MARCH 2021
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida


Health & Wellness

Corona Virus Pandemic: Current status

Dr. M. P. Ravindra Nathan

By M. P. Ravindra Nathan,

America is now well into the vaccination campaign for Covid-19 prevention and the process is accelerating. Already 75 million doses have been distributed and 65 million people vaccinated and many more will be vaccinated in the next three months. The good news is that the total number of daily cases, hospital admissions and death rate from the pandemic are trending downward. The data from a study released recently from United Kingdom for the first time shows vaccination works in cutting down deaths from Covid-19 by half. So, please take the vaccine as soon as you can get one. It is a much safer way to build immunity than becoming infected. Another important development is that we may need only a single shot (instead of the two currently given) for effective vaccination. Pfizer vaccine has been found to be 85 percent effective after the initial dose, according to one recent study, which means we can speed up immunizations even further but we are not yet ready to embrace the concept.

Yes, there are still difficulties to register and get the appointment for vaccination from the county health departments and pharmacies, especially for those under 65 years of age. But that will ease up soon. As per President Biden, “Anybody who wanted a vaccine would be able to get one by the end of July.” And I understand that the federal government would begin direct shipments of vaccines to retail pharmacies soon. Because of the current severe winter weather conditions all over the U.S., there is bound to be delay in vaccination doses reaching the destination. 

With more people complying with pandemic precautions and vaccination rate going up, we can expect a significant improvement in the new infection rate in next several months. But don’t expect life to get back to normal soon. The reason: new variants of the viruses are coming. Earlier, we heard about the English, South African and Brazilian variants, which are all powerful, more infectious and tend to spread faster with capacity for more damage in the human body. In addition, more domestic variants of the virus are popping up. It’s for this reason that the CDC recently announced new “updated mask-wearing guidance,” emphasizing a snug fit and multiple layers of material as keys to mask effectiveness. Alternatively, one can wear the N95 mask that gives better protection or wear a double mask – “cloth mask over a disposable mask.”

A common question asked at this time is, “Do the current vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, protect us from these variants?” As Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist of WHO, said recently “We're still observing and our knowledge of anti Sars- Covid-19 vaccines is evolving. But at this point in time, most scientists believe that the vaccines in development and already been approved should provide protection against the variants because these vaccines elicit a fairly broad immune response, a host of antibodies and cell-mediated immune responses.” That’s a great relief.  

Remember, once you catch the severe form of disease, even after you recover, symptoms can last for several months. “At least half of people who recover from it suffer neurological symptoms for months after,” according to Sanjay Gupta, M.D. On top of that, a new serious “multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-A)” that occurs primarily in adults previously infected with the COVID-19 virus has been recently identified. MIS-A seems to manifest usually weeks after developing the infection, though some people may still have a current infection. Children who become infected with the virus generally have only a mild illness but in those who go on to develop MIS-C, some organs like heart, lungs and kidneys become severely inflamed. Fortunately, MIS-C is rare, and most children who have it eventually get better with medical care. The best way for prevention is to make sure your child doesn’t get exposed to the virus. Follow the guidelines of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

I know all of us are suffering from "pandemic fatigue" and “confinement anxiety from the perennial lockdown,” so it can be tempting to drop your guard, especially during these cold winter months. We just need to pull together and stay with the program till this is over. All of you are now aware of the Covid-19 prevention protocols. And vaccines are the only way to herd immunity and eventual pandemic control.

To be continued …

M.P. Ravindra Nathan, M.D., is a cardiologist and Emeritus Editor of AAPI Journal. For further reading, “Second Chance - A Sister’s Act of Love” by Dr. Nathan from Outskirts Press, can be found at



I Cook In Color: Bright Flavors from My Kitchen and Around the WorldI Cook In Color: Bright Flavors from My Kitchen and Around the World” by Asha Gomez and Martha Hall Foose; 220 pages; $32.50; published by Running Press; (

She wants “to make your world not just colorful but wildly flavorful as well.” And with her second cookbook “I Cook In Color,” Asha Gomez achieves precisely that, “welcoming the vivid, color-filled world into your kitchen.” Co-written with Martha Hall Foose, recipes in the book cover dishes from across the globe. There’s “Passion Fruit, Lime & Grapefruit Grouper Ceviche,” inspired by Gomez’ trip to Peru; “Fire-Roasted Mackerel” (Puerto Rican and Indian fusion); “Catalonian Paella” (Spain); “Tandoori Masala Crawfish Boil” (Cajun meets Indian!); “Singapore Noodles” (originally from Hong Kong!); “Quail Ragu with Piccante Frantumato” (Rome); “Dry-Fry Pork Mince with Green Beans” (China); “Leg of Lamb with Za’atar and Dried Apricots” (Morocco), and many more. Complementing the recipes, which focus on cross-cultural flavors, rainbows of vegetables, gem-toned desserts and spice-forward twists, are eye-catching vibrant photographs. A native of Kerala, Gomez is also author of the 2016 “My Two Souths: Blending the Flavors of India into a Southern Kitchen,” which was nominated as a finalist for the James Beard Award in the American Cooking category. She runs The Third Space culinary studio in Atlanta. “Trust your eyes,” she writes. “If a food has an attractive color, chances are it’s beneficial for you.” Indeed.

Here are two recipes reproduced with permission:

Roasted Butternut Squash with Tomato-Ginger Gravy

A couple of nights a week, there’s usually a sheet pan in my oven, lined with parchment paper and stacked with vegetables drizzled with olive oil, slathered with honey, and sprinkled with spices. I love making a meal this way. One pan to wash? I’m sold! This hearty squash in a fresh tomato puree, cooked down with caramelized ginger, makes for a perfect sheet-pan meal. It’s simple and delicious all at once.


