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Omicron cases rise to 1,892 in India, Maharashtra worst-hit



With 192 new cases of highly transmissible Covid variant Omicron detected in the last 24 hours, India’s Omicron tally on Tuesday rose to 1,892 cases.

With 127 Omicron infected people discharged in the last 24 hours, a total 766 people have recovered from the new strain so far.

Maharashtra and Delhi continue to be the worst-hit states with this new variant.

Among total 23 states and union territories that have reported the Omicron infection so far, Maharashtra tops the list with 568 cases of this variant. Of them, 259 patients have been discharged as per the health ministry data on Tuesday.

The national capital, Delhi has the second highest cases of Omicron infection at 382. However, 57 of them have been discharged from the hospital. Delhi is followed by Kerala with 185 Omicron cases. The Union health ministry on Tuesday morning said that the Omicron infection has so far spread into 23 states and UTs.

Among other states, Rajasthan has detected 174 Omicron infection with 88 discharged so far. Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have so far reported 152 and 121 cases of Omicron respectively.

Telangana continues with 67 Omicron patients. In Karnataka, 64 people so far have been detected with Omicron infection while the number of infection remains 63 in Haryana and 37 and 20 cases respectively in Odisha and West Bengal. Andhra Pradesh also continues with 17 Omicron patients so far.

However, the Omicron case count continues in single digit for Madhya Pradesh at nine and Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand at eight cases each. Goa has reported four more cases of Omicron taking the tally to five. Chandigarh and Jammu & Kashmir also continue with three cases each. Andaman and Nicobar Islands also continue with two cases so far. Meanwhile, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh, Manipur and Punjab continue with one case of this variant each so far.


Mumbai News: ‘Won’t return to JJ hospital,’ say senior doctors who resigned following protest of resident doctors




“We will not resume work at Sir Jamshetji Jeejeebhoy Hospital even if all the issues are resolved,” said Dr Tatayrao Lahane, the former dean of the hospital and Dr Ragini Parekh, head of the ophthalmology department, and the other honorary doctors who resigned on Thursday. Further, they have also demanded an enquiry against the hospital dean and strict action against her.

The hospital dean, Dr Pallavi Saple, has sought an explanation from Dr Parekh, on the appointment of Dr Sumeet Lahane, the son of Dr Lahane, who was allowed to perform surgeries in the department.

This comes after a three-member committee headed by Dr Sanjay Surase, medical superintendent, submitted its investigative report against Dr Sumeet Lahane.

“The report submitted to the dean reveals that the committee has sought an explanation from Dr Ragini Parekh, HoD, on the appointment of Dr Sumeet Lahane and also asked her to clarify three points, based on documents submitted by resident doctors as proof,” said Dr Saple.

Report submitted by the investigative committee is biased: Dr Lahane

“We have been serving J J Hospital and patients for the last 36 years and have done more than lakhs of surgeries and operations. But we did not expect to be humiliated by resident doctors and the hospital dean. All of us have resigned and will not be part of J J Hospital any further. The report submitted by the investigative committee is biased, as they have not asked for our version and we have the right to tell our side of the issue,” Dr Tatyarao Lahane said.

Meanwhile, the deadlock between resident and senior doctors entered the third day on Friday. The Maharashtra State Resident Doctors Association (MARD) is threatening to go on a state-wide indefinite strike if their demands are not met.

According to Dr Shubham Soni, MARD president, J J Hospital, resident doctors have alleged that Dr Lahane and Dr Parekh had been running the ophthalmology department ‘dictatorially’ and in a way that clearly violated the guidelines issued by the National Medical Commission at multiple levels. 

Resident doctors’ protest

Resident doctors in the ophthalmology department say that they have been dealing with several issues, such as not getting hands-on experience with surgery, minimal academic and research activity.

The report of the investigative committee said that Dr Sumeet Lahane was performing cataract surgeries and was also looking at routine OPD. If a government letter or order had been issued, asking him to perform surgeries and examine patients, a photocopy of the order had to be submitted. The third point raised by the committee was that a criminal case could be filed against Drs Sumeet Lahane and Ragini Parekh, as it was a legal offence for outsiders to perform patient examinations, surgeries, and other patient care work, without an order.

