Links to COVID-19 eBook

Thanks to those who responded in a variety of ways to the eBook COVID-19. So far I had not provided the links to the book. In this post I am providing them.

There is a global link to be paid in US dollars or other currencies given below.

The second is a link for purchase in India and to be paid in Indian Rupees given below.

These links would make it convenient to those who want to buy or share this information.

The feedback that I am getting from those who have read this eBook is that it is comprehensive, and would help a vast audience who are are starved for facts on this disease.

So share freely to those who might benefit from this book as well ordering a personal copy for those who really want to know more about this disease.

Rajaratnam Abel

COVID-19 Free ebook available

By God’s grace, I was able to release my latest ebook on Amazon last night.

There are two steps you need to complete before downloading the free ebook

You need to create an Amazon account. It just involves providing your email id or mobile number and password.

You need to then download a free kindle reader from Goggle play store

Then click on the link below

Should you have any problems please let me know on

Rajaratnam Abel

How COVID-19 spreads in public places

Almost 100 people in Ohio were infected with coronavirus after man ...

Just a look at that diagram of how COVID-19 spreads and I don’t have to write one word.

Meeting places primarily air-conditioned ones are a prime places where COVID -19 spreads very fast to large numbers.

When countries and government advice people not to gather in large numbers, this picture explains the reason behind such orders.

It is safer to obey such orders than trying to fight for rights or privileges.

Every large gathering even outside has the risk of widely spreading this disease.

A young man took every precaution for a number of months. One day he went to buy a second pair of spects which he did not need and was in an optician’s air-conditioned office for about 15 minutes where there were a few others waiting as well.

Within a few days he was down with COVID-19.

He says, don’t even give the least chance to the virus. It will attack.

The wife of a leading doctor in Chennai did not leave her house for 4 months. Her only risk factor was that her car driver bought her provisions.

She got the disease and died a few days later.

The driver was tested and he was positive but asymptomatic.

Let’s keep safe. We do not know who will be the next victim.

In my last blog, I indicated that my e-book COVID-19 is ready for pre-order.

I am thankful to God and the couple who have started the ball rolling by ordering the first two.

The final editing and formatting processes have been completed and the e-book should be available in Amazon in a few days’ time.

Take care. Stay safe.

Rajaratnam Abel

COVID-19 is available for pre-order

This book is now slated to be available on August 25, 2020. The final processes of editing and formatting will be completed by them.

It is now available for pre order.

The purpose of publishing this book is to share simple knowledge on COVID-19 that would be understood by the ordinary lay public.

Therefore I would like to see this widely disseminated. As soon as it is formally released, then I would make it available for free download from

So, I do not expect friendS and relatives who are in my contact list who receive these messages to pre order.

They would definitely get the information for the free download.

Please feel free to share With others who might benefit from this.

It is available For Pre-order in as COVID-19, Rajaratnam Abel.


Rajaratnam Abel

COVID-19 My newest e book

I thank God for giving me the opportunity to presnt my next book. It has taken me much longer than I imagined and planned.

This delay in finalising this book has also meant that, the blogs I used to write were also delayed much longer than I had anticipated.

Once the book is released, you can expect the blogging to restart sharing valuable experiences and lessons learnt.

This e-book has been written primarily for non-medical personnel. This includes the general lay public as well as development staff of NGOs and other organisations involved in educating the community.

Some medical personnel might also benefit from some of the information contained in this e-book.

While it is planned to be made available online through, I would explore every possible avenue of making this available at no cost. This is to help people prevent themselves from this deadly disease.

I will get back through this blog once the e-book is released.

Rajaratnam Abel

Countries with Different Economies and some Covid indicators

I came across this set of graphs of countries with different economies and covid indicators. I am thankful to Dr Sandhya Ahuja for presenting such valuable information graphically. I can imagine the amount of time it would have taken.

I thought some who are analytically minded would like to delve deeper into this set of graphs. Anyway, I have some questions below which might stimulate your thinking.

  1. Why is India’s position so surprisingly different?

2. Do these indicators indicators something more serious?

3. Is India on the way to losing its game based on the actual situation in the ground?

Enjoy the graphs and would value your comments.

