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COVID-Watch: Spike in cases or no spike? Query remains

21-03-2020

New Delhi, Notwithstanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi showering 'praise' on the country's authorities, including media, for taking 'all required measures' in countering the dreaded Novel Coronavirus in his March 19 address to the Nation, confusion about the exact 'status' of the disease remains in a section of the Fourth Estate.A leading National daily here on Saturday, while stating about the Centre's advisory to both public and private hospitals asking them to set aside beds and other additional health facilities to step up combat readiness to take on COVID-19, in it's 'Corona coverage' termed the 'present position' both as- 'still not a surge' and also ' a big spike.'

'The measures come as cases continue to rise, though they are still not a surge or a spike, and reflect the government's assessment that the healthcare system needs to be ready for a contingency of a large number of patients,' the first report in the daily said in it's front page treatment.Another report, on the same page in the daily, while mentioning about 57 new cases in the country, branded the 'present standing' of the virus as ' a big spike.''India saw a big spike in COVID-19 infections with 57 new cases being reported by state authorities and 50 by the health authorities on Friday- by far the highest in a single day- as several parts of the country began to feel the impact of the outbreak,' the report maintained.

The 'loopholes' in the media came amid the observation of the 59th anniversary of United News of India (UNI) country's one and only quadrilingual news agency.Asked to comment on the 'corona coverage contradiction,' sociologist turned scientist Ramesh Virmani said 'Quality has deteriorated in every spheres of life. Media management cannot be an exception.''But Media, particularly Print, which claims as 'Proof,' has a greater responsibility, especially through such emergency situations,' Mr Virmani pointed out.When her view was sought on the matter, upcoming singer Ritu Sahani appeared a bit philosophical.In line with a yesteryears' hit Bollywood song, Ms Sahani hummed- ' Rahe Na Rahe Hum.....'

She, however, hastened to quote Tagore's affirmation- ' Ami Bhoay Korbona Bhoay Korbona, Du Bala Morar Age Morbona Bhai Morbona, Ami Bhoy....( I won't die throughout the day, before the Inevitable really appears).Meanwhile, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India on Saturday rose to 271, as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).The deaths reported so far in the country due to the disease is four, while the total number of people who have recovered, discharged is 22, the Health Ministry said.Mr Modi also held a video conference with the Chief Ministers of states on Friday to review the situation with respect to the preparedness and measures against the disease outbreak. Advocating social distancing and amid premonition of 'community transmission' of Corona, the Nation is awaiting the 'Janata Curfew,' advised by PM Modi and scheduled to start from 0700 hrs to 2100 hrs on Sunday (March 21).

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