A research by a Japan-based medical group has warned parents against putting on face masks on their children who may be younger than 2 years, as it could risk suffocating or choking them. According to the Japan Paediatric Association, “masks can make breathing difficult because infants have narrow air passages” — this leads not only to a greater burden on the infants’ hearts but also raises the risk of a heatstroke in them.
According to the Association, the spread of Covid-19 among children has been very limited with very few serious cases — in fact, most kids who got infected contracted the infection from family members as most schools or day care facilities were closed, preventing any outbreaks there. The Association’s warning comes as Japan lifted the state of emergency that had been imposed in view of the spread of Covid-19.
Even the US Centres for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommends against putting a face mask on children under 2 years. Apart from the risk of suffocation, the US CDC also notes that children tend to touch their face more often, which would not just negate the utility of a face mask, but may actually increase the risk should there be any virus residue on the mask.
India’s health ministry has confirmed 145,380 Covid-19 cases (80,722 active cases) and 4,167 fatalities. 6,535 fresh cases were recorded on Monday.
Fatalities across the world are 346,306 (nearly 5.5 million infections).
The numbers are as of Tuesday, 12:30 pm IST. Check out the latest data here
Gujarat, which has reported over 14,000 Covid-19 cases and 888 fatalities — second only to Maharashtra — is facing heat over its decision to limit testing. The Ahmedabad Medical Association (AMA) has threatened to go on strike if the state government does not withdraw its notification asking private hospitals to seek approval from nodal authorities to conduct Covid-19 testing on patients who are to undergo surgery or critical care, reports Ahmedabad Mirror. “These patients can become potential super spreaders if they are found positive at a late stage,” Dr Mona Desai, AMA president, said.
The Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Home Association (AHNHA) has also raised objections. In a sharply worded letter, AHNHA sought to know “whose decision is it to restrict testing?” “The same authority will be responsible for its disastrous consequences,” it warned. “Even for non-Covid treatments, we need to rule out Covid beforehand to avoid complications later and save our staff from contracting the virus. Given the kind of guidelines issued by the state government, this has become a challenge for us,” Dr Bharat Gadhavi, president AHNHA, told Economic Times.
According to the Mirror, Gujarat has been conducting somewhere between 4,800 and 5,500 tests a day. But experts say the requirement to seek special approval delays testing of patients admitted to hospitals, potentially losing crucial days. Delayed detection has been a worry in the state. On April 23, the Times of India reported that Gujarat appears to be detecting cases late into the infection cycle with data on fatalities showing 66% died within two days of testing positive.
This comes days after Gujarat High Court criticised the state government for not conducting enough tests, observing that “the argument that ‘more number of tests which lead to 70% of the population testing positive for Covid, thereby leading to a fear psychosis’ should not be a ground to refuse or restrict the testing”. The Gujarat government has now moved an urgent plea seeking “clarification” on the court’s order.
Gujarat’s troubles go beyond testing. Last week, the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital came under the spotlight for its high unusually high mortality rate — till May 19, 343 Covid-19 patients died in the hospital against 338 recovered. The state government was also questioned after the civil hospital in a letter said ventilators developed by a Rajkot-based private firm were not up to the mark.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no evidence that SARS-nCoV-2 can be spread to humans through the use of swimming pools. “Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (e.g., with chlorine and bromine) of pools should remove or inactivate the virus that causes Covid-19,” the CDC said.
Ernest Blatchley III, a professor of environmental and ecological engineering at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana said there was no data to show how the coronavirus responds to chlorine. “But we do know that chlorine effectively inactivates similar viruses,” he added. “The general guidance for keeping pools properly disinfected is maintaining a free chlorine concentration between 1-5 mg per litre. If a pool has that concentration, there would be very little infective novel coronavirus in the water,” he explained.
Kay Bidle, a professor of microbial oceanography at Rutgers University, doesn’t think the virus would survive very well in water, or it would quickly dilute into the water body, and so it would be unlikely you would get infected that way.
But health officials still advise staying at least 6 ft away from others because Covid-19 is a respiratory disease. In other words, you probably won’t get coronavirus from the water, but you could get coronavirus from someone close to you in the water.
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Over 50 clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine have started in India, reports ET. This is aside from the World Health Organisation’s solidarity trial that has started in India for drug combinations such as lopinavir+ritonavir, Remdesivir and Interferon beta-la. While it is not known yet what the winning drug or drugs will look like, the top three treatment options that are being studied in India are use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), plasma therapy and the BCG vaccine.
HCQ is being studied in over 20 registered trials despite controversial data coming from observational studies on its efficacy. The WHO stopped HCQ Solidarity trials on Monday.
The convalescent plasma therapy comes next in the number of registered trials. There are 10 studies on across 17 centres of India.
The 80-year-old BCG vaccine is next in line — three trials are on in the country to see if the BCG vaccine and its modification recombinant BCG work in protecting healthcare workers involved in Covid-19 duty as well as on patients who are at high risk.
Also under study is anti-cancer drug Imatinib, which has shown effectiveness in labs for diseases such as MERS and SARS corona.
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