Splainer

Wednesday, June 9 2021


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I still don’t understand why people have to get married. If you want to have a person in your life, why do you have to sign marriage papers, why can’t it just be a partnership?

That’s Malala Yousafzai musing the value of marriage in a British Vogue magazine cover story. She was immediately greeted with a barrage of hate from Pakistani trolls—who accused her of variously insulting the Prophet, being a CIA spy, and being a slut.

Big Story

A serious Covid complication in children

The TLDR: A surge in a life-threatening condition called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) is raising alarm among doctors and authorities. We briefly look at why it occurs and whether parents should be worried. 

 

First, a big caveat

MIS-C is indeed a very serious syndrome but it is important not to be alarmist about its prevalence. There have been around 2000 recorded cases according to data released in February. That said, it is important to remember that only 5.8% of Covid patients hospitalised in the second wave were 0-19 years old—and that’s up from 4.2% in the first wave. And to put that number in perspective, that 0-19 age group constitutes nearly 43% of India’s population. So neither severe Covid nor MIS-C is common among children. 

 

Point to note: We don’t have strong data on the number of cases mainly because it is not mandatory for states to report them—and many doctors don’t even know about MIS-C, which is often misdiagnosed. The government recently asked states to start submitting weekly reports, and experts have called for a central registry to track its prevalence. 

 

Ok, what is MIS-C?

It is not a disease but a syndrome—as in it is a group of signs and symptoms. A number of organs and tissues—such as the heart, lungs, blood vessels, kidneys, digestive system, brain, skin or eyes—become severely inflamed. The red flag symptoms are as follows: 

 

“It is important for parents to reach out to the doctor if there is a fever (above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Centigrade) lasting longer than 24 to 72 hours and there is a rash on the body, peeling of skin of the tips of the fingers, neck pain or swelling, fiery red eyes or strawberry-like red tongue, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue. It's crucial for parents to take the child for emergency care if the child is drowsy, lethargic, confused, has trouble breathing, complains of pain or pressure in the chest, complains of severe abdominal pain, has seizures, or has pale or gray or blue lips, skin or nail beds.”

 

What’s really scary: about MIS-C is the following: 

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In today’s edition

Headlines That Matter

  • A global Internet outage
  • A giant global sting operation
  • FYI: Loki is gender-fluid
  • Karnataka vs big tech

 

A list of curious facts

  • World's "biggest and deepest" swimming pool is being built in the UK
  • A map that visualizes the world’s most popular websites as “countries”
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