Rajaratnam Abel

Migrant Labour: Hidden Powerhouse of the Indian Economy

Over a month ago when Tamilnadu state and India as a nation announced lock down, there was a subtle difference. Tamilnadu gave 36 hours for the people to adapt to the new social norm. India gave 6 hours to its citizens to adjust to the change.

The implementation was needed, but not the suddenness and the surprise element. It was assumed that it was not adequately planned to meet the needs of its citizens. The plight of the migrant labour has clearly indicated the poor planning.

Probably no one realised the actual numbers and the depth of the involvement of the migrant labour in the Indian economy. All the gains of the initial efforts at controlling COVID-19 in India, could be lost for not making adequate plans for the migrant labour.

Tamilnadu, on its part took some initiative in taking care of the migrant labour in the state. But as the lock down extended, other interventions had to be made on their behalf.

Only when migrants started walking long distances to reach their original homes, did the authorities wake up to the reality of the problems of the migrant labour. The accidental deaths of a sizeable number during the journey increased additional concerns to the problems they faced.

A little effort at coordinating government initiatives Both central and state governments and the support of the corporates who had used them could have prevented this hardship.

I attempted to get some links oand pictures depicting some of the stark realities of their long walk home. These are to have a glimpse of the problems they faced.


What made these migrants choose to walk long distances. With no jobs, no wages and no food, they felt they were left with no option but to take resins in getting back to their own villages. This was predicted about lock downs, when implemented without proper planning, anticipating the needs of various sections of the population. The migrant labour were not on the radar of the planners, while planning work from home and stopping all Form of labour.

This blog is not to highlight the failure of planning but for the need to plan for the future. Sooner or later, these migrants who walked or traveled on different forms of transport back home, these same migrants will have to be brought back for the resilience needed for the economy.

Systematic plans must be made for identifying strategies to bring back for the work the migrant workers have been carrying out For the development of the country and its economy.

May be this is the time to organise the migrant labour systems. The states and the centre should devise ways in which the various needs are met.

At present there are contractors who bring in these migrants. The problems faced by the migrants have not been adequately addressed.

Near my home, there is one Odisha Bhavan and another Assam Bhavan. These and similar set up by other states should take the initiative to provide support to migrant labour.

There are problems created by some of the migrant s and or their representatives, which end to be addressed as well.

The role and responsibilities of the corporate and private sector in employing migrant labour should also be clearly defined.

The plight faced by the migrant labour have been indelibly etched in the minds of the people. Fortunately, individuals and organisations with a service mind pitched in and helped the walking migrants as much as possible.

Some gave money and helped them. One traveler reported as he went in his car from the south to the north, that all along the route there were people who were providing food and water to these weary travellers. One set of individuals coordinated with the governments of the sending and receiving states to smoothen the travel process when train services were made available.

You can add your thoughts to these as the government comes to grips with the plight of the migrant labour in the country even as they realise the tremendous contributions to the economic development of the country.

Dr John Scudder II The earliest volunteer for vaccine trial

Recently there was praise showered on two doctors in the UK who had volunteered to take the first shots of the vaccine developed for COVID-19 disease. More than a century earlier, there was another medical missionary, who submitted himself as the first volunteer to test a vaccine that was prepared then. It was none other than Dr John Scudder, the father of Dr Ida S Scudder and the son of Dr John Scudder Sr. 

This vaccine was developed by Waldemar Mordecai Wolff Haffkine. He was a Russian Jew, who was called from Paris to Bombay, to work on a cholera vaccine. When he arrived, he observed that there was a plague epidemic that needed immediate attention.

Recognising that many Indians would reject vaccines made of animal tissues, he devised a culture medium made of ghee or clarified butter used by most Indians.

Three drops of these cultures were strong enough to kill the most powerful rodents but when destroyed by adding carbolic or mustard, they were harmless to animals. However, they still possessed the power to stimulate a person’s immunity against plague.

To persuade the the local Indian population to have the vaccine, it was felt that the missionaries must be the first volunteers. Dr John Scudder agreed to be the first volunteer. At his request the Surgeon General Bannerman not only provided the vaccine, but personally came over to give the first vaccine.

The first vaccine was injected into Dr Scudder’s arm as he rolled up his sleeve. Then Mrs John followed. Then others who witnessed this mainly Europeans followed. When word spread that Dr and Mrs John had received the vaccine, many Indians from the Kodaikanal area came and received the vaccine.

