We totally need the Indian version of this ASAP! Cheesy disco meets Covid vaccine PSA… perfect! FYI, has the backstory on the and funny guy Gurmit Singh.
THE GREAT PANDEMIC: A LONGISH UPDATE First the numbers: We added and 3,454 deaths. We account for almost 47% of the total cases in the world. Also testing positive: at the Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad. They were likely infected by staff, but happily are recovering well. The hellish projections: Mathematical models predict that the second wave will peak in mid-May—with 800,000 new cases a day, and a daily death toll of 4,500! This is from Bhramar Mukherjee who heads an epidemiology group out of the University of Michigan. At least a 100,000 people are expected to die in the coming month. The new projected hotspots: Assam, West Bengal, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha and Uttarakhand. has more. A related good read: Prathamesh Mulye in on the decades of negligence that have created the current Covid data mess. Speaking of deaths: covers the rising numbers in the PM’s constituency, Varanasi: "patients can no longer find hospital beds, oxygen, or ambulances, and getting a Covid test can take up to a week. In the past 10 days, most pharmacies have run out of basic medicines like vitamins, zinc and paracetamol.” On Sunday, the official daily death toll was 16, but two of the local crematoriums reported at least 300-400 funerals a day. And the people are furious at their netas: > “The prime minister and the chief minister have gone into hiding, abandoning Varanasi and its people to their own fate… The > local BJP leaders are in hiding too. They have switched off their phones. This is the time people need them to help with a > hospital bed or an oxygen cylinder but it's total anarchy here. People are so angry." A related good read: on how the uncontrolled surge is leaving children abandoned and unparented across the country: “Some find themselves in the care of relatives and guardians, others remain alone at hospital emergency rooms and homes not knowing what to do with their parents’ bodies.” Oxygen shortage: The Allahabad High Court “the death of Covid patients just for non-supplying of oxygen to the hospitals is a criminal act and not less than a genocide.” The Delhi High Court has issued a to the union government, asking why it has not complied with the Supreme Court order to ensure a daily supply of 700 metric tonnes to Delhi. The ban on industrial oxygen was supposed to help divert supplies to produce medical oxygen. Instead, the manufacturing facilities in Gujarat are simply shutting down. A good read: explains why there have been so many hospital fires—which are adding to the death toll. About those variants: Well, this bit of news isn’t much better. Researchers have identified a new variant in Andhra Pradesh. It is 15 times more infectious than the double mutant variant that has already spread across Maharashtra and other parts of the country. Also this: > “We have observed that the new variant has a shorter incubation period and the progress of the disease is much rapid. In the > earlier cases, a patient affected with the virus would take at least a week to reach the hypoxia or dyspnea stage. But in the > present context, patients are reaching the serious condition stage within three or four days. And that is why there is heavy > pressure on beds with oxygen or ICU beds.” Point to note: these findings have not been peer-reviewed or published as yet. has more details. Time for a lockdown? Two weeks ago, the PM delivered a national address urging states to consider a lockdown only as “the last option.” But it looks like we may be down to that last option—with most business leaders including the Confederation of Indian Industry calling for one. Bloomberg News via looks at the increasing pressure on Modi to shut the country down. Also on : a harsh reminder of who pays the price of lockdowns. New data shows that unemployment jumped from 6.5% in March to 7.97% in April—when seven million people lost their jobs. A good quote from an infectious disease expert that sums up this dilemma: > “One of the problems is this false narrative that it's either a full lockdown, which equates to economic disaster, or no > lockdown, which is a public health disaster… What's happening now is a health and an economic disaster. If you have huge swaths > of your population getting sick, that's not good for your population or your economy.” About those vaccines: Pfizer is in the midst of negotiating with the government over one : the government wants it to conduct a small bridge trial, but the company insists that there is no need for any—since the vaccine has been shown to be perfectly safe. FYI: The US is poised to authorise the vaccine between the ages of 12 and 15. So if Pfizer does come to India, it may be the only jab available for children. A related good read: looks at the case study of Yamuna Khadar—a settlement in the Capital where people are struggling to register on the CoWin portal. Insisting on a vaccine: Air India pilots who have refused to fly unless they are inoculated asap. The pilots association : > “With no health care support to the flying crew, no insurance, and a massive opportunistic pay cut, we are in no position to > continue risking the lives of our pilots without vaccination. Our finances are already spread thin covering our bedridden > colleagues and provisioning for families lest we inadvertently infect the deadly virus that is an ever-present occupational > hazard for us.” About that foreign aid: 300 tonnes of emergency foreign aid has been flown in over the on 25 flights. These include 5,500 oxygen concentrators, 3,200 oxygen cylinders and 136,000 remdesivir injections. The Health Ministry says they’ve been given to 38 institutions and hospitals across the country—mostly run by the union government. has more. A related read in : How changes in foreign funding laws—introduced to squeeze NGOs’ access to overseas donors—has hampered their ability to help with the pandemic. If you want to help: and shop on Instagram, subscriber Sowmya Swaminathan has an excellent list for you: * : proceeds go to Nandini Ghosh who runs a fundraiser for crematorium workers in Delhi. * : will fund