#LETSFIGHTCOVID- Understanding India

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“This is a time for domestic solidarity and unity. I encourage the Government to draw on India’s vibrant civil society to reach out to the most vulnerable sectors of society, to ensure no one is left behind in this time of crisis”, concluded the High Commissioner.

Amidst the worldwide pandemic that we are fighting today the need to analyze the upcoming and present challenges put forth before India is of vital importance. We all are aware of the severe health sector crisis and resource drain that is happening in the present times. Not to deny the fact that India is taking some bold measures to ensure the virus spread doesn’t happen at a community level. Hence, the World Health Organisation has stated that India’s decision for a nationwide 21-day lockdown is robust and comprehensive.

India is a country which hosts one-sixth of the world’s population hence it goes without saying that fighting a pandemic isn’t a cakewalk therefore we need to discuss as to what are the different possibilities to be identified when fighting an epidemic.

Firstly I would talk about the threats that India is having presently. Scrolling through those horrific crowding images we must have come across a lot of skepticism against India’s planning and execution strategies. However, what needs to be understood is that enormous population of the country is a major issue therefore rapid ground level realization of relief is also becoming a farfetched idea.

Secondly, the lack of resources and moreover the limited access to them at various outlets is a major cause of concern. According to an article of BBC, “Many believe India is also testing below scale because it fears that its under-resourced and uneven public health system could be swamped by patients. India could be buying time to stock up on testing kits and add isolation and hospital beds. "I know mass testing is not a solution, but our testing appears to be too limited. We need to quickly expand to restrict community transmission," said K Sujatha Rao, former federal health secretary and author of But Do We Care: India's Health System.

We haven’t taken two minutes to think before condemning the abrupt crowding at the bus depots by the migrant labourers. Today we need to step into their shoes and analyze their plight during such havoc. Nearly 52% of the migrant workers in our country belong to the unorganized sector hence lack enough legal and financial backing to sustain their lives. Instances of extreme exploitation such as beating and spraying disinfectants on these people lead to further stigmatization leading to heightened atrocities.

In a nutshell, in this aggravating situation the need for better resources and ground level realization in India are important however nothing is impossible with the constant support and cooperation of the civil society. Hence I would quote Swami Vivekananda “In the heart of things there is Unity still.”

 

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The Bois Locker Room: An Instagram Chat Or A Wake-up Call?

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If you’re not already aware of what this case is all about, a group of young boys in Delhi on a private Instagram chat (screenshots of which were shared around later) called “Bois Locker Room” were seen objectifying, degrading, rating, demeaning young girls, sharing their pictures (some of this girls were only 14-15 years old) and even threatening to rape or kill them in case they got exposed. 

Screenshots of this group chat were shared across social media platforms - predominantly Instagram and Twitter, after which the school authorities of these students (the 20+ boys) requested the Delhi police to investigate the incident.

The Delhi police have so far found that some students of leading South Delhi schools created the Instagram group in the last week of March and started adding their friends. “A few members are in college. Some of the teens allegedly started sharing photos posted by schoolgirls on their Instagram accounts, and passing sexually explicit comments,” an officer said, adding that the purported chats also included threats of sexual violence.

DCP  Anyesh Roy told The Indian Express, “After we came to know, we registered an FIR under Sections 465 (forgery), 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record), 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and Sections 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) and 67A (publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act in electronic form) of the IT Act. 

The case is still under investigation. But..

All the right things that could’ve gone wrong: 

First off, the boys on the group chat threatened some of the girls to rape, kill, and humiliate them if they dared to share any of this information with anyone. But the girls, being well-educated (and smart) enough to know that no such thing could actually take place if a complaint was lodged, went ahead to expose them anyways. But you see, things like this happen EVERY DAY and young girls are often a) either too ignorant to pay attention and brush off these issues as “minor” or b) scared of the empty threats that honestly have no real follow-throughs.

Second, the school authorities specifically requested the police to investigate the incident. Now again, this may not have happened in many other cases. A lot of times, any kind of vulgar behaviour, especially in schools and colleges in India, is looked upon as high risk to the reputations of these institutions so they prefer to sweep it all under a carpet

And third, social shaming. In cases like these, we bless the speed of the internet. Social media fastens the process of information spreading, and it is necessary for people to acknowledge this pro of social media platforms. But more often than not, a lot of serious issues may be lost under all that is glitter and jolly good, unicorns and rainbows - But this piece of incident DIDN’T. Imagine the number of people that want to have a voice to socially bring shame to their oppressors, but are unsuccessful. At least this one caught the eye - and the punishment of being recognized as a “so and so” in case of this incident will stick with the boys for a lifetime. 

Now, the case is under investigation, and a judgment has not yet been made. But it’s clear to the general audience that since some of the girls (whose pictures had been shared on the group chat) were underage, this is child porn. So not only are what these boys doing morally incorrect, but also illegal under IP section 292, 293. 

We hope for the best outcomes.



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What Is Herd Immunity? Everything You Need To Know

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Picture a herd or community of healthy people. An infectious virus or disease would pass easily through the community from person to person. Vaccines train our immune system to protect us from diseases it hasn’t come in contact with before. For example, the MMR vaccine provides immunity against measles, mumps, and rubella. During an outbreak of a disease, vaccinated people will remain healthy. As they won't become infected, they won't pass on the disease. Hence, if most of the community is vaccinated, it makes it difficult for the disease to actually spread to the rest of the community. This is the basis of herd immunity. 

If most people in the community are not vaccinated, herd immunity can break down, allowing the disease to spread more easily.

Herd immunity becomes especially important for the individuals in a herd who can't be vaccinated. These could be people who are either too old, too young or have weaker immune systems

Herd Immunity without Vaccination: Another way the building of herd immunity could happen is if many people contract the disease and in time build up an immune response to it (natural immunity). In this case, the herd would have to be fit enough to contract the disease, survive it and then become immune towards it. 

 It is important to note that in order for herd immunity to take action, the disease/virus must be categorized as a Contagious one. (capable of spreading)

COVID-19 and Herd Immunity In India

Renowned Immunologist and Cell Biologist Dipyaman Ganguly has said that one of the only hopes in defeating the novel coronavirus is by developing ‘herd immunity,’ 

In an interview with news9, he said, “This coronavirus is not going anywhere. Viruses don’t go anywhere. They may become weak but its strand remains. The virus will keep infecting people until a large population develops immunity against it.”

He has also stated that immunity could only be achieved through a vaccine or by getting infected by the virus. “Since developing a vaccine for COVID-19 is not an easy task and it is unlikely that we will get one soon, the only hope that remains is that of herd immunity and it is bound to happen.”

Explaining the idea of herd immunity further, he said, “The virus is going to infect a large number of populations in India. When a large number of people get infected, their bodies will develop natural immunity. They will stop the virus from spreading further by breaking the chain of infections transmitted from one person to another.” “Since I am closely monitoring the situation, I am sure that we are moving towards herd immunity,” he added. 

Studying infection trends in India, he said that most coronavirus cases will be asymptomatic. Patients will recover through natural immunity and vitamin boosting medication suggested by doctors. However, those with existing health conditions could develop severe complications as the virus is shown to aggravate symptoms. 



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