Indian Covid Variant Now Marked As One ‘Of Concern’ By WHO
According to the World Health Organization, studies of the variant indicate increased transmissibility. Meanwhile, India's seven-day average case rate hits a new high, and reports link "black fungus" infections with covid patients.
WHO Elevates Indian Coronavirus Strain To 'Variant Of Concern'
A top official at the World Health Organization on Monday announced the agency is elevating a coronavirus variant first identified in India from a 'variant to interest,' to a 'variant to concern,' citing early studies suggesting increased transmissibility. Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's COVID-19 technical lead, said during a press conference that the B.1.617 variant appeared to spread more readily in preliminary studies released ahead of peer review. But there are still many unknowns around the impact on diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines, she noted. (Rivas, 5/10)
India’s Seven-Day COVID Average At New High, WHO Issues Warning On Strain
India’s coronavirus crisis showed scant sign of easing on Tuesday, with a seven-day average of new cases at a record high and international health authorities warning the country’s variant of the virus poses a global concern. India’s daily coronavirus cases rose by 329,942, while deaths from the disease rose by 3,876, according to the health ministry. India’s total coronavirus infections are now at 22.99 million, while total fatalities rose to 249,992. (5/11)
India Covid Explainer: What We Know About The B.1.617 Variant
India is grappling with a devastating second wave of coronavirus that’s far more fatal than the first — and scientists say the surge could be partially due to mutating strains. The World Health Organization just reclassified the B.1.617 strain, which was first identified in India, as a “variant of concern” — which indicates that the variant has the “highest public health implications.” (Ng, 5/11)
‘Black Fungus’ Complication Adds To India’s COVID Woes
The Indian government has told doctors to look out for signs of mucormycosis or “black fungus” in COVID-19 patients as hospitals report a rise in cases of the rare but potentially fatal infection. The state-run Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said at the weekend that doctors treating COVID-19 patients, diabetics and those with compromised immune systems should watch for early symptoms including sinus pain or nasal blockage on one side of the face, one-sided headache, swelling or numbness, toothache and loosening of teeth. (Mishra and Deka, 5/10)
India Covid: Second Wave Ravages Village Without Hospitals Or Even Doctors To Fight It
In the remote Indian village of Chogath, local pharmacist Jeetu has become the only source of medical help for people sick with Covid-19. The country's second wave has devastated major cities and regional hubs, with hospitals running out of oxygen and medicine. But in rural states and far-flung villages, doctors and clinics are in even shorter supply -- leaving residents to fight for their lives without access to care. (Mitra, Kiley, Talreja, Joseph and Yeung, 5/11)
Across Faiths, US Volunteers Mobilize For India Crisis
Volunteers at Hindu temples, Muslim groups and Sikh relief organizations across the United States are mobilizing to support India as the world’s second most populous country struggles to handle a devastating surge of the coronavirus. From coast to coast, faith groups tied to the Indian diaspora have collected hundreds of oxygen concentrators and electrical transformers to ship to overwhelmed hospitals, raised millions for everything from food to firewood for funeral pyres and gathered in prayer for spiritual support for the Asian nation. (Henao and Wardarski, 5/11)