It’s question that is wavering in everyone’s mind in Visakhapatnam. Spike in corona cases continues unabated with death toll reached 35 as on Wednesday. The first Covid-19 case was reported at Allipuram in the district on March 19, when a returnee from Saudi Arabia tested positive. But as of today 2456 positive cases coming out from every nook and corner of the city. Quite shocking indeed.
While GVMC are working overtime to shift positive cases to Covid-19 hospitals but primary and secondary contacts of corona positive cases, particularly people from slum areas, are showing reluctance to go to quarantine centres. The GVMC teams are finding it difficult to convince them to move to quarantine centres.
A major reason behind Covid numbers rising in pockets was the fact that the patients are not being treated or monitored early enough, according to a section of city doctors who are at the frontline. They also held a section of Vizagites responsible for the spurt in numbers, pointing out that they have been ‘reckless’ ever since the unlocking started. Other expert’s felt that another round of lockdown should not trigger an alarm but should serve as a reminder that safety norms needed to be followed more strictly.
Dr. K Santosh Kumar, General Physician pointed out that lockdown norms were not diligently obeyed by many. “Masks and sanitizers were not used by a substantial number. And the moment unlocking started, there was a scramble to get out on to the road that led to a spread. This has happened not only in the slum areas but in high-rises as well. Even though many remained confined to their complexes, they continued to socialize at home, which helped the spread,” said Dr. kumar.
“Citizens should cooperate to make any further lockdown a success. Policing is important but self-policing is much more important and effective. While home isolation was the best option under the prevailing circumstances, patients and their kin still need to be conscious enough to recognize a change in condition and seek medical intervention immediately”, felt Dr. K V Srinivas Rao. But some doctors pointed out that home isolation was often being taken too lightly. “There are many who have a low oxygen saturation rate but are rarely breathless. So, they need to be monitored. The later we treat a patient now, the lower will be the chance of survival,” said a Post Graduate Doctor specialising in Pulmonology.
Over the last few weeks, we have had plenty who sought treatment when it was too late. These patients could have been managed at home had they been more conscious. Not only did they occupy hospital beds, denying treatment to others who needed them more, they might have also spread the virus to others,” Said a doctor pleading anonymity.
An infectious diseases expert felt the satellite healthcare centres should be set up around hospitals would be the key, apart from home isolation. “Hospitals would not be able to cater to every Covid patient. Now that the numbers of asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic are rising, we need to ensure that they are treated and isolated. This is the best that we can do to control the numbers. Micro-containment zones will not make a huge difference.
While Covid cases reached a peak much faster in most affected countries, in India it has been more staggered. “In most other nations, more deaths have occurred but they have managed to flatten the curve quicker. We are reaching the peak slower and may be able to flatten the curve by year-end. At the present rate, we will also see a drop in numbers in a more staggered way. So, the numbers will rise in pockets despite measures,” said he said Dr.S.A Bhavani, Retired Civil Surgeon & RMO, Government TB and Chest Hospital, Visakhapatnam
The need of the hour is immediate testing at the door steps to nip in the bud. If testing less, it’s much obvious that the number of cases will appear less which is more dangerous as this raises the fear. For containing the virus in time, government should replace further lockdown the lockdown with cluster restrictions, scaling up diagnostic facilities to test, trace, track and isolate sentinel and active surveillance to identify hot spots or clustering, avoiding social stigma, and protective gear for health workers. Thus, the situation in Vizag is getting worse day by day. The people now need to be more conscious and active in taking all the precautionary measures. Various states are already facing problems like shortage of beds and doctors clearly we are heading towards a doomsday situation from where the recovery is very scary.