Doctors operating on a patient with black fungus infection at Madhya Pradesh’s Jabalpur Medical College Hospital on Wednesday | PTI TIRUCHY THURSDAY MAY 20, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 12 LATE CITY EDITION RAJASTHAN GOVT DECLARES BLACK FUNGUS AN EPIDEMIC Wednesday’s declaration came after case count touched 100. A separate ward has been created at a Jaipur hospital DIABETES PATIENTS AT HIGHER INFECTION RISK Deaths due to mucormycosis — colloquially called black fungus — among Covid patients have been reported across states like Kerala (10+), Haryana (5) and UP (2). It is a common fungus in soil and decaying vegetation, but rarely affects those with strong immune system. In Covid patients, those with uncontrolled diabetes or on immunosuppression are at higher risk ■ 50% STEROID USE LINKED TO FUNGUS’ SPREAD ■ ■ It can affect any organ, including skin or eye. A surgery or removal of the affected organ may be required to contain the spread There is no scientific evidence that oxygen pipes or humidifier are sources of its origin. It is not contagious, but has high morbidity Diabetes care and avoiding steroids can help arrest the infection DEATH RATE ONCE THE BLACK FUNGUS INFECTION IS CONTRACTED CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI Egmore eye hospital treats 6 patients with Black Fungus infection in May S I N D UJA JA N E @ Chennai FROM the beginning of this month to this Tuesday the Gov, ernment Ophthalmic Hospital, Egmore, treated at least six patients infected with mucormycosis or Black Fungus, according to the doctors working there. Among the six patients, who were all men, five were diabetic and one was non-diabetic. “Though it is common among diabetic, we don’t know how non-diabetic persons are also contracting the infection. It could be because of the steroids that the patients are given during Covid-19 treatment. Before the pandemic, we used to have three cases in a month, but now, so far in this month, till Tuesday, we have received six cases, all recovered from Covid-19,” said a senior doctor at the Government Ophthalmic Hospital. “While two patients did not have any eye involvement, the other four patients came in with eye involvement and they required hospital treatment as their vision was affected. They should be treated with anti-fungal drugs and if needed, ENT surgical procedure. Four patients who required treatment were admitted to Rajiv Gandhi TAMIL NADU MAY 18 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 33,059 21,362 364 MAY 19 34,875 23,863 365 Government General Hospital,” said the doctor. The mucormycosis will first affect the nose, sinuses, and then eyes, after that it will spread to the brain. The hospital earlier used to see these fungal infections in patients who are immuno-compromised with conditions like diabetes and cancer patients on chemo- Hinterlands becoming super-spreaders; lax testing, poor awareness & fewer good hospitals complicate situation Rural caseload spurt is a big healthcare challenge E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E I F metros and big cities bore the brunt of the first wave of Covid-19 last year, the second wave seems to be choking rural India in a way not seen before. According to a recent SBI report, the share of rural districts in new cases has been steadily increasing – from 36.8% in March to 45.5% in April and 48.5% in May Alarm. ingly, the fatality rate in interior regions is also high owing to lack of easy access to medical care, shortage of life-saving drugs, and lack of awareness, among other reasons. In Punjab, for example, 46% of the active coronavirus cases is from rural areas. Data show that interior regions account for 55% of the overall Covid deaths in the state. During May 1-15, as many as 55,411 cases were reported from Punjab’s 16 rural districts while the total infections in the state were 1,20,723. Out of 2,618 deaths in Punjab during the period, 1,434 were from rural areas. Likewise, 43% of Haryana’s Covid cases were from rural areas in the first two weeks of May. Also, 62% of the Covid deaths were from the 15 predominantly rural districts of Villagers are not washing masks or sanitising hands properly and are not maintaining social distancing. Along with this, during home isolation, they are not having separate rooms, washrooms and bathrooms, which is also leading to spread of the disease Pradeep, Panchayath Development Officer, Yeraganal Gram Panchayat, Karnataka the state. During May 1-15, as many as 84,242 cases were reported from these districts, while the total cases across the state stood at 1,97,334. In terms of deaths, the figure is 1,456 from rural areas out of the state’s total of 2,330. Bihar has a peculiar problem. Nearly 89% of the state’s 13.12 crore population live in its 45,103 villages. In the second Covid wave, 76% of the total cases in the state are from rural areas. According to sources, at least 50% of the population in remote districts like Jamui, Aurangabad, Muzaffarpur, etc PERARIVALAN GETS 30 DAYS ORDINARY LEAVE Chennai: Considering the petition from Arputham Ammal, mother of AG Perarivalan, one of the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, Chief Minister MK Stalin on Wednesday, granted 30 days ordinary leave for him on medical grounds. Perarivalan is currently placed in Puzhal Central Prison. It may be recollected that the release of seven convicts has come close to an ending many a times in the past. TWO DIE IN ERWADI MENTAL HEALTH CENTRE Ramanathapuram: The Two inmates of the Government Mental Health Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre in Erwadi died