Goa had to face the repercussions of an unprepared healthcare system ahead of the second wave with daily cases averaging around 2,000 in the last two months. Shook by the deadly second wave of Covid-19 in India which claimed the lives of nearly 1.49 lakh Indians in the last 7 weeks alone, states across the country, including Goa seem to be resolute not to repeat their past lapses and are gearing up for the third wave- which in many places has already started poking its ugly head.
As per the sources of the Maharashtra government, if the third wave does hit (which is currently speculation) it is sure to hit in larger numbers than the horrifying second-wave experience and is likely to affect children. This comes from the recent experience of Ahmednagar wherein 8,000 children were reportedly infected with the virus.
Therefore, most states seem to be organizing resources especially in the interest of what has so far been the least affected demographic. In a recent case of 4 deaths in Darbhanga Medical College, Bihar, all 4 were children who died of pneumonia which is a known symptom of the viral infection.
However, only one tested positive for Covid, and the others had tested negative. Whether these are worrisome indications of yet another new, evasive mutant of the virus or not, only time will tell.
A special task force has been instituted by the Goa government, comprising pediatricians from public and private sectors. According to the task force, a third wave is likely to hit Goa sometime in the month of September, with a good chance that it will affect a large number of the pediatric population.
This does not, in any way, imply that it will only affect children. “Everybody will be affected but the proportion of children getting an infection is likely to be more,” said Dr. Jagadish Kakodkar, nodal officer and HOD of preventive and social medicine at Goa Medical College (GMC).
In a statement released by CM Pramod Sawant, Goans were reassured that the state is well-prepared to meet the imminent challenges. The state seems to have taken swift action on the recommendations of the specialized force and has commissioned 10 new Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU), adding to the existing 101, at GMC.
A group of pediatricians are undergoing training to treat Covid among children, as per the standard protocol issued by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). The CM also attested that a new consignment of vaccines will soon be arriving in the month of June.
Both the state government and GMC were recently at the receiving end of harsh criticisms by the opposition and many angered kin of patients, for not being adequately endowed to meet the crisis. This seems to have pushed the state to take definitive preventive action this time around.
Various other measures will prove crucial here. Including procuring adequate numbers of oxygen cylinders and ensuring vaccination of nursing mothers on an urgent basis. In addition to this, reinforcement of existing protocols such as social distancing and wearing of masks continues to be significant. This is now becoming a greater responsibility of the corporate sector with the onus of workers’ safety on their respective industries and offices.
Following the daunting peak in cases and mortality in the second week of May, there has been an expected low in the recent few days. This is a result of the emergency lockdowns imposed everywhere to contain the spread and mitigate the pressures on hospitals and the healthcare staff.
The Goa government was quick to extend its lockdown to 7th June. This is the third time the lockdown, initially announced to end on 10th May, is being extended. Other states such as Kerala, Orissa, and Maharashtra were quick to follow suit.