Unfortunately, of all the people, Dr Scudder reacted badly. It was not clear whether it was heat boils of the hot summer or a reaction to the vaccine itself. These boils never healed even when he stayed in the cool climate of Kodaikanal. Two of the best doctors of India were in Kodaikanal at that time. They agreed to operate on him.

The surgery was done in the open verandah of the Scudder home. Young Ida and her brother Walter were the ones who did the sterilising. Large kettles were used for boiling the sheets. Then they were dried in their oven.

When they opened, the surgeons found a very extensive cancer which they were not able to remove as the patient was sinking  rapidly. They sewed up the wound.

As he regained consciousness, he uttered the words, “Oh Jesus, let the light go out.” Once he lost his consciousness, he was taken to be with his father in heaven. Dr Wykoff, one of the missionaries working at that time paid this rich tribute. 

“A great missionary’s has fallen. I use the words in their fullest sense, without any qualifications or reserve. In quiet steady devotion to daily work, in wise judgment in mission affairs, in evangelistic fervor and pastoral faithfulness, in short in all that makes a successful missionary, none have surpassed and few have equalled him.

His greatest fault, if it can be called such, was self depreciation. Only those who have seen him at his daily task in India and witnessed his dogged perseverance and his unwearied diligence, in spite of heat and sickness and hundreds of other trials, can appreciate the abundant service that this man of god did for his Master.”

Not only has Dr Ida Scudder’s success with CMC Vellore completely eclipsed  and overshadowed the work of her grandfather but of her own father as well. I had read this before, but had not included in my first manuscript.

When I read about modern volunteers, I went back to the almost ready for publishing manuscript and added this story. This is the simplest that I could do to recognise this great man of God who carried forward the legacy of his own father.

God willing, the biography of Dr John Scudder, the world’s first medical missionary is ready to be published soon. This story finds a place in that book.

Soon, I’ll share more details about this and other books likely to come out from Abel’s stable the Creative Abel.

Rajaratnam Abel

COVID 19-Past Present and the Future Focus on the poor

This was not what I had in mind to write this time. With the whole world focused on this disease, I thought of sharing my thoughts on this disease.

This disease has caught the whole world by surprise. Economic plans, travel plans, marriage plans, educational plans have all gone awry. The pace at which it started in China and then Iran and Europe and finally the US is unthinkable. Who expected the US to wilt under this virus so badly with no control whatsoever?

I really do not have to say much about the past. You have all been fed with up to date information regarding how and where it all started. Interestingly one of my classmates shared the information from a novel written about forty years ago.

It is entitled, ‘The Eyes of Darkness’ written by Dean Koontz. The description is precisely close to what actually happened. Wuhan is mentioned in the story. Did someone actually follow upon the novel? I’ll leave it there about the past.

The present is filled with uncertainty. Never have we seen all trains cancelled in India for five weeks running. In the past, even with the most major natural calamities, the Indian Railways would always have earmarked trains that connected the major cities.

Once I traveled from Kolkata to Chennai through Tatanagar, Nagpur, Guntakal and Arakonam due to severe floods in Andhra. This was the only train that operated that day.

We have heard of lockouts but never a lock down. Major parts of the world are under lock down. You know the frightening numbers of infected and the deaths. They need no repeating.

It has changed our human behavior. This evening I behaved in the most un-Indian manner. A neighbor came to pick up something. I made him stand outside and talked and gave him the materials without allowing him to come inside.

It is the future that is important. How will we face the future? First of all, I would like to look at what has been predicted as the likely and potential scenario emerging from the aftermath of this disease.

Recently in a prayer meeting one of the speakers mentioned a few of the different after effects of this pandemic, as points for prayer.  As you read you may feel that it requires no super knowledge. 

  1. Economic effects on the poor. The harsh realities of the effect on the economy are clear. But how would the poor especially the migrants manage?
  2. Bio terrorism. Terrorist would find this a valuable weapon in their warfare.
  3. Psychological and mental issues
  4. Loneliness during lock down
  5. Army could be brought in if uncontrollable
  6. More deaths – orphans and the vulnerable would increase- as with HIV/AIDS
  7. Wars could erupt

Of all these, my concern and focus is on the poor in every country. As millions have lost jobs, even if the economy starts returning to normalcy the poor are going to find it difficult to get back their jobs reasonably fast.