allegedly due to Covid-19 a few days ago and a cluster of 13 more positive cases was identified at the hospital on Wednesday. Sources said that the deceased inmates were suffering from chronic psychosis. P5 State allows inter-district travel for weddings EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai THREE days after curbing inter-district travels, the State government, on Wednesday re, laxed the transportation restriction for weddings. In view of the lockdown imposed from May 10 to 24, inter-district travels were restricted from May 17, except for medical emergencies, elderly care, and death and post-death rituals. Although on May 14, the government said the inter-district transportation for weddings will be allowed, it reversed its decision on May 17 as the State’s per day number of Covid cases remained above 30,000. However, following requests from the general public, the government enabled the provision for e-registration, thereby allowing people to travel for weddings. However, the government said only one registration should be made for all the guests attending the event. The e-registration has been enabled for all vehicles from different places of the State in a single registration. The portal to register is https://eregister.tnega.org “The e-registration shall be made only by one person (applicant) who is directly connected to the marriage (like the bride, groom, mother, father, mother-in-law, father-inlaw, etc.). The applicant’s name must be printed on the wedding card and a copy of the wedding card has to be necessarily uploaded,” said the advisory issued on the website. P2 could be infected. “The actual degree of rural spread could be much higher, as access and willingness for testing is limited,” said Dr Vikash R Keshri, a health policy expert. Covid-19 is surging ahead in rural Bengal, too, with health department officials conceding that the situation in at least 18 districts is grim. For example, West Midnapore recorded 268 cases on May 1. The count went up to 653 on May 7 and 829 on May 15. Similarly 74 new cases , were recorded on May 1 in Jhargram. It jumped to 124 on May 8 and to 178 on May 15. In Andhra, while rural areas have been reporting more Covid-19 cases than urban regions, interior areas seem to have a slightly lesser fatality rate. According to data for April, the case load was higher in rural areas compared to urban. Of the 1.46 lakh cases reported, 56% of them, accounting for 81,365 cases, were in rural areas while the urban areas accounted for 44%. Explaining the reas o n , P r i n c i p a l s e c re t a r y (health) Anil Kumar Singhal said the enforcement of partial curfew or restrictions would be more effective in urban areas and cities but not so in hinterCONTINUED ON: P8 lands. therapy. Now, after Covid-19, the cases have increased because of uncontrolled diabetes and usage of steroids, the doctor added. Doctors in the city said that they started seeing mucormycosis infection cases predominantly after the start of pandemic. There is a sudden increase in the mucormycosis PM’S ECONOMIC ADVISORY PANEL Fresh push for 1-time hike in corporate tax A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi ASHA OF PROTECTION ASHA workers and nurses engaged in door-to-door Covid survey, also checking oxygen saturation of children, in Mysuru on Wednesday | UDAYSHANKAR S May 18 12,79,896 doses May 19 11,45,569 doses TOTAL DOSES: 18,69,89,265 JAB-O-METER TAKE YOUR SHOT NATIONWIDE MAY 18 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths MAY 19 2,63,533 2,67,334 4,22,436 3,89,851 4,329 4,529 RURAL LOAD FACTOR ANDHRA PRADESH Rural areas have more cases (56%) but fatality rate is lower than urban centres BIHAR 90% of the 13-crore population lives in villages. Over 75% of active cases reported from rural areas HARYANA 43% of the fresh cases and over 60% of deaths from hinterlands MADHYA PRADESH Huge uptick in cases in districts adjoining Uttar Pradesh UTTARAKHAND 100% JUMP IN ACTIVE CASES FROM RURAL AREAS WEST BENGAL Situation in 18 districts grim PUNJAB Over 45% of the fresh cases and 55% of deaths are from rural districts A controversial proposal to tax the rich is back on the table, with a section of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) strongly pushing to impose additional tax for a short period to make up for the revenue loss during the pandemic. “In the internal economic review meeting, many members of the PMEAC had suggested that many countries are using wealth tax to compensate for revenue. The proposal was that India can reconsider it for companies that are resilient or had posted a healthy double-digit growth as one-time measure,” a senior finance ministry official, who was aware of the meeting earlier this month, said. The meeting was attended by officials of the finance ministry, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), PMEAC and Niti Aayog. Some officials of the finance ministry are also in favour of the proposal, the officer said. This is not the first time the rich tax has been mooted. When the proposal to slash corporate tax was first drafted, it had a wealth tax component on high profit earning GUJ CYCLONE TOLL 45; BODIES OF 26 ON ILL-FATED BARGE FOUND, 47 MISSING EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Mumbai/New Delhi MONSTER cyclone Tauktae that made landfall in Gujarat on Monday night left a trail of destruction, killing at least 45 people across 12 districts, apart from drowning at least 26 occupants of ONGC’s Barge-P305 35 nautical miles off Mumbai. While the 26 bodies were brought ashore by a Navy team on Wednesday 47 others , who were on the barge on the ill-fated night are still unaccounted for. