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India Coronavirus Dispatch: Daily cases retreat below 300,000


India Coronavirus Dispatch: Daily cases retreat below 300,000

Gold loans set to be in demand again, families scramble to buy Amphotericin B to treat ‘black fungus’, and more-news relevant to India’s fight against Covid-19

Over 281,386 fresh cases reported

India reported 281,386 fresh coronavirus infections on Monday, taking the cumulative caseload to 24.9 million, according to central health ministry data. The country saw 4106 deaths due to the pandemic, taking the death toll to 274,390. The active caseload is at 3.5 million, while the total recoveries have surged to 21.1 million. As many as 182 million shots have been administered since the nationwide inoculation programme kicked off on January 16. Of these, around 691,000 were given on Sunday.

Gold loans set to be in demand again

Demand for gold loans is likely to be high this year again owing to increased uncertainty around the second wave of Covid-19 and heightened risk aversion among lenders, a report in ThePrint said. The pandemic has once again forced many states across the country to impose strict regional lockdowns, leading to loss of employment for daily wage workers and those employed in or running small businesses. “The demand for gold loans is usually high when the unsecured loans (like personal and group loans) are not available. During periods of uncertainty like this, unsecured loans are not available,” said John Muthoot, chairman, Muthoot FinCorp Ltd, one of the leading non-banking finance companies (NBFC) in the gold loan space.

15 panels, dozens of experts trying to decipher India’s poor Covid response

India’s fumbling response to the second wave of Covid may suggest not enough people are managing it but at least 15 committees, both scientific and bureaucratic, are currently at work to oversee the country’s strategy to deal with the crisis, a report in ThePrint said. Apart from the meetings and discussions held by these panels, at least 67 review meetings were held by the Prime Minister or his office between January 2020 and May 2021 to take stock of the situation, the report said.

Families are scrambling to purchase Amphotericin B to treat ‘black fungus’

Amid fears of rising cases of mucormycosis or “black fungs”—a rare fungal infection—among Covid patients, families are rushing to buy Amphotericin B, a drug used to treat the condition, even as pharmacies in Delhi say the drug is out of stock, a report in The Indian Express said. Dr Suvrankar Datta, a junior resident at AIIMS, said “In AIIMS emergency, there are currently 15 mucormycosis patients. Yesterday, our network got 11-12 SOS calls looking for Amphotericin B. Most of the pharmacies we called were out of stock, and we found only five-six pharmacies in Delhi which had some stock as of Saturday evening.”

Wastewater study reveals resistance among microbes against antibiotics post-Covid

A study that examined microbes in wastewater across sewage treatment plants, points along the Sabarmati river, and lakes in Ahmedabad city has found an increased resistance to antibiotic drugs, a report in The Indian Express said. The study was carried out by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar. The researchers suspect a key driver in the increased drug resistance could be the abundant prescription of antibiotics during the pandemic, as compared to the pre-Covid period in 2018.

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