ROHAN SHRIVASTAV | NT
As cases of coronavirus infection are continuously rising exponentially across Goa, state epidemiologist Dr Utkarsh Betodkar on Saturday said that the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Goa.
He said there is a high possibility of the new cases during this second wave surpassing the previous peak.
“Second wave of the COVID pandemic has entered Goa. It is definitely a second wave…nobody can deny that…we went so low in the number of daily fresh cases, almost to 30 cases per day, and then again we are witnessing a substantial rise,” Dr Betodkar said speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’.
The neighbouring states of Maharashtra and Karnataka had started exhibiting signs of a second wave of the pandemic early February this year whereas in Goa the cases of the contagious virus started increasing suddenly from February-end.
Dr Betodkar, who is also the nodal officer for COVID-19 at the directorate of health services, said that vaccination is the only tool to break the chain of transmission during this second wave of the pandemic.
The state epidemiologist asserted that people, even after vaccination, can contract the dreaded virus. However, he said that the severity of the illness would be comparatively lesser than that experienced by people not inoculated with COVID-19 vaccine that provides immunity against the disease.
“This second wave may possibly go higher than the previous one but the admissions in hospitals and deaths linked to the virus would be less because of the vaccination. So these are two positive things for us. Fortunately, the vaccination programme has been further expanded covering everyone aged 45 and above. The more the people are vaccinated, particularly the high-risk groups such as frontline workers, healthcare workers, people above 45 with co-morbidities and senior citizens, the admissions and death rate will go down,” Dr Betodkar remarked.
He said that the spike in new COVID-19 cases has put a load on the system and added that the government premises, which were earlier used as COVID care centres are now being opened again by the state administration. Dr Betodkar informed that one of the floors at the ESI Hospital in Margao has also been dedicated to isolate and treat mildly symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 positive patients.
Urging people not to overlook even the mild symptoms of the infection, he appealed to them to get tested for the pandemic and seek medical attention at the earliest. He also urged the people to follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour even after getting vaccinated against the virus.