oxygen concentrators to be rented out for free. * : will draw your portrait if you donate at least Rs 1500 to a charity on her list. * : has a list of other individuals and organisations who are donating their work to support Covid relief. Covidiot alert: Noto—a port town in Japan—has spent ($228,500) of its Covid relief funds to build a thirteen metre-long statue of a squid 🤦🏽♀️. The reasoning: it will help attract tourists—who will flock from far and wide to look at this? BENGAL ELECTION UPDATE Post-poll violence has claimed the lives of at least —including nine BJP supporters, six from Trinamool and two from Sanjukta Morcha. The BJP is casting the conflict as Muslim attacks on Hindus—with party chief making references to the Partition. PM Modi called the governor to “his serious anguish and concern at alarmingly worrisome law and order situation”—and CM-elect Mamata Banerjee is reading that as a move toward imposing President’s rule. In happier election-related news: Bollywood’s troll-in-chief Kangana Ranaut has been from Twitter. Her last tweet was on the Bengal elections—and included a reference to the Gujarat riots: > “This is horrible... we need super gundai to kill gundai... she is like an unleashed monster, to tame her Modi ji please show > your Virat roop from early 2000’s.... #PresidentRuleInBengal.” NOPE, SOCIAL MEDIA ISN’T BAD FOR KIDS A new study out of Oxford University looked at 430,000 kids between the ages of 10 and 15 over a period of 16 years, from 1991 to 2017. Its surprising conclusion: There is no link between use of technology and feelings of depression, suicidal tendencies and behavioural problems. It concluded: > “The argument that fast-paced changes to social media platforms and devices have made them more harmful for adolescent mental > health in the past decade is . . . not strongly supported by current data.” The lead researcher himself admitted, “I was pretty surprised by the findings.” To be clear, a number of studies have shown a rise in mental health issues among adolescents. But technology may not be the cause for them. () TWO FOOD THINGS Chocolate art: Spanish chocolatiers are recreating Pablo Picasso’s famous painting ‘Guernica’—a Cubist masterpiece that was a response to the Nazi bombing of the Basque region during the civil war. has the details, and the 3.5 by 8 metres piece of chocolate art, looks like this: Fancy vegan: One of the most prestigious restaurants in the world, Eleven Madison Park, is planning to reopen after the pandemic with a fully vegan menu—which will cost $335 per head. Why this is a big deal: None of the 132 three-Michelin star restaurants in the world serve a meat-free menu. Chef-owner Daniel Humm’s reason for this : > “And the way we have sourced our food, the way we’re consuming our food, the way we eat meat, it is not sustainable. And that is > not an opinion. This is just a fact. So we decided that our restaurant will be 100 percent plant-based.” Also looking to be sustainable: The world’s largest jeweller Pandora—which is switching entirely to laboratory-made diamonds. The reason: diamond mining is highly damaging to the environment—and ‘blood diamonds’ are used to fund bloody civil wars in various parts of Africa. Why this is good news for the customer: lab diamonds are way cheaper—only about a third of the price—and practically indistinguishable from the mined kind. offers a deep dive into the business of lab-grown diamonds. DINE WITH DATA: ALL ABOUT ULTRAHUMAN 🏋🏻 Editor’s Note: Here is DWD’s weekly installment of one cool, innovative or just plain quirky startup from around the world. Company: Ultrahuman 🏋🏻 About: Bangalore-based Ultrahuman is a classic example of a “built in India, made for the world” subscription fitness platform. The app is intended to improve the way its users workout, meditate, and sleep. The core difference between UH and other fitness apps is that it doesn't look at fitness as a target, but as a journey. The content is designed to ensure that you progress safely, and recover properly. 🧘🏻♂️ The company raised a $7.6M seed round in Dec '20 from Blume Ventures and Nexus Partners. Food For Thought: Online fitness is highly content-driven, and UH seems to have made a great start. The first few workout and meditation routines on the app have been developed by celebrity trainers, clinical psychologists, and champion Crossfitters. 💪 DWD Take: Very few Indian companies market to the global crowd like this. We're definitely keeping track of their customer acquisition and growth hacks! URL: (Looks so great 😮) About DWD: 🍴sends you a short summary on one new startup every day, delivered straight to your Whatsapp inbox!
This is the Sometimes, a change of perspective is all we need, right?
A LIST OF CURIOUS FACTS One: Did you know that polar bears and grizzlies are having babies called pizzly or grolar bears? And their numbers are increasing. As the world gets warmer, grizzlies move north and polar bears move south… and, well, stuff happens! from Vanderbilt University has everything you need to know about this unexpected hybrid. Two: Did you know that best friends are actually saying ‘I do’ to each other in “platonic marriages?” has more on this latest trend. Three: So the Oscars were kinda lame this year. But here is how insane and awesome it is in a normal year when you’re the calling all the shots. (h/t subscriber Jaskirat Singh Bawa) Four: A company has developed a ‘temporary tattoo’ made of biodegradable inks that disappear between 9-15 months. So you’re not stuck with one forever, but OTOH, you still have to endure needles. explains. Five: The Government of the Maldives revealed plans for the world’s first , which will begin construction in 2022. It’s the nation’s answer to rising sea levels due to climate change—since the 1,000 individual islands that make up the Maldives will be some of the first to disappear underwater. The whole city is about three-quarters of a square mile, or 200 hectares, with low-slung residential buildings and commercial properties. Here’s the promo video. has all the details.
When your grasp of your mother tongue is less than stellar. When you’re stuck with a highly unreceptive audience… just lean in! Traffic warden.
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