There are two aspects to news. Knowing the Headline and understanding the intricacies of it. We at The Connectere focus on both. While The First Forum edition gives a brief about the headlines, The Weekly Analysis Edition is meant to educate the reader on what do various news mean and what are their intricacies. This initiative is meant to educate the reader on how to understand the important news. In the Fourth Edition we are covering the following news:

1. Why is Italy’s Coronavirus fatility rate so high?
2. Is it the end of Shaheen Bagh protest?
3. India locked down for 21 days to beat Corona
4. IPL profits to go for a six amidst COVID 19 pandemic?
5. Targetting fellow citizens from the Northeast is unacceptable
6. How is Covid-19 interfering with Geopolitics?
7. Capital Punishment – Not an answer to any crime

By Ankita, Divyansh and Mehak

Why is Italy’s Coronavirus fatality rate so high?

For weeks now, the daily briefings by Italy’s civil protection agency have been providing grim updates on the number of people killed by COVID-19, the highly infectious coronavirus, deepening a sense of gloom in a country that has become the deadliest center of the pandemic. Despite a series of near-draconian measures gradually rolled out to halt the spread of the virus, including a nationwide lockdown and the shutdown of all non-essential businesses, Italy has been unable to “flatten the curve” – slowing the spread of the contagion in a bid to prevent an already overburdened healthcare system from being overrun.

Reasons for Italy’s alarming mortality rate majorly are:

  1. In Italy, 85.6 percent of those who have died were over 70, according to the National Institute of Health’s (ISS) latest report. With 23 percent of Italians over 65 years old, the Mediterranean country has the second-oldest population in the world after Japan – and observers believe age distribution could also have played a role in raising the fatality rate.
  2. Italy dealt with this problem by only testing those who already exhibited symptoms such as a fever and a dry cough. South Korea had the kits and the means to conduct more than 10,000 tests a day. Germany followed a similar model and its death rate began to drop once even the mild COVID-19 infections began being counted.
  3. Italian doctors on the coronavirus front lines are working without adequate protective equipment, according to reports, exposing themselves to great risk. Already, 14 of them have died, and a total of 3,700 nurses and doctors have been infected while on duty.

The country’s latest tally reported a total of 6,078 deaths from 63,928 infections, with a world-leading fatality rate of more than 9 percent. In contrast, in China, where the outbreak originated, the mortality rate stands at 3.8 percent. In Germany, which has reported more than 24,000 cases and 94 deaths, it is at 0.3.

Is it the end of Shaheen Bagh protest?

Nearly 100 days after the Shaheen Bagh protests began, the sit-in agitation came to an end on Tuesday, with the Delhi police and paramilitary forces clearing the site on Tuesday morning. It was the longest-running protest against a new citizenship law- Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizen (NRC) and National Population Register. The cops reached the site at around 7 am. The protestors refused to budge despite repeated persuasion and force had to be used to clear up the site, according to an official. The official further stated that large gatherings are banned due to Section 144 being imposed in the capital. Police has detained nine people including three men and six women. After this, Delhi Police tightened security at the protest site under Section 144 imposed in the capital due to coronavirus pandemic.

In this situation of worldwide pandemic, it was the need of the hour. Any situation that would involve such public gathering poses a nationwide threat and cannot be overlooked. But is this going to end the protest, or the protestors will be able to maintain the momentum, as the protestors plan to continue it online.

  1. Firstly, the momentum was so far being maintained which could have swayed the authorities as the protestors were determined and not ready to leave their spots which maybe could have worked for them.
  2. However, on the other hand authorities did not really pay any heed to it. The protest would not guarantee if there will be any changes in the act. There were no such signs that the authorities would act on it actively or even ever do it.
  3. In a situation of global crisis, keeping aside everything else, ending the protest for now was the only appropriate decision for the benefit of all the people as a whole.

The protestors felt that their hard work could go in vain if they give in and ended it. One of the protestors even said that they could rather die due to the virus rather than suffering in camps and dying. Even if the protest was continued the returns were decreasing. The protestors can however still resume their protest later once the virus has died down. But in the wake of the pandemic putting it on a hold was the only option fair for all. However, whether the protest will be able to get its momentum back or not or will it completely die down, only time shall tell.