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise from the stem down. I like leaving the stem and skin on for this recipe. Use a small spoon to scoop the seeds out. Using a paring knife, score the flesh side of the butternut squash horizontally and then vertically. Place the butternut squash on the sheet pan, skin-side down. Rub each half of the butternut squash with 1½ teaspoons of the butter. Drizzle the honey evenly all over the butternut squash and season them with the black pepper and 1 teaspoon of salt. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until the butternut squash is fork-tender.

In the meantime, make the tomato gravy. Place a small pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and ginger. Cook the ginger for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown. Add the fresh tomato puree to the ginger. Stir in the brown sugar and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Let the tomatoes cook down and reduce by half; this should take about 15 minutes. Serve the tomato gravy alongside the roasted butternut squash. Garnish with fresh oregano.

Crucian Curry Chicken

“Come to the island,” my dear friend Chef Digby Stridiron teased, smiling at me as if my acceptance of his generous invitation to join him in the US Virgin Islands were a foregone conclusion. “The food, the lush scenery, the gentle island breezes,” he continued, “you’ll fall in love, just like I have.” I’m not

quite sure why it took me so long to take him up on it, besides the ongoing obligations of running my business, writing a cookbook, filing my newspaper columns, doing my advocacy work, and raising a son. Eventually, I did get around to saying yes. I excitedly packed my bags and went to meet him in St. Croix. What awaited me were endless blue seas, the warmth of his home, and this saucy Crucian Curry Chicken, seasoned island-style with allspice, cumin, lime leaf, and coconut milk. Have some roti or flatbread on hand to scoop up all the scrumptious sauce.


Season the chicken thighs with the black pepper, allspice, and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Heat a large pan on medium heat. Add the coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil to the pan. Place the chicken thighs in the pan and brown on both sides for about 2 minutes on each side.

Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Add the red onions, garlic, and habanero to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the cumin seeds, curry powder, lime leaves, bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon of the salt; mix well and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and simmer for another 2 minutes. Add the chicken back to the pan and cook covered for 15 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, preheat the oven to 400°F, season the potatoes and pearl onions with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil, and mix well. Put the potatoes and pearl onions on a sheet pan and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the potatoes and onions to the curry chicken. Add the coconut milk and mix well.

Simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve immediately, right out of the pot.

Excerpted from I COOK IN COLOR: Bright Flavors from My Kitchen and Around the World by Asha Gomez and Martha Hall Foose. Copyright © 2020. Available from Running Press, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.



Test-drive review by NITISH S. RELE – [email protected]

2021MercedesBenzGT53AMGOK, so it isn’t quite as fast as the Corvette Stingray Z51 but this one can still fly! The “four-door, four-passenger coupe,” as Mercedes calls its performance-oriented sedan, reaches 60 mph from a standing stop in a mere 4.4 seconds. Top speed is rated at 174 mph.

They’re not earth-shattering numbers but still very impressive, one must admit. But after all, the 3.0-liter turbo inline-six engine with an integrated EQ starter-generator (located between engine and transmission) in the GT53 isn’t just a run-of-the-mill. It was specially hand built by the AMG division in Affalterbach, Germany.

Step on the throttle of the all-wheel-drive luxury car to blast off with its 429 horsepower at 6,100 rpm and 384 pounds-feet of torque at 5,800 rpm. Mated to a slick and effective 9-speed automatic gearbox, the E53 is equipped with a razor-sharp, electro-mechanical rack-and-pinion steering. Suspension is handled competently by an independent multi-link system. Both ends have gas shocks and coil springs to improve ride comfort. Bringing the speed demon to a halt are AMG high-performance vented 14.2-inch brake discs. To vary the driving experience, this Benz comes in slippery, individual, comfort, race, sport, and sports+ modes.

Walk up to the GT53 and the first element that grabs your attention are vertical high-gloss chrome struts decking up the radiator grille, embossed with AMG badge and the familiar three-pointed star. Horizontal LED headlights decked with carbon fiber components please the eye. The lavish, elegant cabin is expected of any AMG-equipped Benz with dual auto a/c, Burmester surround sound system, wireless charge pad, illuminated door sills, panoramic sunroof, steering wheel-mounted shifters, and heated front seats. AMG enthusiasts will quickly notice the emblem imprinted on the seat backs. All materials and craftsmanship are top-notch.

Saddle brown/black Nappa leather upholstery covers the dash, doors and center console. A touchpad controls audio, navigation and phone infotainment on the large 12.3-inch display dash screen. A similarly sized screen displays the digital instrument cluster.

Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes, electronic stability program, pre-safe (partial braking in an emergency), rearview camera, keyless go/start, blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system are standard. Numerous packages are offered and we recommend driver assistance ($1,950), which include active distance, steering, lane-keep, brake and blind spot assists.

Base-priced at $99,950 and topping at $126,320 with options, the performance- and luxury-oriented GT53 packs a punch or two with outstanding handling and balance. If you have the dough, we can only encourage you to be a little swanky. After all, flaunting your success isn’t a crime.



CALL 813-758-1786.
or write to

[email protected]
homeeventsbiz directorysubscribecontact uscontent newseditor's notehealth
immigrationfinanceMINDBODY/NUTRITIONmoviesfashionbooks/getawaysIIFA 2014ART
astrologyyouthmotoringplaces of worshipclassifiedsarchivesBLOGFACEBOOK
Read the Editor's Blog. By Nitish Rele Classifieds Motoring Astrology Books Fashion Movies Finance Immigration Health Editorial News Content Find us on Facebook!