Thinking about India

Diwi9

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Over the past couple of weeks as the news has been reporting the extreme surge of new Covid cases in India, I keep thinking about the mess of Long Covid in the wake of this surge. We are the privileged class that has access to communication networks. What about all the folks living in absolute destitution? How are the impoverished in the developing world going to manage with Long Covid?

I also keep thinking about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and their focus on disease. Will the foundation finally show up and support funding toward post-viral illnesses? I read today that the foundation has a whopping $51 billion in assets. Just a small fraction of that single foundation could change the lives of millions and millions of people.
 

pamojja

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What about all the folks living in absolute destitution? How are the impoverished in the developing world going to manage with Long Covid?
it feels really wrong because as you say a small amount of that money would change peoples lives.
I lived a considerable time in India, but a small amount of money in the case of India's 1.3 billion people would only be a drop of water in the ocean.

Already before covid impoverished Indians died daily without access to any health-care. That's why Mother Theresa founded Nirmal Hriday in Kalighat, Kolkata. To pick those dying on the streets up, give them a place for a more humane passing, and where possible nurse them to where they are able to life on their own again.

Those are the numbers of ailments Indian have died from since the beginning of covid a bit over a year ago (https://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/country-health-profile/india):

Coronary Heart Disease
2,155,151

Lung Disease
1,097,998

Stroke
946,111

Influenza and Pneumonia
825,981

Tuberculosis
564,610

Diarrhoeal diseases
548,822

Diabetes Mellitus
413,954

Low Birth Weight
404,968

Road Traffic Accidents
400,699

Kidney Disease
357,057

Liver Disease
353,945

Suicide
289,209

COVID-19
221,666


Alzheimers & Dementia
188,703

Birth Trauma
169,304

Hypertension
153,642

Oral Cancer
135,456

Rheumatic Heart Disease
130,167

Lung Cancers
119,621

Breast Cancer
108,147

Cervical Cancer
97,346

Drownings
85,700

Stomach Cancer
83,901

HIV/AIDS
83,202

Colon-Rectum Cancers
75,249

Peptic Ulcer Disease
74,434


So if one hypothetically volunteered at Nirmal Hriday for one's whole life - which I met some westerner doing, while voluneering there myself - one would theoretically have assisted 36 patients even before one met the first covid patient now. Still only a drop in the ocean, but every drop its worth.

Think not lightly of good, saying, "It will not come to me." Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good.

Dhammapada 122
 

Diwi9

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@pamojja - Thank you for sharing parts of your personal experience in India, especially helping those in dire need. I feel fairly confident that the number of people that have died as a result of Covid in India is under-represented by official numbers, at least in the beginning of the pandemic. How to count Covid deaths has been a difficult question to answer because those most vulnerable to death from it tend to have pre-existing conditions and access to testing was not available to many. Therefore, many deaths could have been attributed to the pre-existing conditions when in fact Covid was the accelerator. My guess is that we are now seeing higher numbers not only because Covid is spreading like wildfire, but that India has set up better protocols for tracking Covid and provided those on the frontlines with access to toolkits.

We now have access to vaccines, but we don't know how long they will be efficacious and we don't know how efficacious they will be toward mutated strains of Covid. Also, what a nightmare it is going to be to roll out vaccines in India, there probably just isn't enough vaccine available to slow what is happening down...if or until a vaccine with a more permanent efficacy is crafted.

I suspect that globally we will see a spike in suicides over the coming year if there is no treatment for Long Covid.
 

Diwi9

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Up to now, the Gates Foundation focused on its global mass vaccination program since this provides them the greatest profits. I wonder how their divorce will affect the future of the foundation. Maybe they have different plans?
This is true and for years models have shown that vaccines are one of the most impactful ways to spend donation dollars, so there is strong logic behind the Gates Foundation's efforts. That said, the world is going to see a new phase of chronic illness on a level no country is prepared for and its very prescient for our community to see if the world prioritizes research and assistance.
 

pamojja

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How to count Covid deaths has been a difficult question to answer because those most vulnerable to death from it tend to have pre-existing conditions and access to testing was not available to many.
I fear those who die on the streets of India are actually never counted, regardless of their cause of death. :(
But all just estimated from those who are.

30 years ago in Benares was told the poor actually don't get cremated in the ghats since fire-wood is expensive, but drowned with weights in the Ganges. Seems still to happen: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/19/hindu-bodies-ganges-india-pollution-narendra-modi

I can't imagine many people in India have formal training in how to swim.
India has a very long coastline. Last years I always went to one village on a South Indian beach. Just there every year many Indian tourists drown. Mostly in connection with alkohol, self-overestimation and no swimming skills.
 

Diwi9

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I fear those who die on the streets of India are actually never counted, regardless of their cause of death. :(
But all just estimated from those who are.
Unfortunately, this may be the biggest contributor to an undercount. I'm hoping that Long Covid will not be left behind, we shall see.

As for drowning, yes, intoxication seems like an obvious factor. I looked at this map and it's curious to see high drowning rates in Estonia, Latvia, and Belarus, while India is only moderate on the scale.

https://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/drownings/by-country/
 

Diwi9

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Okay folks, a bit of a distraction here about India's causes of death. Let's get back to the point of the OP which is about the real threat of Long Covid in developing nations and what the world response might be. Will our illness group continue to be ignored, or will this looming chronic and debilitating illness crisis ignite change?
 

pamojja

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These numbers are hard to process, mentally.

85,000 drowned last year in India?
I looked at this map and it's curious to see high drowning rates in Estonia, Latvia, and Belarus, while India is only moderate on the scale.
Due to the sheer population size of India, any numbers of the whole population are really hard to process. But looked at from the perspective of per million of population turn moderate. Personally don't believe India will ever reach the more than 10 times higher death-rate per million many western countries already reached. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

Okay folks, a bit of a distraction here about India's causes of death. Let's get back to the point of the OP which is about the real threat of Long Covid in developing nations and what the world response might be. Will our illness group continue to be ignored, or will this looming chronic and debilitating illness crisis ignite change?
Please consider the likelihood that in developing countries long covid sadly will be completely ignored, as all those multiples dying of other causes before and after. And that this problem will become much more apparent as one of the west, where there are 10 times higher death-rates. Developing countries have just to many other unattented deathly diseases already. Many already easily preventable with available drugs, but lack of money even for that.
 

Hipsman

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Back in 80's, when ME got it's psychosomatic stigma, there was no internet, no patient communities and no advocacy groups(at least I didn't hear about them). I think now it would be much much harder for psychos to pull CFS trick that they did in 80's, but we still need to do our best to spread the word about this illess so that people know they are not just lazy/psychologically stressed after covid or whatever...
 

Diwi9

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Back in 80's, when ME got it's psychosomatic stigma, there was no internet, no patient communities and no advocacy groups(at least I didn't hear about them). I think now it would be much much harder for psychos to pull CFS trick that they did in 80's, but we still need to do our best to spread the word about this illess so that people know they are not just lazy/psychologically stressed after covid or whatever...
Yes, the crisis will be much more public because of access to social media. And, because Long Covid is directly attached to a global pandemic, it automatically has more status.