India locked down for 21 days to beat Corona

India might look like a success story at first glance, being the second most populous country and relatively showing such low corona cases. But most likely they are masking a deeper problem. The government on Wednesday announced a total lock- down across the whole country to protect against coronavirus. Social distancing and isolation are the only way to safeguard against the virus. But as the picture may show is it really a quick move or rather has it been late already?

Punjab CM Captain Amrinder Singh revealed 94,000 NRIs returned to the state while only 30,000 of them are in isolation. Which shows that the other 60,000 still are untraceable and were freely engaging with so many other people all this while. It is next to impossible to even track half the people who have entered the country in past few weeks. Even after witnessing horrendous situation of countries like Italy and China, India was late to act upon it. Still it’s better late than never. The lock-down could prevent further spread.

However, not just social distancing but there are other problems that pose a threat and have been part of the problem so far and will continue to be if not acting upon fast.

  1. Lack of testing-There has been a lack of corona testing kits. India has one of the lowest testing rates compared to other countries which should set the alarming bells ringing.
  2. Lack of infrastructure-As such a smaller number of tests have been carried it, it is quite possible that many positive cases are still unidentified. It could be because the authorities fear that under-resourced and uneven public health system could be swamped by patients. India could be buying time to stock up on testing kits and add isolation and hospital beds.
  3. Insufficient funds- The lockdown risks worsening an economy that’s already set to grow at the slowest pace in 11 years. In such a scenario does the government have sufficient funds to fight corona. The emergency or disaster management fund at the disposal wouldn’t be enough. So, how is the government going to cope with the funds needed. Public’s non-cooperation-Withal, cooperation of the people is another issue that the authorities are facing problem in tackling with. Even after the nation-wide lock-down hundreds of people are still walking on streets towards their hometowns which defeats the whole purpose causing major threats and proliferating it across other cities and villages.

Not only that panic buying is another thing that is causing a chaos for the authorities. As the World Health Organization (WHO) has also warned though social distancing is extremely important that they being defensive measures they would help in buying time and is a way to reduce the spread but there is a need to implement tactics such as isolating and caring for every confirmed case, as well as tracing and quarantining all of the patient’s close contacts. It will only be possible if the above stated problems could be dealt with. Otherwise this pandemic is going to cost the country immensely in every aspect.

IPL profits to go for a six amidst COVID19 Pandemic?

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) postponed the 13th edition of the T20 (twenty20) league until 15 April, with no clarity of a new start date and possibility of cancellation. The value of Indian Premier League (IPL) ecosystem is expected to fall 10-15% between $700 million and $1,000 million, if the annual sporting event gets cancelled this year due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to an analysis released by Duff & Phelps.

The firm has broken down the impact to two likely scenarios.

  1. In the first scenario, Duff & Phelps stated the possibility of the T20 league getting cancelled if the current situation persists. Cancellation of the league will have an economic impact as a gap of one year may hurt sponsorship revenues in the next. This would lead to a value erosion of 10%-15% for the IPL ecosystem value.
  2. In another scenario of a truncated IPL, with the number of matches reduced to half as more than 15 days would be lost by mid of April, a high possibility as per the BCCI. In this case, the value of the IPL ecosystem will go down by 3%-5% estimated between $200 million and $350 million.
  3. The revenue loss impact on account of lack of gate receipts however is negligible on the IPL value. In fact, it might benefit the broadcasters if the shutdown persists and more people are forced to spend time at home, thus increasing the television audience for IPL, though none of the stakeholders including the broadcasters prefer this option.

Duff & Phelps, a corporate finance firm, had last year valued the IPL ecosystem at $6.8 billion. The analysis does not reflect the current value of the IPL ecosystem, which would have been estimated by considering the factors available after the completion of IPL 2020.

Targeting fellow citizens from the Northeast is unacceptable

The outbreak of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has led to uncertainty, forced people to reshape their lives, strained the health care system and disrupted economic livelihoods. In all of this, citizens are victims. But there is one other consequence, for which a set of citizens have been responsible — the spurt in racist attacks, particularly against fellow citizens from the Northeast.