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday undertook an aerial survey of affected areas in Gujarat and the adjoining Union Territory A Navy ship provides assistance to a partially flooded tug off Daman | PTI of Diu to assess the devastation. Indian Navy and the Coast Guard continued their search and rescue operations for the third day. Modi approved a grant of `1,000 crore for immediate relief activities in Gujarat besides `2 lakh compensation to the next of kin of all victims of the cyclone. Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said, 186 crew members of accommodation barge P-305 and two from Tug ‘Varapradha’ have been rescued by Navy ships and aircraft so far. Efforts to locate the 47 missing personnel is in progress. INS Talwar assisted Support Station 3 and drill ship Sagar Bhushan, which are now being safely towed back to Mumbai by ONGC support vessels. Food and water to the 300-odd crew members of these vessels was also provided by naval helicopters from Mumbai earlier in the day . In Gujarat, 15 deaths were reported from Amreli district in Saurashtra, the worst affected region. Eight persons each were killed in Bhavnagar and Gir Somnath districts, an official of the State Emergency Operation Centre said. Ahemdabad reported five deaths, two in Kheda, and one each in Anand, Vadodara, Surat, Valsad, Rajkot, Navsari and Panchmahal districts. As many as 30,000 structures, including 28,430 kachcha houses, 74,493 electricity poles and 674 roads were damaged, 68,753 trees uprooted and power supply snapped in over 9,000 Gujarat villages. PUBLIC SERVICE Min volunteers to bear cost of funeral expenses A R AV I N D R A J @ Karur THOUSANDS of families across the country are struggling financially to give a dignified burial to their loved ones lost to Covid. Reports keep pouring in of unclaimed bodies piling up across States; some being left in watery graves of the holy river. Amid these distressing developments, Karur district has found a ray of hope across the country said Dr Mo, han Kameswaran, chief surgeon and director, Madras ENT Research Foundation (MERF). “Before the pandemic, I used to see around 10 cases per year. Now, I am seeing 5-10 cases everyday. There is a sudden increase after the pandemic, particularly in the second wave,” said Mohan. P4 in their elected representative -- minister Senthil Balaji. Balaji, the Electricity, Prohibition & Excise Minister, has announced that he will bear all the costs for the funeral of Covid patients who are being cremated in Karur. As far as the district is concerned, a total of 116 individuals have succumbed to the virus since the start of the pandemic. On Tuesday alone, as many as nine died. The deceased are being cremated at the Balammalpuram Electric Crematorium. Around `2,000 is charged for cremating a dead body As the . labourers working in the crematorium were infected with Covid-19, the Karur Municipal Health Inspector took charge of the cremation ground. For the past one week, Senthil Balaji has been bearing the cost for the cremation of the deceased, officials said. Addressing the media, Senthil Balaji said, “Until now, we haven’t received any complaints on bribe or any hidden charges being collected by the workers at the Balammalpuram crematorium. P2 Demand to tax the rich growing global The demand to tax the rich has increased globally, especially at a time when the income divide has widened during the pandemic with a large number of middle class people pushed into poverty while the ultra rich are getting richer firms. But in the final draft by then revenue secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey, the wealth tax clause was dropped. Ahead of this year’s budget, the proposal was back on the table but was decisively rejected by the PMO, which wanted to present a business friendly image. According to Karthik Natarajan, partner, Bhuta Shah & Co. LLP , “The temptation, however easy, to load the thrust of taxes on a section of economic citizenry may best be avoided as the corporates are an inseparable part of the society and have larger contributions to make in terms of productive deployment of the factors of production.” DD International coming to change global narrative EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi PERHAPS pummelled by the loads of bad press India’s Covid response has been drawing, national broadcaster Doordarshan had decided to launch an international channel to try to change the narrative. India’s Covid situation continues to dominate headlines across a wide swathe of international publications and websites like The New York Times, The Washington Post, the BBC, The Australian, The Economist, and news agency Reuters. The public broadcaster last week floated an expression of interest (EOI) for DD International, inviting comments from private players to draft a detailed project report for the new channel. Bids were invited from reputed global consultants with experience in advising international broadcasters/media houses on projects. Prasar Bharati CEO S S Vempati said such a project was on the cards for some time now. “It has been a long overdue strategic objective to establish international presence for Doordarshan. The Prasar Bharati Board in its last meeting (March) gave the go ahead to develop a project roadmap for the same by engaging an appropriate strategy consultant. This EOI is a step towards that,” said Vempati. The EOI said bureaus would be set up globally and there would be round-the-clock world service streams.
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