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  • The COVID-19 reading list you won’t find elsewherePranav S.
    The COVID-19 reading list you won’t find elsewhereIt has been a tumultuous week, to say the least. Business and livelihoods across the board have been disrupted, even more so with India now in a lockdown. We’ve covered this over the past few days in our special series of reports on the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve published half a dozen of these stories this week, plus another two last week. Today, instead of inundating you with more of our work, we have put together a selection of some of the best writing on and around the coronavirus outbreak, from India and the world over. It’s a fairly short list—five excellent stories—because even stuck at home, we believe your time is precious. Hopefully, these stories will help both in understanding what is happening and in coping with it.
  • COVID-19: Medical devices need your attentionT Surendar
    COVID-19: Medical devices need your attention

    Standing on the porch of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Mumbai suburbs, Diwakar Vaish, co-founder of Noida-based AgVa Healthcare, was trying to catch the attention of software industry executives. This is at the annual conference hosted by IT trade body Nasscom. Vaish’s stall was a side-show for startups to exhibit digital technologies in the healthcare sector. 

    On a cool, breezy February day, the atmosphere was nothing as grim you would expect in a hospital emergency ward. Vaish's rig, comprising an iPad-like device on a short steel column mounted on wheels with dangling wires, was a cost-effective version of a ventilator used in critical care. There wasn’t much excitement about his solution, as few executives really understood the medical problem he aimed to solve.

    Today, a robotic engineer by training, Vaish is super busy. 

  • COVID-19: Bittersweet aid from Chinese in the USFrankie Huang
    COVID-19: Bittersweet aid from Chinese in the USFor the past two months, Chinese organizations and individuals in the US have sent countless parcels of supplies over land and sea to the coronavirus outbreak epicentre in Wuhan, as well as to other provinces with smaller clusters. But as the situation in China began to stabilize, it became more apparent with each passing day […]
  • The COVID-19 Report: Indian restaurants run on fumesHarveen Ahluwalia
    The COVID-19 Report: Indian restaurants run on fumesIt was the emptiness that crushed them first. Once bustling and overflowing with people, Indian restaurants had started to go quiet. The regulars stopped showing up sometime early in March. The sound of friends talking over drinks, waiters moving in and out of the kitchen, the smell of cut vegetables and the whiff of alcohol […]
  • COVID-19 and the ecology of diseaseRoshni P. Nair
    COVID-19 and the ecology of diseaseViruses are intelligent. These co-passengers are seasoned travellers, having hitched rides for billions of years. But we take them for granted. This underestimation has led to a proliferation of zoonotic diseases (i.e. diseases that spread from animals to humans) over the last 30-odd years. At the time of writing this, there are 207,615 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, also called COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2, worldwide. Of these, 156 are in India. But these numbers will be dispatches from the past by the time this sentence ends. COVID-19 has disrupted the world as we know it. Man is no longer a social animal. Supply chains are crumbling, industries collapsing, elections are being postponed, sporting events called off and jobs guillotined. The debate about the zoonotic source of COVID-19 is ongoing, but chances are that it came from a reservoir of bats or pangolins. The frequency of zoonotic outbreaks and their proliferation⁠—whether malaria, Japanese encephalitis, Ebola, SARS, etc.⁠—are concurrent with increased habitat loss, ecosystem imbalance and poor urban planning. All compounded by faster spillover in a globalized world. ...
  • The COVID-19 Report: Gig economy, groundedPradip K. Saha
    The COVID-19 Report: Gig economy, groundedRajendra Singh is sitting inside his white Maruti Suzuki Wagon R, his seat reclined and his feet sticking out of the driver-side window. He’s watching a Hindi movie on his mobile phone, half of his face covered by a handkerchief. Every once in a while, he looks up at the device fixed on the windshield, […]
  • Surviving COVID-19: ‘You rip off the band-aid’Ashish K. Mishra
    Surviving COVID-19: ‘You rip off the band-aid’Saving lives is the topmost priority. So it is understandable that a lot of focus is on social distancing and isolation to stop the rapid growth of the novel coronavirus. Already, the number of infections outside China, where the virus originated, is peaking at an alarming rate. So much so that Europe is now being viewed as the new epicentre of the pandemic. But even as all of this has been happening, voices are starting to emerge on the impact of the coronavirus on the economy, and on companies. Public markets across the world are volatile, and depending on who you ask, you’ll get a version of hope or doom. Along with the aviation business which clearly is reeling from the frontal impact of travel bans, I think travel companies, many of whom are dependent on people moving around for work or leisure, are the worst hit. Last week, I reached out to one of the co-founders of a travel company, someone who has built a robust, differentiated business. “How are things?” I asked. This is what came back:
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