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Fewer non-COVID-19 diseases recorded?
Fewer non-COVID disease alerts were recorded at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in India.
This is according to information on weekly outbreaks available on the website of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), a Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare body. While initially this would be thought to be associated with the quarantine imposed in India, the most recent data from the IDSP is from March 16th to March 22nd, before the lockdown began.
The body usually reports weekly on disease cases. However, since the imposition of the lockdown, these reports have ceased. Such a lack of monitoring could draw inference that other diseases are being sidelined as more and more resources are being directed towards the monitoring and managing of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Officials have been quick to dispute this claim.
“There were fewer instances of people reporting diseases other than COVID-19 in hospitals. However, after May 3, there is again an increase in reports of other diseases but the latest data suggests that it hasn’t completely normalised as compared to previous years,” said Dr Sujeet Kumar Singh, director of the National Centre Disease Control (NCDC). Dr Singh denied the possibility that monitoring of other diseases was lower due to priorities being placed with COVID-19.
There were a total of six alerts across the March 16-22 period. These included a case of Crimean-Congo haemorraghic fever from Gujarat; three cases of chickenpox from Bihar; a case of dengue in Karnataka; and an outbreak of food poisoning in West Bengal. Health Issues India has reported previously on numerous other outbreaks such as that of cholera, typically in small, rural villages. In the same week last year, there were seventeen alerts: in 2018, there were 28. In 2017, there were 45.
Behavioural changes such as physical distancing and the use of masks, as well as limitations to public gathering even before the imposition of a full-blown quarantine, may account for the reduced case count. Disease outbreaks may have still been occurring, yet not to the same scale due to reduced social contact. It may also be possible that, as Dr Singh suggested, cases were simply not reported in hospitals.
India’s current situation with COVID-19 is dire. The daily death toll is steadily creeping higher, while daily new case counts have risen to around the 20,000 mark. In both cases the trajectory of the curve is definitively upwards, and so India can reasonably expect that the worst is yet to come.
Major League Baseball Cancels 2020 All-Star Game Because Of Coronavirus
Major League Baseball is cancelling the 2020 All-Star game over concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic and restricting on mass gatherings, the league says.
This year’s Mid Summer Classic, planned for July 14, is the first All-Star Game cancelled since World War II. A week of fan activities around the the American and National League exhibition match-up — including the Home Run Derby — will also be put on hold this year.
The Los Angeles Dodgers were set to host for the first time since 1980.
“Once it became clear we were unable to hold this year’s All-Star festivities, we wanted to award the Dodgers with the next available All-Star Game, which is 2022,” said baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr said in a statement.
Cancelling the All-Star game is the latest hit the league has taken since the pandemic began. In March, the league put a stop to spring training, just two weeks shy of what would have been opening day. Disagreements between the player’s union and MLB over money and safety concerns further delayed the league’s shortened 60-game season.
Late last month, both sides agreed to have opening day on July 23 or 24, with players resuming training at the beginning of the month.
MLB recently introduced new rules to stem the spread of the virus among players, including a ban on spitting by players during the game.
First played in 1933, the All-Star Game has a been an annual event, save for 1945 when wartime travel restrictions interfered.
The 2021 edition is set to be played in Atlanta at the Braves’ Truist Park.
When Your Dad Owns A Pizzeria, The Pandemic Means Learning To Make The Perfect Pie
In the middle of March, when the coronavirus forced schools to shutter around the country, Francesca Montanaro, 11, abruptly transferred from fifth grade to “pizza school.”
She started calling into her Zoom English class from a small table squeezed in the back of her father’s pizzeria, Katonah Pizza & Pasta in the Bronx borough of New York City. Surrounded by sacks of flour, she wrote an essay on A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a room filled with the aromas of tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.
And she has also been helping out at the pizzeria: answering phones, assembling cardboard pizza boxes and learning to use the cash register. She’s there at least a few days a week, sometimes for 12-hour stretches.
Both of Francesca’s parents are essential workers. Her father, Paul, has been providing food to walk-in customers, as well as large orders to nurses, police officers and emergency medical services workers. Francesca’s mother, Jessica, is an intensive care unit nurse at Mount Sinai Morningside hospital, which has been inundated with COVID-19 patients. Under normal circumstances, Francesca’s grandparents would provide child care when both her parents are working, but the family doesn’t want to risk them getting exposed to the virus.
Hunker Down Diaries is a new series from Radio Diaries that shares short diaries and conversations between people thrown together by the pandemic. Stories about ordinary life in extraordinary times. To hear more stories from the Hunker Down Diaries series, subscribe to the Radio Diaries podcast.
At the pizzeria, Francesca enjoys joking around with her dad’s co-workers and the customers, but she does admit that being there all day can be a drag.
“Sometimes I feel bored, mostly because there’s nothing really to do there for an 11-year-old like me,” she said. “It’s not like it’s a jungle gym or anything like that. It’s a pizza shop.”
Recently, Francesca sat down with her dad to talk about life during the pandemic. She wanted to know if her being at the pizza shop bothered him.
“Well, to be honest with you, it does stress me out, only because I know for a kid, your patience is what it is, and sometimes I see that you’re bored,” Paul told her. It troubles him to see her cooped up in the shop all day. But, he said, “I want you to also know that you’re very calming and soothing to me. Having you there in my time of stress has calmed me down, because you’re built that way.”
Francesca said she gets frustrated that her dad is often so preoccupied at work, and she sometimes feels lonely.
“The hardest part for me is you’re usually busy. And I feel like some days I could just sit in the back without you even noticing me,” she told him.
Paul said he understood. Being together at the pizza shop hasn’t been exactly quality time for father and daughter. But the pandemic has given them no other option. “It is what it is,” he told her.
“I do want you to know that sometimes I feel very guilty that you’re there with me so many hours, because sometimes mommy doesn’t pick you up until 7 o’clock at night or 8 o’clock at night,” he said.
Even though the situation isn’t ideal, Paul said, for his part, he loves seeing Francesca at the pizzeria. “I’ve seen you learning the register, and you know how to handle money now,” he said. And he recalled with pride the day Francesca made her first pizza.
“You made the perfect pie,” he said. “It was perfectly round. I couldn’t believe the amazing crust you made. Even my pizza guy was like, ‘Oh, my God, she is a natural!’ “
Francesca had one final question: “Do you think you’d want me to take over the pizza shop and run the business?”
“I wouldn’t want you to do what I do,” Paul said. It’s not an easy business, he said. He encouraged Francesca to model herself after her mother’s path into nursing. “Whereas I can feed people, mommy can save lives,” he said. “And not to say that I’m not intelligent, but I see how you are and I see what you can be, and I know that that would be a lot more than what I’ve been in my life and am. And I think you’re going to use that brain and do much better things than what I do.”
Francesca is hoping to become a nurse or a psychologist. In the meantime, she’s spending her summer scooping Italian ice at the pizzeria.
This story was produced by Sarah Kate Kramer of Radio Diaries, with help from Joe Richman and Nellie Gilles. The editors were Deborah George and Ben Shapiro. Thanks to Jessica Deahl and Andrea Hsu of NPR.
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