A man on a motorbike, most recently, spat on a young woman from Manipur, in Delhi’s Vijay Nagar, called her “corona”, before speeding away. This follows other incidents, in Kolkata, Pune, and other parts of the country, where those from the Northeast have been called “corona” or “coronavirus”.

  1. Prejudice against those from the Northeast has been a deeply disturbing, unfortunate, and unacceptable feature in the past. This has often taken the form of slurs, physical attacks and stigmatization.
  2. The perpetrators seem to think — the virus originated in China; the Chinese are responsible; those from the Northeast “look like” the Chinese; and so, they are responsible and must be attacked.
  3. This line of thinking and mindset reflect deep ignorance at many levels, and outright racism. This must be condemned in the strongest terms possible.

Racism is unacceptable at any time. And at a moment when the country must come together to battle the pandemic, to stigmatize an entire group of fellow citizens because of their physical features is criminal.

How is COVID-19 interfering with Geopolitics?

While the health challenges and economic consequences are potentially devastating, the political consequences are harder to foresee – but might be the most long-lasting. In Japan, the handling of a COVID-19 outbreak on a cruise liner led to transmission of the virus into the Japanese population and may even result in the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics. In other countries such as in Iran, a lax response by the country’s healthcare system led to a loss of containment of the epidemic, which is now spreading to the rest of the Middle East. The lockdown of towns in Northern Italy is likely too late, with the spread of the virus from Italy already underway across Europe. Voters may not be kind to politicians who fail in their basic duty to protect citizens.

We need to be honest about the scale of the challenges ahead. If all goes well, we may have the first testing of a vaccine in people in the coming weeks, but that is a very optimistic timescale. Manufactured vaccines that are safe and effective are many months and years away – 2021 and beyond. There is a need for an integrated response, meaning a public health response that includes drugs and therapeutics, not just the development of vaccines – advice that was echoed by Richard Hatchett from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI).

Already the coronavirus epidemic has had a greater economic effect than either of any of similar predecessors. The fragility of the global economy, which has high levels of indebtedness and asset bubbles, is a legacy of the way in which the 2008 global credit crisis was managed rather than solved. As pointed out in the World Economic Forum’s Report, there are a number of tipping points in the economic system and the economic consequence of a shock to the global system is likely to be a correction. It is important to contain and prepare to mitigate further outbreaks, particularly in countries with struggling or under-resourced health systems. We should work collectively to support these countries with new drugs and vaccines and we should not leave anyone behind. Wondering, why? Because of enlightened self-interest in preventing and controlling ongoing infection and spread, but also to take an equitable approach to world health.

Capital punishment- Not an answer to any crime

Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is a government-sanctioned practice whereby a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime.

Four men convicted in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case were executed on 20th March 2020 almost 7 years later. In the last few months, all four convicts filed petitions in the Supreme Court in a bid to reduce their sentences to life imprisonment. But the top court rejected their petitions, leaving the men with no other legal recourse. A last-minute appeal to have the death penalties commuted was also rejected hours before the executions. The victim’s mother and father were satisfied that justice was finally served. But was it actually justice served? In this case probably yes capital punishment did seem like a fair deal considering the time that has already passed since this crime took place. But is capital punishment a solution to rape and does it ensure women safety?

  1. Even after 2013 when anti-Rape bill was introduced which included harsh punishments for the rapists still there has not been any decline in these heinous rape cases. Rather they have become gorier. The UN also called on all nations to stop the use of capital punishment or put a moratorium on it, a day after Nirbhaya convicted were hanged in India. The International Commission of Jurists also condemned the execution and urged the Indian government to abolish the death penalty.
  2. An important principle of criminal jurisprudence is that it is the certainty of punishment, not its severity, that deters crime. Many rape cases are not properly investigated, and the conviction rate is low.
  3. The possibility of death penalty may actually prompt a rapist to kill the victim to ensure that there is no evidence especially because most rapists are known to the victims. So, capital punishment turns him into a rapist and a murder.

The aim of a modern system of justice should be reformation, not retribution. Capital punishment is not known to be a deterrent for crime. Nor will its hasty imposition improve the plight of women. Long-term solutions like prevention and protection mechanisms need to be adopted. Better policing and better community services for young people are the need of the hour for all of us. The older judiciary system is outdated and needs to be completely reframed.

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