The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc in India. Not only did the country see a steep spike in cases – crossing 4 lakh new infections daily for days – but the mortality rate also increased sharply. Even now, as the number of new coronavirus cases is gradually going down, the death toll has remained consistently around 4,000 daily.
Several children were orphaned during the coronavirus second-wave in India, leaving them distraught and vulnerable. Celebrities like Sonu Sood and Priyanka Chopra even put out tweets urging the government to ensure free education for children who have lost their parents.
As hundreds of children across the country are faced with the twin crisis of loss of parents and lack of resources, many state governments stepped in to announce free aid for kids. Let us take a look at the various measures that have been announced by different states:
Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced that children who have lost both their parents to COVID-19 will get an aid of Rs 2,500 per month till they turn 25 years old, and expenses for their education will be borne by the Delhi government.
Karnataka: The Karnataka government has decided to rehabilitate children up to 18 years of age in case they are orphaned by the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Four circumstances have been identified which may leave children deprived of parental care -- if the father and mother both die of COVID-19, if both father and mother are hospitalised, if any one of them dies of COVID-19, or if one is dead and the other lives in a different area.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Jammu and Kashmir: Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has announced special scholarships for kids who lost their parents to the pandemic.
Chhattisgarh: Under the ‘Chhattisgarh Mahtari Dular Yojna’, the Chhattisgarh government will be bearing the cost of educating children who have lost their parents to COVID-19.
Madhya Pradesh: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced that the state government will provide aid worth Rs 5,000 per month to children orphaned due to COVID-19 and also provide free education and ration to them.
Andhra Pradesh: Andhra Chief Minister Jagan Reddy has announced fixed deposit accounts worth Rs 10 lakh for children orphaned by the coronavirus pandemic. Government officials have been directed to collaborate with banks and work out a financial package that would provide a steady income to the children till they are 25 years of age.
Jharkhand: The Jharkhand government has announced that it will rehabilitate children orphaned by COVID-19 and also guaranteed financial assistance to the caretakers.