As India reels under the pandemic, the rural hinterland finds itself unequipped to handle the onslaught. While the metros and the bigger towns get attention and remedies, even if inadequate, to address the pandemic, there are parts of the country where testing and vaccinations for Covid are still far away. In Uttar Pradesh, as our grantees found, not only is Covid testing and treatment denied, but the government itself is in a state of denial on the Covid toll in the state.

Article 14 reports from the hinterlands of the Agra district, abutting the iconic Taj Mahal, where people are falling prey to a “sudden fever”, undetected and untreated, little aware that it is Covid that is at their doorstep. Adding to their agony is the attempt by the state to restrict testing, recording and isolating; insisting that the pandemic is firmly under control. The unofficial estimate of the numbers? – “20 times” the official count.

The story repeats itself in another corner of Uttar Pradesh, where deaths in the second wave are being attributed to pneumonia and typhoid, despite confirmation by doctors that the cause of death was indeed the Coronavirus. Mojo Story reports from Ramana village, in Varanasi where it found that access to medical care is not only severely restricted for patients but that the families of covid patients dying at home are being denied a death certificate for their deceased members.

Reaffirming the fact of undertesting and underreporting is this investigation by Down To Earth, again in Uttar Pradesh, which finds the gap between the count of Covid casualties on the ground and in official records yawning. The state has a whopping 2.3 lakh Covid test results pending in labs across the state.

In other stories, Asiaville records the unique innovation of ‘Oxygen Autos’ in Chennai. The ‘oxygen ambulances’, equipped with medical oxygen and a volunteer in a PPE kit, go to the house of the patient in immediate need and administer oxygen in the customised auto until he or she can reach a hospital.

And, ThePrint brings you the story of a young man’s jugaad, who when faced with the ordeal of isolating himself in a single room with his family after testing positive for Covid, built a ‘Covid ward’ on the branches of a tree in the compound of his home!

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


Sunil Rajshekhar

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In UP’s Vast Agra District, Govt Ensures Death & Pandemic Go Unrecorded

Article 14 takes a closer look at the Covid situation in the Agra district of Uttar Pradesh and finds a deluge of deaths due to the utter apathy of the authorities in either testing or hospitalisation of Covid patients. In a state of denial about the situation on ground, the state government claims that not only is the pandemic kept at bay, but also the infrastructure is adequate and responsive.

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In a village in PM Modi's Varanasi seat, how COVID Deaths are being erased | Barkha Dutt

Mojo Story reports from Ramana village in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, where the cause of deaths from Covid are being attributed to typhoid and pneumonia. Not only is there complete disregard for the consequences of the pandemic, but even the Covid patients who are dying at their homes, after being unable to access a medical facility, are denied a death certificate.

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Is COVID-19 test data being fudged in UP? DTE investigates

While the UP government has mandated that the test results of patients should be out within 24 to 48 hours, it takes more than seven days to get the test results in rural UP. Down To Earth investigated and found that in many parts of the state, the discrepancy between official figures and the actual number of cases on the ground is huge. The government has claimed that more than 43 million RT-PCR and antigen tests have been done. However, 2.3 lakh samples are still pending to be tested in various labs in the state.

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சென்னையில் 'Oxygen Auto' | Asiaville Tamil | Ground Report

Asiaville profiles the ‘Oxygen Autos’ or auto ambulances, an initiative of the volunteers from the Kadamai Education and Social Welfare Trust, Chennai. Once the Trust’s helpline receives a call, it immediately dispatches an Oxygen Auto, along with a volunteer in a PPE kit, to the residence of the patient where he or she is administered medical oxygen in the customised auto until admitted to a hospital.

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Telangana student spends 11 days on a tree — he had nowhere else to isolate during Covid

Faced with the ordeal of isolating himself in a single room with his family after testing positive for Covid, 18-year-old Shiva built a ‘Covid bed’ for himself on a tree in the compound of his home. ThePrint brings you this fascinating story from the far interiors of Telangana’s Nalgonda district.

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More from the grantees
Everyone is funding oxygen. This is a problem.
The shortage of oxygen has rightly seen good Samaritans and civil society in mission mode to overcome the crisis. However, India Development Review argues that this over-focus on oxygen has inadvertently deprived the really needy - hungry and the poor - of the benefits of philanthropic funds.
जिस डॉक्टर को हम भगवान कहते हैं उन्हें लोग क्यों कह रहें हैं यमराज? |
The doctors, at the forefront of the Covid battle, unfortunately, sometimes are at the receiving end of the ire of families whose members succumb to the pandemic in the hospital. Doctors at a Bundelkhand hospital talk to Khabar Lahariya about their limitations and how they are striving against the odds.
Ground Report : हमें Corona से पहले मार देगी भूख, Lockdown में बेरोजगार कुलियों का छलका दर्द
Janjwar reports on the plight of coolies at railway stations who are struggling to survive amidst the ongoing lockdown. With far fewer passengers travelling, they are deprived of a livelihood.
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Max Maharashtra reports from a vaccination centre in Jalgaon, Maharashtra, where villagers are queueing up for long hours to get a jab. Social distancing norms are being violated, and a general atmosphere of disarray prevails.
How The COVID-19 Second Wave Adversely Affects Pregnant Women
The anecdotal experience of some doctors that pregnant women are more prone to the ill effects of the Covid second wave, has been validated by the National Institute of Health Studies. Feminism in India analyses.
Watch: Meghalaya's manpower crisis; health workers test COVID-19 positive
EastMojo reports from Meghalaya that many healthcare workers in the state are contracting the Coronavirus in the second wave of the pandemic, raising concerns of depletion of medical personnel to fight the pandemic.
TNM Explainer: What happens if you miss the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
If you miss the second dose of the Covid vaccine within the stipulated period after taking the first, do you have to start all over again? The News Minute explains.
Video from Pakistan viral as Muslims flouting lockdown in Delhi for Eid shopping
Alt News finds that a video doing the rounds on social media claiming that members of the Muslim community flouted lockdown norms for Eid shopping in Delhi was actually from Pakistan’s Ichra Bazaar in Lahore.

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