In continuation with the ongoing discussions on the Rural Realities around the country, the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi organized a Panel Discussion on “Rural Realities | Telangana & Andhra Pradesh | Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages” on May 14, 2021, as the second wave of coronavirus pandemic is engulfing the length and breadth of our country, India, and hitting the heartland of our country which is the rural areas.
The chair of the session, Prof. Prakash Babu, Professor, Dean, School of Medical Sciences, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh set the tone of the discussion by sharing his views that the COVID-19 pandemic has reached a stage of community spread in both rural and urban areas breaking all barriers of gender, age affecting a large population.
As per the report, there are more than 39.6 lakh people in rural areas infected with the COVID-19 pandemic in the second wave which is much more than the peak infection of the first wave in September 2020 resulting in rural places being affected equally in the second wave.
The issues which have widened the second wave crisis in rural areas are ignorance, malnutrition, and deficiencies. Since the symptoms of the first wave and second wave have been very different and difficult to be attributed to COVID and hence diagnosing it has become a complicated issue in rural areas. Also in rural areas, people lack awareness of the disease and monitoring symptoms associated with it.
The younger population in rural areas is much more affected. The lack of vaccination facilities in rural areas is also a major concern. The majority of people below 45 years are asymptomatic resulting in the high spread of the pandemic. People in rural areas are losing their lives due to a lack of minimum basic facilities.