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They drank, danced while enemy crept in

Saturday, 15 May 2021 | PNS | Panjim

When the first Covid-19 wave swept through the country last year, Goa remained largely unaffected. Of course, tourism, the main source of livelihood, took a serious hit, but Goans were able to keep both infection and fatality at the low end of the scale on a national basis.

The Goans threw caution into the sea and celebrated Christmas and New Year as if corona were a long forgotten tale of horror. Few wore masks or took any precaution as they drank and danced and kept alive the spirit of Goa.

But the recklessness of the past few months has now come to haunt Goans. The State with just around 1.5 million population sparsely scattered settled along the Arabian Sea has emerged as one of the worst affected places in India in terms of positivity rate.

Only Rajasthan and Sikkim are ahead of Goa’s positivity

rate of around 40-50 per cent over the week.

Goa now has a fatality rate of 1.5 per cent which is much higher than the national average of 1.2 per cent, and for every 100 confirmed cases, 25 are currently infected.

The situation is so grim that Goa’s total death count more than doubled from 964 to 1,937 in just three weeks. Nearly ten per cent of the current casualties are those who were suffocated to death for want of oxygen.

Similarly, the caseload more than doubled in just 27 days to 1,30,130 on May 13.

Goa’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis triggered massive controversy when the health authorities in the State decided to use Ivermectin, an orally-administered anti-parasitic drug for generalised use to all citizens above 18 years to reduce the extent of Covid-19 infection

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Tuesday warned against it with its chief scientists Soumaya Swaminathan coming out with a tweet which said, “Safety and efficacy is important when using any drug for a new indication. WHO recommends against the use of Ivermectin for Covid-19 except within clinical trials.”

As Goa battles with the shortage of oxygen, hospital beds, drugs and expert medical hands, the image of the palm-fringed sylvan retreats with its golden beaches and colourful lifestyle has been replaced with that of a haunted paradise of sufferings and deaths.

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