Get full access to one story every week, and to summaries of all other stories. Just create a free account

Covid and 2020 may as well be synonyms.

When it came to dealing with the virus, it seemed like the more things changed, the more they remained the same. 

In India, over 10 million have already been infected, and over 1% of them have died. Globally, over 1.5 million people have succumbed to the virus. As you read this, many more would have been irreversibly hit by the pandemic. 

As a doctor in the ICU of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) put it: We need to brace ourselves for the long haul. SARS-CoV2 is not going away anywhere, at least not for another year. We have to adapt and learn how to live with the virus.

A few weeks ago, though, the Union Health Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan reassured a bunch of reporters backstage after a press briefing. He said hospital staff are learning to respond quicker, especially with emergency cases. “Earlier, patients used to wait for close to five hours before being triaged triaged Triaging Triaging is the sorting of patients (as in an emergency room) according to the urgency of their need for care . Now that time has reduced to 30-40 minutes. The more we are learning about the manifestation of the virus in patients, the response systems are getting better,” he said.

And while it is heartening that patients are being attended to quicker than before, there’s a lot more work left. A whole gamut of interventions from vaccines to drugs and diagnostic tests will be scrutinised as the new year approaches. Some approaches may work, others won’t, some interventions will become cheaper, others won’t. But will 2021 be any easier than the year that’s ending?

Needle in a haystack

The word ‘vaccine,’ has never before evoked so much hope. So many are eager to take a jab, imagining a life beyond that resembles their existence before 2020.

The UK has been the first country to roll roll BBC Covid-19 vaccine: First person receives Pfizer jab in UK Read more out a mass vaccination programme for its citizens, after Pfizer received an emergency nod for it’s vaccine. Pfizer, through its Indian arm, has knocked on the Indian regulator’s door too. But the vaccine needs to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures of -70 degree celsius. India is infrastructurally not prepared. 

We’ve written written The Ken The holes in India’s Covid immunisation arsenal Read more about the holes in India’s Covid immunisation arsenal.


Maitri Porecha

Maitri writes about everything health for The Ken. For close to 10 years now, she has navigated hospital corridors in her search for a good story. In a past life, when she was not a journalist, she used to teach French at her neighbourhood school. Also an avid fan of forensics, she is always up for decoding mysteries in her free time.

View Full Profile

Enter your email address to read this story

To read this, you’ll need to register for a free account which will also give you access to our stories and newsletters

Or use your email ID