Open and safe: On Modi government’s vaccination policy

If Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the country amid the raging storm of COVID-19 cases was intended as reassurance of the government’s commitment to averting economic decline and ramping up health facilities, he provided little insight into specific measures. It should be evident from the pace of infection spread and the large number of deaths in several regions that the sensible course open to the Centre and State governments is to enable economic production and consumption while massively scaling-up the health response. Mr. Modi, who advised States to treat lockdowns as a last resort, has virtually acknowledged, with the benefit of hindsight, that last year’s measure dealt a severe blow to unorganised labour and the self-employed. The priority now is for the workforce to be vaccinated and containment measures against disease spread to be restricted to micro locations. Yet, the crucial question is that of universalising vaccinations for everyone above 18 years of age from

Towards racial justice: On George Floyd case verdict

A U.S. judge found Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, guilty of murdering an unarmed African-American man, George Floyd, an incident last May that ignited a nationwide storm of protest against police brutality and a worldwide outpouring of anger at America’s racial injustice. Mr. Chauvin has been convicted of second-degree and third-degree murder, and manslaughter — all three for an encounter that lasted around nine minutes, during which he pinned Mr. Floyd’s neck to the roadside with his knee until he stopped breathing. Mr. Floyd’s final words, “I can’t breathe”, became the clarion call of a massive wave of street protests across the U.S. At the time, erstwhile President Donald Trump fanned outrage when he described the protests a result of the “radical left” and threatened to send in the National Guard. President Joe Biden, at the time a presidential race frontrunner, contrarily went to Houston to meet with Mr. Floyd’s relatives. He said at the time that he would not “fan
Editorial

Managing an upheaval: On universal vaccination

A combination of panic, public pressure and comprehension of the magnitude of the crisis that India is in seems to have prompted the Centre to authorise vaccines to anyone above 18 and give States more control over procurement. This is despite the problems in scaling up production, and in the supply and management of vaccines amid the surge in cases. The step could not have been easy to take. For one, the processes initiated by the government in early January to expand India’s manufacturing capacity were under the assumption that it would be at least August before vaccines could be fully opened up for all. In December, it was announced that India’s priority would be to fully inoculate 300 million of the most vulnerable. Given that about 127 million doses have been administered, including a section of those above 45 without underlying health conditions, around 17 million have been fully inoculated — or about 5% of the intended beneficiaries. At the optimistic rate of three million doses

Editorial

A league of their own: On Europe's biggest football clubs

The decision by 12 of Europe’s biggest football clubs to unveil a plan to launch The Super League, a multi-billion-dollar tournament to be played largely among a closed group of 20 teams has thrown the European game into turmoil. Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur from England, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid from Spain, and Juventus, Internazionale and AC Milan from Italy have come together for an initiative “to put the game on a sustainable footing”. But the principal aim seems to be to upend the Champions League, the crown jewel among all competitions managed by European football’s governing body UEFA. That the announcement came just a day prior to UEFA announcing a reformatted Champions League starting from 2024 is no coincidence. The Super League will inevitably damage the domestic leagues in each of the countries. Currently, league positions decide who qualifies for the Champions League, whereas in the proposed

Editorial

Saving lives: On health facilities in India

After painfully negotiating numerous hurdles during the first wave that peaked in mid-September last year, India appears to have learnt little as a more ferocious second wave is ravaging the country. Precious time was wasted before critical facilities began to be scaled up to meet the demands of the second wave that is accelerating at an unprecedented pace, leading to health-care facilities being overwhelmed; the number of deaths shows a sharp growth of 10.2%. A mad scramble for hospital beds, oxygen, medicines, vaccines and even a quick funeral are witnessed in many cities. If the mindless rush for convalescent plasma and hydroxychloroquine even in the absence of any evidence of benefit was seen last year, there is now hysteria to get remdesivir for hospitalised patients, leading to drug shortages. Though a small trial did show that the drug shortened the time to recovery, the World Health Organization’s large Solidarity trial found no evidence of its benefit in reducing mortality,

Vulnerability reminder: On credit-related corporate frauds

Normal is good: On IMD monsoon forecast

Cuba after the Castros

Probing the sleuths: On the ISRO spy case

Loser Streak: On cricket, gambling and match-fixing

Examination priorities: On annual exams amid the pandemic

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