A woman wearing a protective mask, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, walks past Christmas decorations at a restaurant district in Tokyo, Japan.(Reuters)
A woman wearing a protective mask, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, walks past Christmas decorations at a restaurant district in Tokyo, Japan.(Reuters)

Covid-19: What you need to know today

There are clear signs of a second wave — there have been, for some time — but the week starting November 30 will decide how rapidly this gathers momentum.
By R Sukumar | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON NOV 26, 2020 01:18 AM IST

Next week is an important one for India in its fight against the coronavirus disease. There are clear signs of a second wave — there have been, for some time — but the week starting November 30 will decide how rapidly this gathers momentum. For, this is when we will know whether the crowded markets seen just ahead of Diwali (November 14), and the Diwali celebrations themselves — they were muted this year, but there were some gatherings and family get-togethers, and some people did travel to be with their families — have resulted in a spike in cases. If there is one, it will actually start showing up in the numbers by the end of this week.

Click here for complete Covid-19 coverage

That’s because anecdotal evidence — from Labour Day weekend in the US to crowding in a vegetable market in Chennai in May — suggests that cases peak two weeks after such events. And that’s because science suggests that superspreaders and also superspreader events play an important role in the transmission of the disease.

If there’s any chance at all that India will dodge this spike, it comes from the fact that Diwali came at a time that was either the end of the first wave, or the beginning of the second in India. It is possible, and also probable that the country’s second wave will, much like the first, gather momentum slowly, rather than being turbocharged right at its beginning by a sharp rise in case numbers.

In this, India is fortunate.

This week, the US celebrates one of its biggest holidays, Thanksgiving (on November 26) — one that usually sees a lot of people traveling to be with their families. In each of the past two weeks, the country, now seeing its third wave of the coronavirus disease, has added at least a million cases. And although the country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that people avoid travelling, over the weekend, US airports saw their busiest period since March, with three million people passing through them, according to data from the Transport Security Administration. That’s still around 40% lower than the number of people who travelled by air ahead of Thanksgiving last year, but media reports suggest that many people believe that travelling to be with family on Thanksgiving is worth the risk of contracting Covid-19, and also that there is a surge in travel. That’s bad news for a country that is doing around 175,000 cases a day on average, where cases are high and rising in almost every state, and where hospitals are being overwhelmed by a growing number of hospitalisations. Experts fear that a Thanksgiving spike could push several states and their public health systems over the edge.

It isn’t clear why the nature of waves across countries is as different as it is — the second wave seems to have peaked in much of Europe, which would mean that both waves in most European countries have lasted for less time than corresponding waves in the US (and also India).

India’s first wave lasted for months, gathering momentum slowly, peaking in mid-September, and then falling. Geographical and population size could explain this — it is one thing in common to both India and the US, and also Brazil (it has seen the third highest number of cases), which is also seeing a second wave, although that country’s numbers are far too patchy to be taken seriously.

In the US and elsewhere, the fact that four vaccines have now shown high efficacy in protecting people from Covid-19 could well be encouraging people to take risks they otherwise would not — the New York Times reported, citing data from a travel search engine, that travel bookings increased after Pfizer/BioNTech’s announcement in early November that their vaccine was effective in protecting people from the coronavirus disease.

This behaviour, stemming from the belief that the worst is over— it doesn’t have a name yet, but I am sure one will be coined soon — is just as bad as Covid- or pandemic-fatigue.

Sure, at one level, the success of four vaccines has changed everything.

Yet, at another, it has changed nothing.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
App-based cab driver Vijay N says fuel prices should be brought down.( Satish Bate/HT )
App-based cab driver Vijay N says fuel prices should be brought down.( Satish Bate/HT )

‘Want emergency fund, insurance for cabbies’: Vijay N

By HT Correspondent, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 02:28 AM IST
For the 2021 Union budget, Vijay N wants the government to create an emergency fund for drivers and provide insurance to cab drivers. “Drivers who have been operating for six months and do not have any accident on record should be provided with an emergency fund facility,” he said.
Close
As a matter of principle, said the bench, the apex court should not interfere when there are concurrent findings by all the subordinate courts.(PTI)
As a matter of principle, said the bench, the apex court should not interfere when there are concurrent findings by all the subordinate courts.(PTI)

‘50% of our orders will be reversed by a higher court’: SC cautions on appeals

By Utkarsh Anand, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 02:19 AM IST
Justice Sanjay K Kaul, heading a three-judge-bench, made this avowal while asserting that there has to be an end to appeals against every order passed by subordinate courts. The bench also included justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy.
Close
A further eight states reported fewer than 100 new infections(Sunil Ghosh /HT Photo)
A further eight states reported fewer than 100 new infections(Sunil Ghosh /HT Photo)

India's daily tally of new Covid cases less than 10,000 first time since June 9

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2021 02:09 AM IST
While these numbers correspond to tests done on a Sunday, when less testing is done, they underscore the trend that the outbreak has been receding.
Close
The unions are planning a rally on January 26 comprising tens of thousands of farmers to push for the repeal of the three laws.(PTI)
The unions are planning a rally on January 26 comprising tens of thousands of farmers to push for the repeal of the three laws.(PTI)

