Dear Reader,

Many aspects of the pandemic are beyond our control. Wearing a mask though, is completely in our control. For many it has become a constant companion and hence it is worrying to read The Wire's report of a high probability that the ‘N95’ respirators that you and I bought are fakes, counterfeits!

Down To Earth reports that there is a new wave of COVID-19 hotspots waiting to be discovered, this time in India’s rural districts, and pleads for urgent action, before the cases explode. And, The Print finds that uncertainty marks India’s largest data collection exercise - the decadal census - for fear of safety of enumerators and the spreading of the virus.

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


Sunil Rajshekhar

To access previous issues, click here.

COVID-19 Investigation: The Indian Market Is Flooded with Fake N95 Masks

An investigation by The Wire finds a shocking truth – India is flooded with fake respirators, with no quality control and nowhere near the N95 standards that most of them claim to meet. Given the huge gap between supply and demand for masks, many unscrupulous and fly-by-night operators stepped in to exploit the situation. Almost 150 manufacturers have come up in the past three months. Some of them, the report finds, are “basically counterfeiting brands”.

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How to stall COVID’s march in rural India

Following the return of migrants back to their villages, the rural districts in the states are now reporting a serious upsurge of confirmed cases of COVID-19, even forcing WHO to raise an alarm. What adds to the anxiety is that it is precisely these districts that suffer from abysmal healthcare infrastructure with chronic shortage of medical professionals. Down to Earth pleads for an urgent outreach to increase rural capacities through the National Rural Health Mission and equipping the gram panchayats to handle the breakout locally.

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Safety of enumerators, risk of Covid spread through them set to upset Census 2021 timelines

The largest data collection carried out by India, the decadal census, has been hit by the disruption caused by COVID-19. The house-listing census was to be held between April and September this year and population enumeration in the last three weeks of February next year. Now, there is no clarity on the schedule. The census is crucial not only to determine the population size but also to assess facilities such as drinking water, sanitation, housing and electricity, critical inputs into policy and governance, reports The Print.

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Task-force scientists say Delhi’s serological survey results delayed pending MHA approval

The serological (test for anti-bodies) joint-survey conducted by the Delhi government and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) from 27 June to 5 July, to determine the prevalence of the novel Coronavirus in the capital, is still to be released. The apparent cause of the delay – because the Union Home Ministry is still sitting on it, reports The Caravan.

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As Lockdown Squeezes Grey Market, Families Struggle To Import Life-Saving Drugs

As supply chains remain disrupted, IndiaSpend investigates how families are scrambling to procure Vigabatrin, a drug used to help prevent seizures in children. Families who were paying about Rs 700 for a strip of 10 tablets before the lockdown are now paying up to more than four times this amount as supply remains constrained by a lack of licensed sellers.

Read Here

More from the grantees
How these ‘Sakhi‘ warriors are helping distressed women amid lockdown
EastMojo profiles the efforts of a women’s welfare centre in Assam, who have been able to rescue women in distress during the pandemic.
This is the most opportune time for impact investing
What is the impact of the pandemic on ‘impact investing’ and social enterprises? India Development Review finds out.
The need for evidence-based medicine in treating COVID-19
Suno India launches its podcast series “Deciphering COVID-19 Research” aimed at helping the layman understand the complicated process of treating the Coronavirus, developing a vaccine and the research that it involves.
Are you washing vegetables in soap water? It may do more harm than good
Breaking some of the myths that are surprisingly still prevalent on the ways to keep the Coronavirus at bay. The News Minute brings you a guide on how to reduce the risk of being infected.
How to do More COVID-19 Testing
Takshashila Institute’s podcast answers important questions about India’s unorganised diagnostics sector. How India failed to step up testing and how the situation can be salvaged.
चित्रकूट: लॉकडाउन में टीबी मरीजों के क्या हैं हालात?
TB patients in Chitrakoot, Madhya Pradesh, are unable to access hospitals in the lockdown, and how they have to depend on loans to pay for their medication, Khabar Lahariya reports.
Price Regulation (Or Lack Thereof) Of N-95 Masks
Live Law highlights the failure of the government in ensuring the N-95 masks are accessible and available at affordable prices; and the utter failure to regulate.
WHO doesn’t claim asymptomatic patients cannot spread COVID, isolation is still advised
Alt News fact-checks misleading posts citing the WHO on social media that asymptomatic patients cannot spread the COVID-19 virus.
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