With the trajectory of the pandemic remaining flat (for now), it is likely that December – at least the first half of the month – will see a further fall in the case fatality rate.(Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)
With the trajectory of the pandemic remaining flat (for now), it is likely that December – at least the first half of the month – will see a further fall in the case fatality rate.(Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)

Covid-19: What you need to know today

India has prioritised agricultural and industrial activities, political activities (replete with large-scale public meetings and rallies), and recreational activities.
By R Sukumar | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON DEC 01, 2020 03:11 AM IST

In the first 29 days of November, India recorded 1,248,778 (approximately 1.25 million) Covid-19 cases and 15,020 deaths. Both numbers are low enough to be comparable to those in July – when the country saw 1,109,138 (approximately 1.1 million) cases and 19,140 deaths. In fact, even the June deaths (12,081) are comparable to the November number, and they came on the back of far fewer cases (only 394,867). With the caveat that deaths in a particular month do not always correspond to cases that month – the norm, globally, has been to assume a two-week lag, but even this is an approximation because sometimes people succumb to the disease in days, and sometimes hang on for months – this is a good indication of how progressive case fatality rates have declined in India, much like they have in other parts of the world. India’s stated objective, articulated by the health ministry, is to reduce this number (a proportion of those who die from Covid to those infected) to below 1%. Since June, when it was 3.06%, the monthly case fatality rate has declined – to 1.73% in July, 1.45% in August, 1.26% in September, 1.25% in October (September and October were the months when India saw the peak of the first wave of the coronavirus disease), and 1.2% in November.

With the trajectory of the pandemic remaining flat (for now), it is likely that December – at least the first half of the month – will see a further fall in the case fatality rate. The number of active cases, as on November 29, was under 450,000. The corresponding figure, at the end of October (on October 31) was around 570,000, and it was around 940,000 on September 30. In two months, India has halved the number of active cases, something that has also been reflected in the easing of some of the strain on hospitals – other than in Delhi, where a sudden surge in cases during the third wave (which the Capital seems to have put behind it) saw a shortage of critical care or intensive care unit (ICU) beds. As I’ve previously written, if India manages to go through this week without showing an appreciable increase in cases on account of the festivities and celebrations two weeks ago, it can expect the coronavirus disease trajectory to settle into a long plateau as the second wave begins.

That means the central government as well as state governments can start considering the resumption of more activities and easing some of the restrictions that remain. It is important that governments prioritise what is important. India has prioritised agricultural and industrial activities, political activities (replete with large-scale public meetings and rallies), and recreational activities. It is time it looked seriously at education in terms of ensuring that admissions to colleges for the 2020 academic year are complete (they still aren’t in some states); resuming school education; and planning for admissions to colleges in the 2021 academic year. The 2020 academic year has already been disrupted significantly, and if the Centre and states do not act soon, 2021 could see some disruption too.

Many states have started discussing a large-scale reopening of schools (currently, some states have reopened schools for high-school students). Some want to do this in January, others as early as December. This is understandable, but there is need for an overarching plan, and protocols on how schools and colleges (and the cities and districts where they are located) will deal with the localised outbreaks that will likely follow a reopening. Unfortunately, India does not seem to have a plan yet, and this is an area on which it comes off very poorly in a global comparison. In many other countries, schools were the last to shut during lockdowns, and the first to reopen – and even many of these countries have been criticised for prioritising industrial, economic, and recreational activities over education.

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Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora interacts with the media at the Oberoi Grand in Kolkata on Friday. (Samir Jana/HT PHOTO).
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora interacts with the media at the Oberoi Grand in Kolkata on Friday. (Samir Jana/HT PHOTO).

‘Zero tolerance for misuse of money and muscle power’: EC in poll-bound Bengal

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Sohini Sarkar
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:06 PM IST
  • The ECI’s full bench comprising the CEC and election commissioners Sushil Chandra and Rajiv Kumar were in West Bengal on a two-day visit to take stock of the poll preparedness and law and order situation ahead of the crucial assembly polls scheduled to be held this year.
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Educational institutions in the UT were shut since March last year in the view of Covid-19 pandemic.(HT Photo)
Educational institutions in the UT were shut since March last year in the view of Covid-19 pandemic.(HT Photo)

Schools in J-K to reopen on Feb 1 after nearly 11 months: All you need to know

Written by Prashasti Singh, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:04 PM IST
Classes for students of standard 9 to 12 will resume in summer zone areas of the Jammu division from February 1, an order issued by the education department said, adding that classes for students from standard 1 to 8 will resume from February 8.
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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.(Reuters)
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.(Reuters)

"Namaskar': Brazil's Bolsonaro thanks 'great partner' India, PM Modi for vaccine

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Deepali Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 09:59 PM IST
The biggest nation of South America has been facing vaccine shortage and was awaiting the arrival of two million doses of the coronavirus vaccines from India.
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Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal alleged that the Centre had struck at the DSGMC because it was at the forefront in providing aid to the farm movement.(HT_PRINT)
Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal alleged that the Centre had struck at the DSGMC because it was at the forefront in providing aid to the farm movement.(HT_PRINT)

