of administering the highest 25 million doses in a single day on September 17, 2021. As of May 15, 2022, more than 87 per cent of the adult population has received both doses of the vaccine.The two-month ‘Har Ghar Dastak 2.0’ campaign commenced on June 1, 2022 to expedite COVID-19 vaccination coverage to include all eligible beneficiaries through door-to-door campaigns with special focus on people in old age homes, schools/colleges, prisons and brick kilns.Being implemented in a “Mission Mode”, States and Union Territories (UTs) have been advised to give an effective thrust towards full vaccination coverage for all eligible beneficiaries.After the dangerous second wave of infections in the country, more than 3,000 laboratories came up to test patients’ samples of COVID-19 virus in almost no time where at the beginning of such testing, there used to be only one such laboratory.Pediatric care units in 631 districts of the country have come up through the Emergency Response Package of the Government of India.At the same time, the government has been able to ramp up the manufacturing of essential equipment like N95 masks and PPE kits. India has now become the second-largest producer of these kits with regular supply to over 50 countries of the world.In the face of adverse circumstances, innovation has taken the front seat for the Indian government with rapid advancements on all fronts: nutrition, medicine, vaccination, education, technology, among others.With over Rs 3.4 lakh crore spent so as to ensure that a large chunk of Indian population did not collapse into the vulnerable section of those that are extremely poor, the government was able to distribute over 760 lakh metric tonnes of food grain so far.With the constant shift towards ensuring that the government is health-centric and prioritises the needs of the society, India has been able to make the necessary changes at ensuring that the condition of vulnerable and disease-prone people isameliorated through its targeted intervention schemes for the poor.A healthier society has seen vastly significant outcomes to point out that such a society is happier in general.India is putting sincere efforts to strengthen the healthcare sector.During the pandemic, the need of enough number of doctors was realised. Now, setting up of at least one medical college in each district of India is in pipeline to produce a record number of doctors in upcoming decade. The coming years will belong to those who have invested in healthcare. Health for everyone is pledge of new India.
Gujarat on Saturday reported 580 COVID-19 cases, which took the tally to 12,33,242, while the death toll remained unchanged at 10,947, a state health department official said.The recovery count increased by 391 during the day to touch 12,18,817, leaving the state with an active caseload of 3,478, he said.Ahmedabad reported 236 new cases, the highest in the state, followed by Surat with 106 cases, Vadodara 36 and Mehsana 29 cases, among other districts, he added. A government release said 11.15 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far, including 39,438Saturday.