With more than 562 cases of Covid-19 infection and 11 deaths reported in Vasco Da Gama and its neighboring areas, the city is emerging as Goa’s Epicentre for the Coronavirus Decease. According to the reports, twenty-five percent of cases of Covid-19 are coming from this city alone compared to the total number of cases in Goa crossing the mark of 2000.
It all began with the first case that was detected in the Mangor Hill area of Vasco da Gama when Goa was already in Green Zone. On June 2, a man from Mangor Hill, a densely populated Vasco suburb, was the first local case of the viral infection in Goa since Covid-19 was first reported in the country in March.
A truck driver from Mangor Hill was rushed to Goa Medical College and Hospital amid difficulty in breathing and later he was tested positive for the Covid-19 infection.
Soon, his family members and neighbors found to have contracted SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease, and the state healthcare authorities had marked Mangor Hill as Goa’s first containment zone.
Goa has recorded around 18 deaths of Covid-19 infection to date and 11 belongs to Vasco da Gama and its neighboring areas. Today Vasco has 562 Covid-19 positive cases of 2000 and odd total cases across the state of Goa.
On the other hand, Panaji which is the administrative capital of Goa and sees maximum movement has recorded only six Covid-19 positive cases to date.
According to an epidemiologist Dr. Utkarsh Betodkar, Mangor Hill is confirmed as the Epicentre of Covid-19 cases in Goa. “Mangor Hill is the epicenter of Covid-19 positive cases in Goa, as people from that area are more mobile. Besides, Mangor Hill is linked to several slums in and around Vasco and that’s how many Covid-19 clusters were formed in the area,” said Dr. Utkarsh Betodka adding that other parts of Goa have only reported isolated cases of Covid-19. “However, there has been not been any community transmission in Vasco,” he added.
How Vasco da Gama Became the Epicentre of COVID0-19 Decease in Goa?
The spread of highly contagious Covid-19 infection started in Vasco city due to its social and commercial structure. Most of the people in this Port Town are involved in odd jobs such as private taxi drivers, who hang around at the Goa International Airport in Dabolim or at the cruise ship terminal in Mormugao. There are people from other walks of life such as welders at shipyards, mechanics, etc. and maintaining the social distancing and regular hygiene is a daily struggle because they live cheek-by-jowl.
The Mangor Hill where all these started is a densely populated slum area in the Vasco city and most of the people are working on a daily basis to feed their families and the social distancing in such area is next to impossible. “It’s a densely populated area, where social distancing is not always possible to be maintained,” said a doctor, requesting anonymity.
Vasco and its neighborhood also host the Indian Navy airbase, the Coast Guard headquarters, Goa Shipyard Ltd, a defense public sector undertaking (PSU) company, and several other government installations.
Presently, Vasco da Gama has two Containment Zones and Micro-containment Zones respectively in which the Mangor Hill and Zuari Nagar are the largest containment zones in the state since June.
The senior citizens are more vulnerable to the Covid-19 decease compared to the youngsters said the director of health services, Goa, Dr. Jose D’Sa.
“Epidemiologically, viral outbreak cases usually start with a younger generation and when the virus gets into a home, people, who are on the sick bed and are suffering from comorbid conditions, t get infected. This is how the viral load and the virulence go up, as it affects many elderly people,” said Dr. D’Sa while explaining Vasco’s Covid-19-related death toll, which is 11 to date.
Despite so many cases Goa’s fatality rate still remains the lowest in the country and most of the Covid-19 patients have died due to comorbid conditions. “Goa’s CFR is 0.61%. Besides, most Covid-19 victims were suffering from severe comorbid conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension, renal ailments, and malignancy (cancer),” he added.