Those supporting farmer protests being vilified: Sukhbir Singh Badal

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 09:57 PM IST
  • Sukhbir Singh Badal accused the Centre of resorting to arm-twisting tactics to "intimidate" all those who were supporting the farmers' agitation. Alleging that an FIR was lodged against Manjinder Singh Sirsa as he was providing langar service and other humanitarian aid to the farmers' agitation.
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Priests place vials of Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in front of an idol of Brahma Swaroop Yogiji Maharaj before the start of a vaccination drive at the BAPS Yogiji Maharaj Hospital in Ahmedabad.(AFP)
Priests place vials of Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in front of an idol of Brahma Swaroop Yogiji Maharaj before the start of a vaccination drive at the BAPS Yogiji Maharaj Hospital in Ahmedabad.(AFP)

80% Indians willing to get vaccines, highest in world; Russians most reluctant

Written by Poulomi Ghosh
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:10 PM IST
Among the states, Karnataka has the highest number of beneficiaries as it has inoculated 1,82,503 beneficiaries so far. Odisha stands second with 1,21,004 vaccine beneficiaries.
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In daily Covid-19 positive cases, Ernakulam district topped with 1018 infections, health ministry data shows. (HT PHOTO).
In daily Covid-19 positive cases, Ernakulam district topped with 1018 infections, health ministry data shows. (HT PHOTO).

Kerala logs another Covid-19 surge with 6753 new infections, TPR rises to 11.63%

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Sohini Sarkar
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 09:30 PM IST
  • A person who had returned from the UK two weeks back in north Kerala’s Kannur has been detected with the modified strain of the virus. With this, the total number of modified virus cases has gone up to 10 in the state.
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Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh(ANI)
Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh(ANI)

Punjab CM announces govt jobs to kin of farmers who died during protest

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Deepali Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 09:26 PM IST
The 11th round of talks scheduled between farmers' union and government on Friday resulted in a stalemate.
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Mulayam Singh Yadav(HT Photo )
Mulayam Singh Yadav(HT Photo )

Mulayam Singh’s biopic set for release in Uttar Pradesh on January 29

PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 09:24 PM IST
The movie will also be released on OTT platforms at a later stage.
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India will celebrate its 72nd Republic Day on January 26 next year, honouring the historic date when the country completed its transition towards becoming an independent republic(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
India will celebrate its 72nd Republic Day on January 26 next year, honouring the historic date when the country completed its transition towards becoming an independent republic(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

Indian Navy's R-Day tableau to showcase its stellar role in 1971 Indo-Pak war

ANI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 09:17 PM IST
  • As per a statement issued by the Indian Navy, the theme of the tableau for the 2021 Republic Day Parade is titled 'Indian Navy Combat Ready, Credible and Cohesive'. The forward section of the tableau will showcase the attack on Karachi harbour by missile boats.
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses during the 18th Convocation of Tezpur University through video conferencing in New Delhi on Friday. (ANI Photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses during the 18th Convocation of Tezpur University through video conferencing in New Delhi on Friday. (ANI Photo)

PM to launch programme to allot 'patta' to over a lakh in Assam tomorrow

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Arpan Rai
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 09:06 PM IST
"Tomorrow morning I would be among the people of Assam. At a programme in Sivasagar, 1.06 lakh land pattas/allotment certificates will be distributed. We are committed to doing everything possible to preserve the rights and unique culture of the great state of Assam," PM Modi tweeted on Friday.
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Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) on Friday announced it will resume its e-catering services from next month(PTI)
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) on Friday announced it will resume its e-catering services from next month(PTI)

News updates from HT: IRCTC to resume e-catering services from Feb

By hindustantimes.com, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 08:52 PM IST
Here are today’s top news, analysis, and opinion. Know all about the latest news and other news updates from Hindustan Times.
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E-Catering Services had been suspended since March 22, 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic induced restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the disease. (PTI PHOTO)
E-Catering Services had been suspended since March 22, 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic induced restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the disease. (PTI PHOTO)

IRCTC to resume e-catering services in phases from February

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Sohini Sarkar
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 08:38 PM IST
  • Initially, the services will be introduced in around 30 railway stations catering to approximately 250 trains.
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The vaccine wastage percentage in the state was 3.40%, officials said.(AFP)
The vaccine wastage percentage in the state was 3.40%, officials said.(AFP)

WHO ranks Rajasthan best-prepared state for Covid vaccination

By Jaykishan Sharma
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 09:07 PM IST
As a result of good ground work, in Rajasthan around 97% of Covid vaccines were utilised during the first three days of the vaccination drive against the target of 90%, set by the central government.
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Countries have turned to India for supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine amid questions about the efficacy of some of the Chinese jabs.(AP)
Countries have turned to India for supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine amid questions about the efficacy of some of the Chinese jabs.(AP)

Countries offered Chinese vaccines turn to India for Covid-19 shots

UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 08:22 PM IST
India is receiving numerous requests for vaccines, both as grant assistance and commercial supplies, and these have increased since New Delhi rolled out nearly five million doses of Covishield.
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Vaishali Dalmiya drew the ire of the TMC leadership for her recent remarks against a section of Howrah district leaders. Like Shukla, she joined politics in 2016. (PTI FILE PHOTO).
Vaishali Dalmiya drew the ire of the TMC leadership for her recent remarks against a section of Howrah district leaders. Like Shukla, she joined politics in 2016. (PTI FILE PHOTO).

Hours after Rajib Banerjee quits govt, TMC expels Bally MLA Vaishali Dalmiya

UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 08:13 PM IST
  • Though a newcomer in politics, Dalmiya was considered a high-profile lawmaker as she is the daughter of Jagmohan Dalmiya, who served as president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB).
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