Dear Reader,

The Print brings you the story of how, in a bid to fast track the antidote to the COVID-19 virus, venerable and proven institutions - The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) – were caught with their guard down.

The digital-divide becomes a life and death issue in Kerala as deprivation of access to online classes forces a teenager to take her life, reports The News Minute. And, IndiaSpend tells the tale of why the ‘Maximum City’ - Mumbai –- also has the maximum cases of COVID-19, among India’s cities.

For these and more stories from our grantees, please read on.

Sunil Rajshekhar

For a collection of previous issues, click here.

How 3 ‘smart’ Indian names have ruined 200-year reputation of most respected medical journals

Two of the world’s biggest medical journals - The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) - took a hit, when they had to retract two studies on COVID-19 they had published. The studies claimed that Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), when prescribed for COVID-19; and underlying heart disease, elevated the chances of death. The WHO paused its trial on HCQ based on the papers. The study based on data from “671 hospitals over 6 continents” was fabricated. What added to the embarrassment? Among the people employed for the firm that supplied the data – was a science-fiction writer! Plus, an Indian connection.

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Digital divide worsens social exclusion: Anti-caste activists on Devika’s death

The tragic incident of a Dalit girl, a class-9 student, killing herself over her inability to access the virtual classes started by the Kerala government, during the COVID-19 lockdown, has highlighted the digital and social exclusion of students from the Dalit and Adivasi communities in Kerala. The News Minute explores the roots of this divide that has deprived over two lakh families in the state from accessing services rolled out by the state.

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From Financial Capital To COVID-19 Capital: What Went Wrong In Mumbai

About 1 in 5 COVID-19 positive cases are from Mumbai, which has been hit hard by the pandemic. With crowded spaces, poor state of health infrastructure and a large population living in overcrowded slums, the coronavirus has nearly overwhelmed the city. IndiaSpend reports on how a series of missteps like the delay in surveillance of slum populations and an inability to expand testing, amongst others, led to and precipitated the crisis.

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Food Ministry Denies Shortfall in Lockdown Ration Distribution, The Wire Responds

The Wire reported that by the government’s own data about 44.5mn people eligible for grain under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) did not get their dues for the month of May. And about 64.4mn ration-card holders did not receive their share a month earlier, in April. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution’s (MCFPD) issued a response, partly denying the story and partly laying the responsibility at the door of the states. The Wire responded by standing by its story and issued a point-by-point rebuttal.

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PIB’s 3 out of 4 ‘fact-checks’ on deaths in Shramik trains are unsubstantiated

Even as the government arranged trains for migrant workers to go back home, the media reported that for a few the journey turned out to be catastrophic – with the heat and lack of drinking water taking their lives. The Press Information Bureau (PIB), ‘fact-checked’ and tweeted that the deaths of these migrants were because of pre-existing illnesses. AltNews fact-checked the PIB’s fact-checks and found that in three out of four instances the PIB was wrong.

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More from the grantees
COVID-19 Is A Wake-Up Call: Why Real-Time Demographic Data Is Key To Getting The Better Of Pandemics
Swarajya argues why credible, real-time and widespread data is critical to not only fighting the COVID-19 challenge but also to address the threats of future pandemics.
ഷാര്‍ജയിലെ മദാമില്‍ കത്തുന്ന ചൂടില്‍ ഒറ്റമുറിയില്‍ കുടുങ്ങി 14 മലയാളികള്‍; പ്രവാസികള്‍ ഡൂള്‍ന്യൂസിനോട് വെളിപ്പെടുത്തുന്നു
Dool News shares the plight of 14 Indians, who are trapped without access to food and water, in Sharjah, UAE, working for an agency offering Desert Safari services for tourists.
महोबा-कोरोना संक्रमण के चलते नहीं हुई गर्भवती महिलाओं की जाँच
Khabar Lahariya reports on the inaccessibility of medical services for pregnant women living in Jaitpur village in Mahoba district, Uttar Pradesh.
COVID-19 Pandemic and Racism in the United States and India
The EPW argues that the stigmatisation of certain sections triggers inherent racial division and also adversely affects the collective fight against the pandemic.
Angels In Distress: Indian Nurses In Gulf Work Under Exploitative Conditions
Healthcare workers around the world have complained about a lack of protective gear and harsh working conditions during the pandemic. The Lede reports on how Indian nurses, who have education loans to pay off back home, are stuck between an extremely challenging work environment and a compulsion to work for financial reasons in the Gulf.
Education in Times of COVID: Why Does It Take a National Lockdown to Revamp Our Education System?
The Bastion argues how the CBSE’s focus on eLearning could be exclusionary and asks why the board needed a pandemic to revamp the country’s poor education system in the first place.
Funders need to think beyond the pandemic
India Development Review outlines the ways funders can aid education-nonprofits that are helping poor students cope with the shutting down of schools.
Abortion During The Pandemic: Whose Crime Is It Anyway?
The re-purposing of the healthcare infrastructure for COVID-19 has unfortunately skewed access to the hospitals for patients with other morbidities. For instance, it has manifested itself in the already rampant maternal mortalities. Feminism in India reports.
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