LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (05/05/2021)

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COVID Infection And CT Scan

It is learnt that numerous COVID-19 positive patients with mild to moderate symptoms, and some with negative RT-PCR reports but COVID symptoms are going in for CT scans. People seem to have hit the panic button and are carrying out the CT scan immediately. However, such CT scans must be done only on the advice of a doctor. According to medical experts, if COVID-19 patients are under home isolation and are doing well then they should only monitor their oxygen level 5-6 times in a day using a pulse oximeter; if the oxygen level is above 96, then they should not panic. All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, director Randeep Guleria recently cautioned mild COVID patients against going in for repeat CT scans of the chest saying these raise the risk of cancer and are needless in mild disease conditions. A CT scan is equal to 300-400 chest X-rays. The International Atomic Energy Commission has shown how CT scans in younger age lead to greater cancer risk in later life. Dr Guleria has advised to go for X-ray and avoid CT scans in mild cases of COVID-19. Mild cases do not need CT scans and can be treated with normal medicines. There is also no need to take heavy steroids, as they are only taken in cases of moderate or serious infections.

ADELMO FERNANDES, VASCO

Enforce COVID Norms Strictly

With the second wave of the pandemic in progress, COVID-19 cases have increased tremendously in Goa in the recent days. A sizeable number of the population has lost the battle to the dreaded virus, while many have been confronted with a lot of sufferings, especially at hospitals due to the lack of proper facilities. As a preventive measure, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant imposed a three-day lockdown in the state. However, even during this period, people could be seen moving around in public places without using a face mask. Many used the mask inappropriately. Even the social distancing norm was thrown to the wind. In villages, it was the duty of the respective panchayats to see to it that the local population obeyed the standard operating procedures (SOPs). However, the panchayats failed to exercise control thereby inviting more danger to human lives. Some of the MLAs and ministers have been demanding further extension of the lockdown. But imposing a lockdown itself is not an ideal solution to defeat the pandemic and save human lives. Strict adherence to the SOPs is indeed the most appropriate step, which could go a long way in bringing the deteriorating situation under control. The state administration needs to consider this aspect seriously and issue necessary instructions to the municipalities, village panchayats and other competent authorities to implement the SOPs strictly.

PRAVIN U SARDESSAI, ADPAI

8-Phase Bengal Elections: Hold EC Accountable

The Election Commission (EC) has been acting in concert with the BJP ever since 2014 and the independent nature of the institution with constitutional sanction is being constantly eroded. One cannot understand why the Bengal elections were announced with eight phases for 294 seats when elections in Tamil Nadu with 234 seats were set for a single day. Not only that, on April 6, along with Tamil Nadu, all the seats of Kerala, Puducherry and the phase-wise voting of Bengal and Assam were carried out – a total of some 500 seats. Thus having Bengal elections in eight phases was not because of the large number of seats. It was also not because of the geographical spread of Bengal, since Tamil Nadu is as large as Bengal, and with the April 6 election schedule the area issue of Bengal was dwarfed. The reason seems to rest elsewhere. Law and order can be one of the reasons but the interpretation of this can be subjective. As said earlier, the EC had been kowtowing to the diktats of the central government and the BJP in the past. During the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, many a time on issues of BJP and particularly Narendra Modi crossing guidelines of the Model Code of Conduct, the EC tended to be inclined towards them and tended to favour Modi with more leeway and a larger rope. This resulted many a time in disputes between the Chief Election Commissioner and the Election Commissioners. This same pattern of bias was seen during the recent Assembly elections to five states and particularly in deciding the eight-phase election schedule for Bengal. This was just to help the BJP leaders like Modi and Amit Shah to visit Bengal for campaigning before each phase. Thus an inquiry must be conducted with regard to the decision-making process that led to the EC deciding on an eight-phase election schedule in Bengal. This can be conducted by the Supreme Court and if no satisfactory answer is found, the CEC and other Election Commissioners should be summarily sacked.

S KAMAT, ALTO ST CRUZ