Prannoy Roy's Townhall With Joseph Stiglitz, Deepak Chopra

PUBLISHED ON: April 24, 2020 | Duration: 1 hr, 9 min, 59 sec

The countrywide lockdown has succeeded in significantly slowing down the spread of coronavirus. NDTV's Prannoy Roy talked to top experts including Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan, Nobel peace laureate Kailash Satyarthi, wellness guru Dr Deepak Chopra, and discussed what more can be done to insulate India against the economic and medical effects of the pandemic. In the discussion, Mr Stiglitz recommended that direct payments should be made to keep workers with the firms. Ms Swaminathan said WHO is trying to procure new test kits developed by a company which developed the test for TB. Mr Satyarthi discussed the problems faced by the children of the country because of the virus.

Here are the highlights of Dr Prannoy Roy's Coronavirus Townhall:

The lockdown is working. At the peak, the virus was doubling every 3 days. Now, the number of cases are doubling every 10 days. Reassuring, but can't be taken for granted.

Gujarat is a worry. It has overtaken Delhi and has become the state with the second highest coronavirus numbers. Delhi was way worse than Gujarat in late March, and then the Gujarat bump took place.

Gujarat vs Delhi: Data shows Gujarat has a higher infection rate than Delhi over the last few days.

Joseph Stiglitz Says

-Leadership in the US has been disappointing in dealing with coronavirus.
-We have a President who does not believe in science.
-We need to provide assistance to emerging markets through international institutions.
-There should be no interest on payments.

All about the types of coronavirus tests for different stages of infection.

From infection to recovery stage of coronavirus, the right type of tests of paramount importance.

Soumya Swaminathan Says

-This is a new virus with no pre-existing test kits. 2 kits: Molecular and Serological test kits. Everyone is rushing to produce.
-WHO is trying to give a mark of quality to some of them. We have approved 8 molecular kits. The best thing would be to verify the results from a reputable lab in the country and then use them.
-The ICMR is assessing quality of new diagnostic tools. Wrong results can lead to wrong actions.
-We need a test with high accuracy.
-The company that developed test for TB has developed a kit for coronavirus which can be used by India.
-WHO is trying to give a mark of approval to some of those (COVID-19 testing) kits, which are of good quality.

We are failing our children as a society and this is the saga of hundreds of thousands of children who are trapped somewhere due to lockdown - in different factories, mines, brick kilns: Kailash Satyarthi

Lessons from Italy: Despite high-quality healthcare system, Italy suffered due to a delayed lockdown.

Early lockdown helped India limit the spread of COVID-19 and avoid over-straining its medical capacity.

Deepak Chopra Says

-All the people at risk of COVID-19 have chronic inflammation.
-You can reduce chronic inflammation through Yoga, deep breathing and Pranayam.
-Overactive and under-active immune system is not good, we need an optimal immune system.

Experts suggest repeated lockdowns may be needed to keep the number of serious COVID-19 cases below India's hospital capacity.

Joseph Stiglitz Says

-Need to help emerging markets in developing economies through international institutions.
-We live in an inter-dependent world, no country is safe from economic consequences of coronavirus pandemic.
-Optimistic that there will not be an economic collapse.

Healthcare infrastructure in India vs Italy

Apart from keeping coronavirus growth rate under control, lockdown helps ramp up protective equipment and hospital capacity.

Need to put a stay on all loan repayments. There should be no interest for the interim. It should be like that the time stopped so that you don't end up paying interest on interest. Big banks can afford this. In 2008, many governments gave a lot of support: Joseph Stiglitz

Kailash Satyarthi Says

-This is a serious problem that should be addressed urgently with compassion. A girl working in Telangana died of hunger on her way back home to Chhattisgarh.

-We are failing our children as a society. Children working at mines, brick kilns, no one knows about them, in what condition they are in.

-The employers ran away, abandoning these children. The children were provided food by the police. Else they would have died. Our activists could not reach them since factories are locked from the outside.

-I am writing to PM Modi. I have been in an ideological paradox since the death of the girl. This time I am requesting him that punitive measures should be lifted for employers of child workers for 3 months. So that these employers release the children for them to return home. It is a controversial suggestion but life is more important.

-UP ferried children from Kota, then why can't they bring back children who are stuck for work.

Dr Deepak Chopra Says

-People with chronic diseases like heart problems, hypertension have chronic inflammation. They are more susceptible to COVID-19. The one who are extremely sick have acute inflammation.

-Anytime we stimulate the Vagus nerve, it counteracts inflammation. Can be done through electronic devices, yoga, pranayam and meditation and deep breathing. We are putting together a programme for this.

-You need optimal immune system. You can do that by getting good sleep, exercise, managing stress, learning emotional resilience, plant based diet.

-Can change population of genes in your guts by regulating your diet.

Joseph Stiglitz On What India Should DO After Lockdown

Maybe the principle emerging in the US and the UK may be helpful. Direct payments to companies to keep workers on is important. The US did poorly but Denmark did well. We misappropriated large amounts of money. Some companies got huge tax cuts. Now we had to bail them out. Small firms are in more need of assistance.

Soumya Swaminathan On Vaccine

-Vaccines will require unprecedented scientific commitment. Everyone should get the drugs and vaccines regardless of their ability to pay.

-Vaccine's trial is in stage 2, going to stage 3. I am optimistic.
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