A wave of fear

In the wake of the lockdown announcement, people rush to buy groceries paying no heed to social distancing

There’s fear gripping Goans as the second wave of COVID-19 intensifies. NT BUZZ gets the pulse of a few people on the preparedness to handle the second wave

Danuska Da Gama | NT BUZZ

Once again, the virus is back in full gear in 2021 as the second wave is proving ghastly. In Goa, cases are surging, the death count is going up, and people are living in fear, trying to live each day as it comes.

However, as the upward trend continues and there’s dismal improvement with overburdened healthcare system in the state, people are worried for themselves, their families, and Goa at large.

Were Goans prepared for a second wave? And what is it that needs immediate action from the government? How can we help ourselves? A few Goans voice out their opinion

Goans are not prepared at all. In fact this second wave has been taken very lightly as compared to the first wave, possibly because there’s this notion that vaccines keep them safe from the virus. The government should go for lockdown for at least a fortnight. It should educate the people that they can still transmit and get the virus even after the second dose of the vaccine as it takes a few weeks after the second dose to get immunity. People should wear their masks properly. Washing their hands (which is very important) and social distancing ought to be followed. Even at some vaccination centres, social distancing isn’t followed. Unnecessary partying and social gatherings should be stopped completely.”

Janice Gracias Flor, homemaker, Bastora

With over 2O00 positive cases daily, it cannot be said that Goans are prepared. It’s disgusting to see people clueless about the gravity of the situation, living life as if all is well. Everyone seems to be casual until someone from their circle gets positive and struggles for treatment. The government should spell the situation out clearly rather than showing that they are in some kind of control and task MLAs and other elected public servants to assist police to ensure masks are worn and protocols are maintained. The possibility of arresting people should be looked at, especially positive asymptomatic patients out in public. Whatever we do today will result in either delayed rewards or delayed punishment. We are getting punished today for being too casual.”

Oliver Fernandes, businessman, Nuvem

When we watched other countries experiencing their second wave, no one really expected it to hit us so hard especially in Goa. It’s easy to pinpoint the government or tourists but unfortunately we have failed somewhere too. People wear masks below their nose. COVID numbers are slowly turning into names of people we know. Imposing a self lockdown can break the chain. People need to move out only when absolutely necessary. Government has to ensure that wherever work from home option is possible, it is given. Sealing the border for a while will be of help too. Finally working towards improving medical infrastructure is priority now, and finally an accelerated strategy is needed to speed up the vaccination programme.”

Pooja Lawande Karmali, assistant professor, Taleigao

We have let down our guard simply by the use of our masks which is not being worn properly or not at all. The mutated virus is much more infectious and no one realises the seriousness. We have to go back to social distancing. It’s not being followed and the idea that only old will die is foolish. The government needs to increase testing and medical capacity. If we can invest so much on bridges and railway lines through forests why can’t we invest in our health care? This would help us in the future as the virus further mutates. Plus our hospitals are so far from villages that a lot of patients could end up dying due to the distance and poor connectivity. We must also ensure that people entering Goa are COVID negative. Also, the true numbers need to be put out so we can test trace and isolate. Under reporting is going to only hit us in the long run.

Esme Lobo, trustee, Sadhana Dell ‘Arte, Calangute

I do not believe that any amount of preparedness is enough to face this pandemic and the second wave. A two weeks or more lockdown in the state is imperative and if there is a need for anyone entering the state a negative COVID -19 test certificate must be made mandatory. Yes, this could affect the economy and livelihoods of many, but it’s a risk worth taking rather than putting lives of the vulnerable at stake. All other battles can be fought or dealt with, wealth lost can be earned back but losing a life is loss that can never recover. As for the people of Goa, if your situation or circumstance allows you to stay home, please do, especially if you have a family member who is vulnerable.”

Edra Godinho, marketing professional, Vasco