Those whom God has blessed with sufficient resources should identify ways in which they could help the poor in their vicinity and neighborhood, either individually or through organised groups and associations.

Food and livelihood are the two most important needs of the poor that must be addressed immediately. Open your hands wide and help the poor whenever you can and wherever you are.

I am happy to be part of an organisation that is planning ahead for the next three years as this is what they anticipate would require to get the economy back on its wheels for the poor.

Immediately – food, then-livelihood and then long-term rehabilitation with resilience. They have valuable experience from implementing rehabilitation programs after the tsunami of 2004. They anticipate this after math of COVID 19 is going to be similar.

Keep safe distance. Wash hands with soap and water. Wear mask while going outside always till the end of the pandemic. Remember the poor. Help them in whatever way you can. May God bless you and keep you safe from COVID 19.

Why is Covid 19 low in India?

I wanted to share my thoughts on Covid 19earlier. Dr Devadas’ article has made me write my thoughts on this now. I do not want to go into health aspects of Covid and the strategies being implemented to contain the disease in India. Most of you are well versed on these.

In 2005 the whole world was working on a figure of 12 million HIV/AIDS cases in India. When I went into the interior pockets of Andhra Pradesh, there was a stark contrast with a significantly larger number of cases in coastal AP than in interior AP. Further unlike in Africa no village was being completely wiped off even in areas with high prevalence. It was concluded that India was under reporting.

By 2006, following a well planned study, it was concluded that India had only around 2.5 – 3 million cases of HIV/AIDS.

I think a similar story is repeating itself in Covid 19 as well. I am thankful to Dr Devadas for sharing two useful graphs which show the true Indian picture. In his paper he has argued very clearly that it is not under reporting or inadequate testing. If there were more cases, they would naturally seek medical care and get counted.

There is a fear that India with its apparently poor health infrastructure would do worse when compared to the European countries and the US. Most of these countries are working on non communicable diseases and not communicable diseases as India is handling both. Now the bundling of countries along with India must be seen along with the subsequent global map.

If you look the actual data and link it with the map below, there is one pattern that emerges. Most of the countries bundled with India are from the tropics. The countries with large numbers are from the northern temperate zone. When this pandemic started the entire Southern Hemisphere was experiencing summer. When the disease arrived in India we had just started our summer months. Right now Tamilnadu has begun experiencing extreme summer weather. Dr Devadas alluded this in his paper that the hot weather might be one reason why the disease has not spread as much as in the temperate countries. I believe this is the first and the most important cause for the difference.

Dr Devadas also alluded to another possible factor also mentioned by Dr George Kurian elsewhere that the Tamilnadu population has got gut immunity because of infection with other corona viruses, based on earlier studies in CMC Vellore. This could be the second possible reason.

The third possible reason is the diet pattern of Indians in general. The natural foods that go into our daily diet, is considered to be immunity building foods. In a jocular manner, someone brought in A Face Book post that the ‘rasam’ of Tamilnadu is good for this disease. If you know the ingredients that go into ‘rasam,’ they all enhance immunity. In many villages, a herb ‘thuthuvalai’ is used routinely, which is considered as immunity enhancing herb.

This was brought home to me very clearly just about the time prior to the arrival of ART in mass treatment for HIV/AIDS. At that stage, a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS was a death certificate. And then suddenly I saw in a project a number of HIV/AIDS patients with CD4 counts of 500 plus. As I analysed them further, they were consuming herbs in a significant manner. The first was moringa leaf juice. The second was aloe vera juice and finally rosella or the famous ‘gongura.’ All these are supposed to naturally increase immunity.

I know there is a scepticism on natural foods and their healing power. I wish critical scientist would carry out well controlled scientific lab based studies and either disprove or prove their effectiveness in natural healing and enhancing immunity.

The fourth factor I would like to add is that the government has gone on a war footing. They did bungle up the Delhi meeting a bit. Otherwise the government has done significant interventions to control the disease.

Finally as one who believes in prayer and God’s answers to prayer, Tamilnadu has been one of the key epicentres of Global prayer. I believe God has answered the prayers of a large number of people throughout the world, especially those originating from Tamilnadu.

I would certainly value criticisms and feedback to my thoughts. When the pandemic is controlled it would be interesting to see what were the real factors.

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