Covid-19: What you need to know today

4 months ago 42
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June 20. There’s no breaking it gently; things are getting worse around the world in terms of the spread of the coronavirus disease.

Sure, the disease isn’t the mystery it once was; every passing day increases our knowledge of the Sars-CoV-2 virus and the Covid-19 disease, and while we may still not have a cure, we have a fairly good idea of which medicines and lines of treatment work and which don’t (and there’s new information almost every other day). There’s a general agreement around the world that doctors have become better at saving lives.

Also read: India’s Covid-19 count crosses 4 lakh, deaths reach 13,000-mark

But the disease is raging though the world.

Numbers from three different sources tell the same story.

According to data on worldometers.info, 42% of the current cases in the world (close to 8.7 million on June 19) have been recorded in the past month (since May 20).

According to The New York Times database, 177,225 new cases (a record high) were registered around the world on June 19.

According to the dashboard maintained by the Johns Hopkins University, the five-day moving average is trending upward in eight of the 10 countries that are currently seeing the most number of cases. These are: Brazil, US, India, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Pakistan, and Iran. The two where it isn’t are Russia and the UK. Five-day moving averages even out kinks caused by events such as countries suddenly deciding to change the way they report cases or spikes caused by back-dated reporting. (That’s another thing that has changed from the past — we have all taught ourselves how to read scientific papers and renewed our acquaintance with statistics).

India isn’t bucking the trend (as clear by its presence among the eight countries whose five-day moving average is trending north).

India added 14,677 new cases on June 19, the highest to date (this column is being written on Saturday morning) in a 24-hour period. The country has added 72% of its total cases (till June 19) in the month since May 20. That is almost three of every four cases. With positivity rates continuing to rise, or, at best, staying the same in many states, India’s numbers are certain to increase with more widespread testing (which probably explains why some states are going slow on tests in a display of extremely misplaced priorities).

Also read: Scramble for beds, ambulances, confusion before order reversed

Globally, too, the consensus is that the number of cases will continue to rise as countries open up, or the virus shows up in hitherto uninfected or less-infected parts. The New York Times reports that four American states, Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, and South Carolina touched their highest daily counts (of new cases) this week.

This can be tiring.

For almost 68 days until June 1, India was locked down. While many restrictions have been eased since, suburban trains, metros, and buses (in some states) remain off the roads; many people continue working from home; parks are open only for a few hours; and shopping for most people involves a mask-gloves-shower-wipe routine that is as time consuming as it is wearying. Restaurants are open, and going to one poses a definite risk, as does visiting a mall (and these are also open), but people are bored of eating at home (or ordering out). And Zoom parties, once the rage — as a Delhi resident, especially, I can understand why; it’s easier to get people to leave — are now as interesting as the weekly business review.

So, bored, tired, lonely perhaps, and physically, mentally, and emotionally weary, we let things slip. And the virus wins.

The really sick and the old (and the infirm) may need medical care to beat the virus; the rest of us just need stamina to outlast it.

As John L Parker JR wrote in the best book about running that’s ever been written: “You don’t become a runner by winning a morning workout.”

That fragment is from a longer paragraph that ends with the phrases: “The Trial of Miles; Miles of Trials.”

That’s how it feels. 

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