Farmers' protest: SC refuses to step in on Republic Day tractor rally

By Utkarsh Anand, Abraham Thomas, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2021 02:03 AM IST
Declining to pass any order on a plea by Delhi Police, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde said it was not for the court to remind the authorities of their policing power by passing an order.
Close
India is administering two vaccines as part of the first phase of Covid-19 immunisation covering roughly 30 million health care and other frontline workers.(AFP)
India is administering two vaccines as part of the first phase of Covid-19 immunisation covering roughly 30 million health care and other frontline workers.(AFP)

580 adverse events reported in three days of vaccination

By Rhythma Kaul, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 01:52 AM IST
“So far, cumulative 580 AEFI have been reported, of which seven needed hospitalisation,” said Manohar Agnani, additional secretary, Union health ministry.
Close
The government said that between Saturday morning and 5pm on Monday, 381,305 people were given doses in 7,704 sessions.(ANI)
The government said that between Saturday morning and 5pm on Monday, 381,305 people were given doses in 7,704 sessions.(ANI)

Covid-19 vaccination drive hit by hesitancy hurdle

By Rhythma Kaul, Anonna Dutt, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 01:39 AM IST
The turnout dipped from 4,319 on Saturday to 3,593 on Monday in the national capital. At AIIMS in Delhi, only eight people were vaccinated on Monday, an official said, while asking not to be named. Officials said concerns over the vaccines’ safety appear to have deterred many people.
Close
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh will meet senior officials of his department to decide on a future course of action.(HT PHOTO)
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh will meet senior officials of his department to decide on a future course of action.(HT PHOTO)

Probe purported chats between Arnab Goswami and Partho Dasgupta: MVA partners

PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 12:32 AM IST
  • The NCP demanded a joint parliamentary committee probe into the leaked WhatsApp chats, the Congress sought a probe under the Official Secrets Act and the Shiv Sena said demanded action against Arnab Goswami for breach of internal security.
Close
Deputy chief minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar said, “The voters voted in favour of the MVA. Ruling parties fought in cooperation and it resulted in the combined victory."(HT File Photo)
Deputy chief minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar said, “The voters voted in favour of the MVA. Ruling parties fought in cooperation and it resulted in the combined victory."(HT File Photo)

MVA gains, but BJP may emerge as largest party in Maha panchayat polls

PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 12:27 AM IST
The BJP won about 2,600 gram panchayats, followed by the Sena, which won 2,570 of the 11,800 panchayats whose results were declared late on Monday evening. The NCP and Congress bagged 2,400 and 1,825 panchayats respectively, while local panels and independents won over 2,335 panchayats.
Close
Union health minister Harsh Vardhan displays a vial of Bharat Biotech Ltd. Covaxin at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.(Bloomberg Photo )
Union health minister Harsh Vardhan displays a vial of Bharat Biotech Ltd. Covaxin at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.(Bloomberg Photo )

Govt assesses supply of Covid-19 vaccines to neighbours, developing countries

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2021 12:18 AM IST
  • Several countries have either signed agreements or are in talks with Serum Institute or Bharat Biotech, including Bangladesh, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Morocco.
Close
Image for representation.(Unsplash)
Image for representation.(Unsplash)

Travel portals expecting better year; long-weekends likely to provide traction

By HT Correspondent, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2021 12:03 AM IST
  • Long weekends around Republic Day, Good Friday, Holi, Janmashtami, Dussehra and Christmas are expected to see significant interest from travellers.
Close
File photo: NIA logo.(ANI)
File photo: NIA logo.(ANI)

In probe against Khalistanis, NIA examines people linked to farmers’ protests

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 11:57 PM IST
  • NIA officials said that most of the people who appeared before the agency in the last few days, have been examined as “witnesses”.
Close
Kashmir has been in the grip of a severe cold wave this season.(HT FIEL PHOTO)
Kashmir has been in the grip of a severe cold wave this season.(HT FIEL PHOTO)

Cold wave claims lives of two nomad children in Kashmir

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 11:05 PM IST
  • The family of nomads had been living in a ramshackle shed covered with tarpaulin and polythene in a forest area of Devsar in Kulgam district.
Close
Farmers are seen sitting during an ongoing protest against the new farm laws at the Singhu border near New Delhi on Monday. (ANI Photo)
Farmers are seen sitting during an ongoing protest against the new farm laws at the Singhu border near New Delhi on Monday. (ANI Photo)

Govt postpones 10th round of talks with farmers' leaders to Jan 20: Reports

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 18, 2021 11:01 PM IST
The farmers have been protesting since November last year to demand the scrapping of farm laws saying they will hurt their livelihoods.
Close
A medic administers the dose of Covishield vaccine to senior doctor of IGIMS hospital, in Patna on Monday. (ANI)
A medic administers the dose of Covishield vaccine to senior doctor of IGIMS hospital, in Patna on Monday. (ANI)

Glitches in Co-WIN portal leads to drop in Covid vaccination percentage in Bihar

PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 10:44 PM IST
  • Vaccination officers complained that the Co-WIN portal was slow in responding that made uploading information on it time consuming and tedious.
Close
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party president M.K. Stalin.(AP)
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party president M.K. Stalin.(AP)

Stalin accuses AIADMK govt of putting on hold projects brought during DMK rule

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 10:41 PM IST
Stalin claimed the DMK government had completed 80 per cent of the work on the Hogenakkal integrated drinking water project.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP