As the second wave of Covid devastates us, many are battling on the frontlines - doctors, medical workers, sanitation staff, amongst others. But there is another set of people who are out there in the Covid trenches too – the journalists.

Unheralded and unsung, they perform a critical public service during the pandemic – reporting from the epicentre of the crisis, informing the public, keeping the state machinery on their toes, marking out the heroes, and importantly, filtering fact from the chaff.

On the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day this week – on May 3 – we pay tribute to those journalists who bravely, unmindful of the risks, continue to keep their ears to the ground and get their feet muddy.

The weekly newsletters from the Foundation, over the past 57 weeks, have been a chronicle of, and a tribute to, the work of these innumerous journalists, who have been the flag-bearers of a truly free and independent media.

As in past weeks, and in this edition too, our grantees bring you reports from the frontline of the pandemic.

As India gasps for oxygen, Mojo Story reports from the tribal district of Nandurbar in Maharashtra where the district collector Dr Rajendra Bharud’s prescience and planning not only ensured that the district has enough oxygen for its own needs, when the second wave struck, but could also accommodate patients from outside the district. A template for the rest of India.

Max Maharashtra delves into the plight of an elderly couple in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra who face stigmatisation and ostracisation after their family members test positive for Covid.

Nuapada, a district in Orissa, offers a snapshot of what is wrong in India’s battle against Covid. As the caseload and fatalities swell and oxygen is hard to come by, the district administration is in a constant state of denial. A recipe for a looming disaster. Down to Earth brings you the story.

Khabar Lahariya goes to villages in Chitrakoot district in Madhya Pradesh to find patients of malaria and typhoid struggling to access medical care as government hospitals are saturated with Covid patients.

And, Alt News calls out a doctor who posted a video advocating the use of a nebulizer as an alternative to proper medical-oxygen equipment.

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


Sunil Rajshekhar

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Nadurbar: Oxygen surplus when India facing shortage

Mojo Story reports on a district collector’s initiative from Nandurbar in Maharashtra in not only setting up oxygen facilities, even as the first wave receded, but also converting schools and colleges into Covid centres. The district’s preparations to face the second wave have been so exemplary that they are now in a position to treat patients from outside the district.

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कोरोना काळात माणुसकी हरवली, आजी आजोबांनी जनावराच्या गोठ्याचा सहारा

Max Maharashtra brings the tragic plight of an elderly couple who are struggling to survive in Sultanpur village in Aurangabad, Maharashtra after their family members tested positive for Covid and were hospitalised. The couple was stigmatised and ostracised from the village, and the local administration has also turned a blind eye.

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Odisha’s Nuapada a snapshot of how COVID-19 is affecting rural India

Down to Earth reports on how the plight of Nuapada district in Odisha is a sign of how the pandemic is wreaking havoc with lives of people in the rural districts of India. Nuapada continues to be plagued by lack of oxygen, shortage of medical staff and frontline workers, a rapidly failing infrastructure, and administrative apathy. What is also appalling is the vaccine hesitancy and the stigmatising of those afflicted by the virus.

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चित्रकूट: कोरोना के आगे अन्य बीमारियों पर नहीं है ध्यान, इलाज के लिए भटक रहे मरीज

As cases of malaria and typhoid continue to rise in the villages of Chitrakoot district in Madhya Pradesh, patients from marginalised families are being forced to go to private hospitals as most government hospitals are only treating COVID-19 patients. Khabar Lahariya speaks to the villagers on their plight.

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No, nebulizer cannot be used as substitute for oxygen cylinder

A video of Dr Alok Sethi using a nebulizer as an alternative to proper medical-oxygen equipment in the face of an acute shortage of oxygen went viral. Alt News fact-checked the claim and discredited the method.

Read Here

More from the grantees
The IPL must end immediately—its continuance amid India’s COVID crisis is grotesque
In a stinging critique of the IPL’s continuation even as the country battles the Covid pandemic, The Caravan argues why this game must not go on.
Kashmiri Boy's ‘Oxygen Zakat’ Comes As a Breath of Fresh air for Valley
A young boy’s tryst with deaths in the pandemic goads him into a mission to save lives by supplying oxygen cylinders to Covid patients in need. Kashmir Observer reports.
Band-Aids for Bullet Wounds
What caused the virulent second wave of Covid in India? Other than the Covid virus mutations, it is the hubris of “Indian exceptionalism” which made for complacent leadership and policy-makers. The India Forum analyses.
Bengaluru: A Phoenix That Rose From The Plague
As India continues to fight the pandemic, Live History India narrates the story of Bengaluru, which fought the bubonic plague in 1898, and bounced back.
How is rural Bihar dealing with the second wave of COVID-19?
India Development Review reports on the Covid situation in Bihar from the ground and looks at how healthcare, food security and jobs have been affected.
The second wave: क्या जुगाड़ से हम COVID-19 के लिए भारत की स्वास्थ्य प्रणालियों को ठीक कर सकते हैं?
Suno India in its mini-series on Covid-19, discusses the current pandemic crisis in India and the reasons behind the shortage of hospital beds, oxygen and basic equipment despite the country having fought the first wave relatively well not so long ago.
Why aren't people donating plasma in Meghalaya? Here's what an expert has to say
EastMojo delves into why so few are volunteering to donate plasma in Meghalaya. While the caseload in the state is still under control, the state is preparing for any unexpected surge.
Did Political Rallies Contribute to an Increase in COVID-19 Cases in India?
Political rallies in all the five states that went to the polls were blamed for the surge in Covid cases in India. The Wire analyses the accuracy of the claim.

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