oppn parties Monsoon And The Pandemic: Double Trouble

News Snippets

  • University vice-chancellors in West Bengal decide not to hold final-year examinations despite UGC prod, will instead go by the state government advised 80-20 formula where 80% will be marked on performance in past semesters and 20% on internal assessments in the final semester
  • The Centre wants the ITI and other top Indian firms to bid for 5G as Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE are not likely to be allowed to participate
  • India and China agree on total disengagement to return to peace ahead of the next round of military talks
  • The Supreme Court allows delivery of summons and notices via WhatsApp and email, but questions remain on proof of actual receipt
  • National Investigation Agency says the proceeds from the Kerala gold smuggling case could have been used for terrorist activities
  • Four Maoists shot dead in Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar
  • Despite localized lockdown, Covid cases continue to rise at an alarming rate in West Bengal. Newer areas brought under containment zones in Kolkata
  • ICSE, ISC results declared, Average scores in the English paper, 20% lower this year than the average in most years, pulls down the aggregate for most candidates
  • IIP contracts by 35% in May. Manufacturing goes down by 39.3%
  • Row erupts over CBSE's decision to reduce the syllabus by 30% this academic year due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. Experts say several lessons that the ruling dispensation does not like are being removed
  • Gangster Vikas Dubey's nephew killed in an encounter by UP police who also pick up his key aide Raju Khullar and his son Adarsh
  • MHA sets up an inter-ministerial committee to probe the alleged financial misdeeds of three trusts linked to the Gandhi family
  • Actor Jagdeep, most famous for his Soorma Bhopali act in Sholay, passes away
  • Pakistan says Kulbhushan Jadhav has declined to file a review petition and will stick to his mercy plea. India calls it a farce
  • India to keep a strict vigil to confirm that the Chinese are abiding by the deal on the pullback at the LAC
Amitabh Bachchan and his son Abhishek admitted to hospital for coronavirus
oppn parties
Monsoon And The Pandemic: Double Trouble

By A Special Correspondent
First publised on 2020-06-17 08:48:47

The monsoon has arrived in India. The IMD has predicted a normal monsoon with the intensity of the rainfall between 96 and 104 percent of the long period average. In normal times, this news and the timely arrival of the monsoon would have gladdened millions of hearts as nearly 50% of the Indian workforce is engaged in agriculture (and countless others depend on it either directly or indirectly) which in turn in dependant on the monsoon in a huge way. But these are not normal times. The Covid-19 pandemic is sweeping across India (as also in many other parts of the world), and the monsoon rains bring with them a host of water-borne and vector-borne diseases. That will complicate matters, especially in India.

That is because some of the first symptoms of many diseases which are predominant during the monsoons, like malaria, dengue, leptospirosis and common flu, are very similar to those of Covid-19. That will mean that when patients visit hospitals with any of these diseases, the doctor will first have to test for common monsoon diseases and if found negative, a Covid-19 test will also have to be done to check for the virus. Further, when people start getting sick due to the diseases prevalent during the monsoons, it will put additional pressure on the already creaking medical infrastructure across the country. No city, town or state in India has the medical infrastructure to handle this double pressure.

Corporations and municipalities in all urban agglomerations across India that receive a fair share of the monsoon rains have many things to do just before or during the monsoons. From desilting of drains, fogging, checking of houses for stagnant water to distributing medicines, among others, all these things are done every year. But this year, due to the pandemic, the frontline medical and sanitation workers will be primarily engaged in tackling the upsurge in Covid-19 cases. Hence, local bodies will not be able to provide staff for monsoon-related duties. There will be problems all over India but Mumbai, already in a severe grip of Covid-19, will face the maximum problems. It is a situation that can turn to disaster. Hence, this year, the public will have to be extra vigilant and will have to support and help the local bodies in order to prevent the outbreak of monsoon-related diseases. Local bodies too will have to find ways - hire volunteers or temporary staff, for instance - to conduct the absolutely essential monsoon-related services.