Coronavirus Briefing Newsletter – Times of India


  • India on Friday reported 15,786 new cases and 231 fatalities, taking the cumulative caseload to 34,143,236 (175,745 active cases) and fatalities to 453,042.
  • Worldwide: Over 243.27 million cases and over 4.94 million fatalities.
  • Vaccination in India: 1,005,904,580 doses. Worldwide: Over 6.76 billion doses.
The death toll for healthcare workers
The death toll for healthcare workers
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) informed that 80,000 to 180,000 healthcare workers may have been killed by Covid-19 up to May this year, insisting they must be prioritised for vaccination. WHO said the fact that millions of health workers remain unvaccinated is an “indictment” on the countries and companies controlling the global supply of doses.
  • A WHO paper estimated that out of the planet’s 135 million health staff, “between 80,000 to 180,000 health and care workers could have died from Covid-19 in the period between January 2020 to May 2021”.
  • “Data from 119 countries suggest that on average, two in five health and care workers globally are fully vaccinated. But of course, that average masks huge differences,” pointed out WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
  • “In Africa, less than one in 10 health workers have been fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, in most high-income countries, more than 80% of health workers are fully vaccinated.”
  • Annette Kennedy, president of the International Council of Nurses, warned: “They [healthcare workers] are now burnt out, they are devastated, they are physically and mentally exhausted. And there is a prediction that 10% of them will leave within a very short time.”
  • Also: The WHO wants each country to have vaccinated 40% of its population by the end of the year, but Tedros said 82 countries are at risk of missing that target, chiefly through insufficient supply.
  • In high-income countries, as categorised by the World Bank, 133 doses have been administered per 100 people. In the 29 lowest-income nations, the figure drops to five.
Viral load in second wave was higher than in first: Study
Viral load in second wave was higher than in first: Study
  • A study in Mumbai has found a 100-fold increase in the amount of SARS-CoV-2 virus being expelled by Covid-19 patients during the second wave as compared to the first wave. The study, jointly done by the BMC and the Foundation of Medical Research, underlined that the Delta variant of the Covid-causing SARS-CoV-2 was highly infectious.
  • “We studied 75 Covid patients, some of whom were vaccinated, and found that compared to 2020 (the first wave), there was a two-fold increase in the proportion of people expelling virus in their breath and a 100-fold increase in the amount of virus per patient,’’ says Dr Nerges Mistry of FMR.
  • The authors found that only 42% of the patients during the first wave could expel the virus (on to a face mask) while the corresponding number during the second wave was 91%.
  • All the patients studied during the second wave were affected by the Delta variant. Samples were collected from patients within 36 hours of their diagnosis. Each participant was given a modified N95 mask that was attached with a gelatin membrane on the inner surface of the mask for 30 minutes.
  • The participants were asked to carry on with their activities for the first 20 minutes and then asked to do vocal tasks (such as reading, coughing) in the last 10 minutes. The gelatin film was removed and studied.
  • “We found the viral load among the patients was double of the load among first wave patients,’’ said chest physician Dr Vikas Oswal, who was associated with the study. He said the second wave was less lethal in terms of deaths, but each patient had a high low-CT value and high viral load.
  • The bottom line: The researchers said the study underlined the need for masking in the foreseeable future.
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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Judhajit Basu, Sumil Sudhakaran, Tejeesh N.S. Behl
Research: Rajesh Sharma

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