Hafta letters: Containing coronavirus, tech solutions, variety in NL podcasts

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

WrittenBy:NL Team
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Hi guys,

I am writing to you again to praise your recent content. You have somehow, despite minimal resources, become a beacon of news in the true sense of the word, ramping up ground reports. Newsance critiquing the media, along with disbursing information and busting misinformation, is brilliant. This and pieces by people like Vivek Kaul have made Newslaundry a one-stop shop for all news! I think Mehraj’s interviews are absolutely brilliant. I think he’s the NL candidate for a Seen and the Unseen kind of longform interview podcast, and is just a brilliant addition to the team. He puts forth complex ideas by breaking them down into simple practical points of view, which is awesome.

Please fix the app as I am still having issues listening to Hafta on the website using an Apple device with constant timeouts on Soundcloud. Also, your paywall does not work as many friends have said that they are able to access content without paying. So, overall I think delivery has to be the next focus.

I don’t think kisi aur ki tarakki dekhke itni khushi hoti hai jitna NL ki dekhke milta hai. I have been a subscriber for almost three years now, and finally I can proudly call myself a NL subscriber. It feels like I am vested in you guys’ success as so many other subscribers are -- which is what is required for a subscription-based model.

Finally, I wanted to recommend Vox’s Youtube channel and its explained series on Netflix. Also the Dirty Money docu series on Netflix. Sorry if this has already been recommended as I saw Newsance use one of Vox’s clips on the pandemic.


Ayush Ayyangar


Hi all,

I am not a medical person. I am only using trusted sources to come to this judgement.

Manisha said people who want to be tested should be tested. And there was a lament that there are not enough testing centres.

All the resource material I have read says that there’s no treatment other than isolation. So, not sure what treatment Mehraj was talking about.

I have attached links of not just Indian but international publications.

Here are some facts that you can correct me if you have facts that counter this:

  • There is no cure for the virus.

  • The method being used right now is self-isolation and a hope that your body immunises itself and cures itself in 14-28 days.

  • It has been found that the older generation, over 70 years, with weaker immune systems or people with compromised immune systems can die at higher rates.

Questions one should ask:

  • Is there anything to gain by testing yourself?

  • Considering there is no cure, testing only affirms your belief.

  • If you do not have a compromised immune system or you are not older, are you not obstructing the person who might not survive if they are not tested urgently.

My belief is that if you suspect you have the virus, self-isolate. If you don’t trust the Indian health ministry, use guidance from the CDC, WHO and others, but report yourself to the authorities.

I understand the paranoia but we also need to be humane. There are many stories from Italy and China where because of the focus on coronavirus, other patients were neglected and left to die. This is a major concern in our country. I am not making a case only for the one percent of the people who could die from coronavirus. I am also making the case for those who will be neglected due to the lack of resources.

Our resources need to be used judiciously.

There is a lot of misinformation being spread, but the CDC, WHO, NHS, the Indian health ministry are all saying the same thing:

Symptoms: Fever, shortness of breath, and continuous cough.

Treatment: Isolation.

Hope this helps. I’d love to be corrected as I can help others with the information.

Best regards,

Dhiraj Bhandary


Hello Newslaundry team,

I am a year-old subscriber. I like your work, especially podcasts, as I am too lazy to read. I always keep waiting and checking your website from Wednesday to hear new podcast episodes. As I don’t want to miss any names, I want to say I love the entire NL team, for it’s a team that makes work perfect, not a single person. Even if I don’t agree with all points you make on Hafta, I always like to hear different opinions and discussions on a topic with different viewpoints.

Sometime ago, all your podcasts (except The Awful and Awesome) were talking about the same issues which felt too repetitive but I notice improvement in recent podcasts as they are touching different subjects. Please keep it this way or improve more by adding more different topics.

As coronavirus is a hot topic and because on the last Hafta Manisha was complaining about doctors not testing each one, I just want to make a comment and provide some information.

Apart from South Korea, no country is currently able to do a test for coronavirus for whoever wishes it. At the moment, doctors have to identify potential patients rather than test each person because of the limited number of test kits and infrastructure. This is not a good situation and I personally don't like it, but at least this will ensure care for people who actually need it. In Italy, doctors did the same; they didn’t test for coronavirus one patient who had had pneumonia for four to five days because they hadn’t visited China, and now they the disease is widespread in Italy and EU, and some doctors have died of it as well.

I live in Germany. Here, if you have symptoms of corona or flu, you cannot visit a doctor. You have to call a helpline and self-isolate for 14 days. The authorities then send someone to check up on you and take your blood samples for testing. Only if you face breathing problems will they admit you, otherwise it’s only self-isolation. Developed countries like Italy, France and Germany failed to react and handle the spread of coronavirus in time. In that sense, at least our government’s efforts are good. Or maybe it’s sheer luck that we have very few cases in India so far as compared to other countries.

Note about coronavirus: Keep a distance from other people and wash your hands often. I went to Vietnam at the peak of the coronavirus outbreak for a whole week – second week of February – and followed the same instructions. I am coronavirus free until now.

I have some technical suggestions for the better management of subscriber groups on messaging platforms. Currently, you are using Whatsapp group chat and have different groups, but I think there is a better app (and website) called Discord. It is a gamer app where one can create different channels in a single group and people can then chat on a channel related to that particular topic.

If you give it a try, it would be a much better alternative to manage all your groups in a single group. For example, you can create channels for each podcast or you can create channels for each region and people can then go to suitable channels to communicate with you. And as group manager, you can broadcast about new articles or podcasts on the announcement channels. The app and its basic features are free, so it would be a good idea to try it.

Keep doing the good work and take care.



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