LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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On Double Mask For Protection From COVID-19

It is more than certain now that the present spurt in the number of COVID-19 positive cases and deaths in the country is because of COVID in its new avatar as a ‘double mutant strain’ that is wreaking havoc and infecting and killing even youngsters and babies in its virulent form and speed of transmission. Probably, it is time to rename the virus as COVID-20 instead of COVID-19. Secondly, medical experts are now beginning to doubt the efficacy of wearing a single mask, given the airborne and dangerous nature of the new strain. Even the surgical N-95 mask is now found to be only 35 per cent effective in offering protection to the wearer. Double-masking, on the other hand, offers around 80 per cent protection, leaving the user still at a risk of 20 per cent besides being more suffocated. Vaccinations are also not the panacea against the new mutant strains. What next is, therefore, the million dollar question. From here to eternity, it seems. 

A F NAZARETH, ALTO PORVORIM

Inconsistency In Vaccine Prices

The Serum Institute of India (SII) has fixed the Covishield vaccine price as Rs 150 for the central government and Rs 400 for the state governments per dose. This inconsistency in vaccine prices is an area of concern. Due to the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the states are already lagging behind in revenue collection. Further, the governments of the states will have a difficult challenge in procuring vaccines, with their coffers not in good shape. It shall be prudent for the Union government to subsidise the entire vaccination programme at least on a 60-40 per cent basis, with the Centre bearing 60 per cent of the cost and the states being burdened only with 40 per cent of the cost.

SADANAND M RAIKAR, COLVA

Need For India To Stop Vaccine Maitri Operation

The spike in COVID-19 cases across the country during the second wave is alarming. The very unavailability of oxygen and remdesivir drug has complicated matters for the healthcare workers. The central government prided itself in announcing Vaccine Maitri operation by providing vaccine aid to several nations including our neighbouring countries. India should now stop aiding the nations through the Vaccine Maitri operation. Efforts should be made to increase the production of remdesivir medication. Earmarking of abundant beds in government hospitals is paramount. Insisting the private hospitals to strictly follow 50 per cent bed availability norm to aid the needy patients is the need of the hour. Citizens should mandatorily observe COVID protocols and support the government’s efforts in containing the spread of the virus.

VARUN DAMBAL, BENGALURU