LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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COVID Positivity Rate Is Alarming

THE central government is attempting to paint a rosy picture of the management of the coronavirus pandemic by highlighting the high recovery rate (~78%) and low case fatality rate (~1.6%). The rosy portrayal must have been aimed at bringing in positive sentiments amongst people. But this is a misleading narrative. As we rank second in the world in population, our denominator in the calculation of total infection rate is ought to be higher than all of the other nations put together, barring China. COVID testing has greatly increased since the outbreak of the pandemic. Hence there has been a proportionate increase in the number of people testing positive for the virus, which has been close to 1 lakh per day. Take the case of Goa: we have been constantly reporting >30% positivity rate everyday, which is way higher than what is required for the pandemic to be in control (<5%). In contrast, Maharashtra reports ~22% positivity rate. State as well as the central governments are  thumping the chest about the reduction in the fatality rate, which is again misleading as India is constantly reporting more than 1000 deaths per day for some days now. Many medical experts have warned about this. As the number of samples tested increases (which is >1 million/day now), this denominator metric decreases the overall fatality rate. The Centre and the Goa  government highlight the ‘recovered cases’  ignoring the fact that we need to keep an eye on the health of these recovered patients. As of now, we do not know what happens to a cured patient after six  months or one  year or 10 years. These people should also be closely monitored. The efforts should be directed to study post-COVID cases.

RAGHAV GADGIL, MARCEL

Pauperising COVID Patients

THE state government has recently capped rates for treatment of COVID patients in private hospitals. The government has capped the charge  for a bed in a general ward of a private hospital at Rs 12,000  per day;  the rate for a private room on a twin-sharing basis has been kept at Rs 15,000  per day  and Rs 18,000 per day for a single private room;  Rs 25,000 per day has been set for a bed in an ICU with a ventilator. It appears that the government is  hell-bent on exploiting the ongoing pandemic and pauperising the hard-pressed Goans. Does the government think that Goans are ultra-rich? Even some of the highly reputed hotels are not charging more than Rs 5,000 per night from high-end tourists. But the government wants Goans to get themselves admitted to the private hospitals and pay exorbitant rates. If the GMC and other government hospitals are really providing the best of healthcare  – as claimed by Chief Minister  Pramod Sawant and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane – then why politicians and most Goans are turning to the private hospitals for COVID treatment?

JERRY FERNANDES, SALIGAO

Time To Reflect On Careers

AS students continue bearing the brunt of the restrictions imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, they would do a favour for   themselves if they reflect upon career choices. There had been limited career choices in Goa. However, now the situation is changing as new options are emerging; students can now opt for a career based on their interests and talents. For instance, if someone doesn’t drink then he could be a barman. If a man likes to drink then he could be a sommelier. If someone is good at finding faults then he/she can be an activist. Possibilities are endless; choose a career you love and you will never work a day in your life.

VINAY RODRIGUES, MARGAO