Letters

Letters to the editor dated May 18, 2021

| Updated on May 18, 2021

Falling Covid curve

This refers to the news report, ‘Covid-19: India reports 2.8 lakh cases on May 17’ (May 18). Cautious relief should mark the apparent retreat of the second surge of the coronavirus that brought the country to its knees since it began wreaking havoc. While the falling Covid curve in the past one week is encouraging, it only reinforces the importance of being continuously on alert, prepared and following pandemic-appropriate norms. Utmost care needs to be taken to ensure that the guard is not lowered.

The gains of the restrictive measures imposed by most States over this period to check the onslaught of the ferocious contagion have begun to be visible and they must not be frittered away with the recklessness that marked the end of the first wave. Given the constraints of our economic and medical infrastructure, a public health crisis is riddled with huge human and humanitarian costs — a fact sadly laid bare in the ongoing second Covid wave.

The only way to avoid a repeat is to keep potential super-spreader events locked down for an indefinite time. Mass religious, political and social gatherings should be a complete no-no.

N Sadhasiva Reddy

Bengaluru

Vaccine IPR

Apropos ‘Fast forward’ (May 17), the argument in favour of relaxing patents for some time is sound in the face of challenges for developing nations. Without timely, adequate and affordable vaccines for all, the outcomes for global health and the economy could be vastly damaging.

Yet, this is not the last of the pandemics or global health crises. The world will need renewed and accelerated innovation and investments to see off newer, more stubborn, more sustained global health challenges. Policymakers must find a middle ground that will address current challenges in an equitable manner while not weakening the incentive for pharma companies to work harder on addressing possible new threats. Could a strong public sector R&D effort be part of that middle ground solution?

V Vijaykumar

Pune

Hasten patent waiver

India must ensure that the WTO process for patent waiver by the US to Covid vaccines is speeded up. Considering the severity of the second wave and the dearth in supply of vaccines, the patent waiver by the US is timely and must be utilised fast.

But there is likely to be a delay as the WTO Director General will be convening a meeting on this only in December. India needs to obtain waiver benefits quickly, for producing vaccines at lower cost and cover its humongous population.

NR Nagarajan

Sivakasi, TN

Live and let live

This refers to ‘Delhi HC to politicos: Surrender medicines to DGHC’ (HBL, May 18). Hats off to the Delhi High Court for taking exception to politicians and legislators hoarding Covid-19 medicines and asking them to surrender the stocks to the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) even if the same were procured solely for the purpose of the public charity.

Reportedly, politicians are able to procure in huge quantity Covid medicines even as patients are running from pillar to post to get them in the national capital.

One hopes this problem gets resolved soon and all needy persons are able to get the requisite drugs (at their normal price) through government approved channels.

Kumar Gupt

Panchkula, Haryana

Economic outlook

This is with reference to ‘How will the economy pan out this fiscal?” (May 18). The coronavirus and its accompanying fallouts have further widened income inequality in India. The government has promised free ration to the poor during the pandemic, which is a good move.

But freebies and subsidies will never pull the people out of poverty. Instead, the governments at the Centre/States should look to create jobs by investing in health, education, infrastructure and agriculture. For example, when road works are undertaken, construction workers, engineers and a whole lot of people in related sectors will get employed.

Veena Shenoy

Thane

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Published on May 18, 2021

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