“We have raised these points with Dr Parekh and sought a detailed explanation and asked why no case should be registered against Dr Sumeet Lahane,” Dr Saple added.

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Bill to allow Sikhs to ride without bike helmets in California




 Senators in California voted in favour of a bill that exempts Sikhs from wearing a safety helmet when riding a motorcycle.

The Senate Bill 847, authored by Senator Brian Dahle cleared the state senate this week with a 21-8 vote margin, and will now move to the Assembly.

“Freedom of religion is a core foundation of this country. We, as Americans, have the right to freely express our religion and I believe that right should equally extend to everyone. Any law that limits the ability to express one’s religion, goes against what this country is all about,” Dahle said in a statement after presenting the bill on the senate floor.

“Exempting those who wear turbans or patkas from wearing helmets is a simple way to ensure that everyone’s religious freedoms are protected,” he added.

According to 2021 American Community Survey estimates, 211,000 Sikhs live in California, which is nearly half of all Sikhs living in the US.

The State Senate was told that as of now, no helmet exists in the market that will accommodate a turban or a patka, but according to members of the Sikh community, a turban is a good enough protection.

Currently, 18 states and Washington D.C. have a universal helmet law for all riders. 29 states require helmets for specified riders, generally riders under a certain age (usually 18 or 21).

Only Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire have no motorcycle helmet laws.

“Although other countries and our own military make accommodations for Sikhs’ deep beliefs, out of the US states that require helmets, none has exemptions for Sikhs or any other group based on religious practice,” a statement from Dahle’s office read.

This question of helmets for Sikhs has also been debated and considered in other countries, like Canada and the UK.

In Canada, Sikhs are exempt from motorcycle helmet laws in several provinces including Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario.

Among the supporters of the bill were the Legendary Sikh Riders, the Sikh Legends of America and the Sikh Saints Motorcycle Club.

According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 5,500 motorcyclists died in 2020, and more than 180,000 were treated in emergency departments for crash injuries.

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BIZARRE! Pune student scores the perfect 35 in all subjects at Class 10 board exam




Mumbai: There are those who get more than 90% in the board exams and still crib about not scoring high enough. Then there are those who are just happy to have scored enough marks to get passed. But what if someone scores the exact marks needed to clear the exam, not a point less not a point more? They would consider themselves to be the luckiest person on the planet. Vaibhav More, a student from Junnar taluka in Pune, is one of them.

As the state education board declared the Class 10 exam results on Friday, Vaibhav got the most peculiar marksheet – one with 35 marks in each of the subjects, the bare minimum required for passing the exam. He couldn’t believe it, and neither could anyone else. “Bhari, na (Awesome, isn’t it)” is his reaction when asked about the amusing scorecard.

Son of a farm labourer couple at the tiny Bori Khurd village situated 93 km north of Pune, Vaibhav doesn’t really like to study and was expecting to fail the test. “I did prepare for the exam but didn’t have much expectations. I was astonished to see 35 in each of the subjects. I haven’t seen anyone with such a mark sheet. My friends, too, are surprised,” says the delighted student.

The 16-year-old says that his teacher and mother were both relieved as they didn’t have much hope. His father, on the other hand, was far from amused. “He yelled at me as he wanted me to score more,” said Vaibhav.

When asked about his son’s bizarre feat, Krushna More, the father, shot a rather probing question. “Did he actually get those marks, or was he passed through condonation?”

While the condonation or grace marks, awarded to students who miss the passing score by a few points, seems to be the most likely explanation behind the improbably neat result, it must take special skill, or luck, to muster just enough marks to benefit from this provision in as many as six subjects.

Vaibhav said that he never had much affinity for education as he struggled to understand what was taught in the classroom. He particularly abhorred Mathematics. To make matters worse, his school was shut for more than a year due to the Covid-induced lockdown. He credits his elder sister, a Bachelor of Computer Science (BCS), to help him study for the exam and get across the line.

While he doesn’t spend much much time studying, Vaibhav helps his parents with farm work and plays Cricket and Kabaddi in his spare time. He is fascinated by electronic equipments and often fasten and unfasten them and he is now planning to pursue some vocational course at the nearby Industrial Training Institute (ITI), though he isn’t very sure about it. 

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