THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 22 August 2020 Resurrecting the right to know (The Hindu)

ReleasFighting to win(Indian Express)

Mains Paper 2:Health 
Prelims level: COVID-19 symptoms 
Mains level: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health


  • The country’s coronavirus tollcrossed 50,000 on Monday. More than 28 lakh people have been infected by the pathogen. 
  • India is the world’s third-most COVID-19-affected country — in terms of mortalityand number of infections — after the US and Brazil. 

Declining positive rate:

  • But amid such dismalfactoids, there are also early signs of the country getting an upper hand in its struggle against the contagion. 
  • For the first time since May, the positivity rate — the percentage of the virus carriers amongst those tested — has begun to come down. 
  • This figure had touched a high of 9 per cent on August 9 and has been on a decline ever since — it currently stands at 8.7 per cent. 
  • It is also heartening that the infection rate has remained stable even as tests have been scaled up in most states. 
  • The number of new positive cases has remained between 60,000-70,000 for two weeks now — much longer than it has remained in any other range.

Temper optimism with caution:

  • There are, however, good reasons to temper optimismwith caution. A breakdown of the national-level data suggests that some states have more work to do than others. 
  • Delhi has seen a continuous decline in the number of active cases for more than a month: From a high of about 28,000 at the end of June, the number of active cases has fallen to a little over 7,000 this week. 
  • Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu remain COVID-19 hotspots but the two states have managed to check the speed of transmission by rampingup testing and shoring up medical amenities. 
  • But such alacrityhas been at a premium in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar and Telangana. 
  • Last week, Prime Minister pulled upthese states for not conducting adequatenumber of tests even though they have a high positivity rate. 
  • Moreover, most states continue to test only those who show COVID symptoms, or their close contacts. 
  • Given that a substantial number of coronavirus carriers are asymptomatic, random tests could give a truer picture of the spread of the infection. 
  • Such tests could substantiate, corroborateand even disprove the results of the recent serological surveys in Delhi, Mumbai and Pune, which indicate the number of people exposed to the virus could be much more than suggested by the data on confirmed infections.

Battle not over:

  • The pathogen will remain till there is a vaccine against it. 
  • In the past three weeks, COVID-19 clusters have resurfaced in countries that had flattened the transmission curve two months ago — France, Spain, the Netherlands, Australia, Germany and South Korea. 
  • Kerala — once the most successful state in containing the pandemic — has seen a spurt of cases in the past fortnight.
  • The experience of the past six months will, no doubt, offer valuable lessons in combatingthe virus in the coming days and weeks.
  • But the most important caveatremains: The coronavirus is unpredictable, and there can be no letting the guard down.


Prelims Questions:

Q.1)With reference to the Abscisic acid (ABA), consider the following statements:

1. It is a plant hormone.
2. ABA functions in many plant developmental processes, including seed and bud dormancy, the control of organ size and stomatal closure. 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C

Mains Questions:

Q.1) How COVID 19 impacted the vulnerable sections of the society? What are the challenges faced by them? What are the steps taken by the government to provide some relief?