As the second Covid wave sweeps through the country, infecting lakhs and killing thousands every day, much of the focus has been on metros and major states – the oxygen crises in national capital Delhi and Karnataka, for example, and the slow national vaccination drive have made headlines.
The severity of the pandemic in smaller states – like Goa – and the crippling impact on health systems has gone relatively unnoticed. However, horrific stories are now beginning to emerge.
Early Thursday 15 patients died at the Goa Medical College and Hospital reportedly due to a lack of oxygen. This was after 26 died Tuesday, again reportedly due to the lack of oxygen.
The hospital – the biggest Covid facility in the state – is full. There is no place for new patients, and the final few who were fortunate enough to be admitted must be content with a spot on the floor.
“We waited eight hours just to get a wheelchair… the next day his oxygen levels were 50-60 and we needed a ventilator, which was not available. Forget that, they don’t even have beds. They put him on the floor,” a family member of a patient, who did not wish to be named, told NDTV.
Like Delhi, Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka and other states, Goa has now reached out to the centre to frantically red-flag low oxygen reserves; over the past 10 days the state has received 40 metric tonnes fewer than it should have from manufacturing facilities in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur.
Specifically, between May 1-10 Goa received only 66.74 MT of the allocated 110 MT from Kolhapur. Worryingly, supply from there is about 40 per cent of Goa’s total allocation.
“It is an earnest request we should be given 22 MT per day, in place of 11 MT, for at least a week to make up for the shortfall,” the BJP government at the state wrote to that at the centre.
The Bombay High Court’s Goa bench is hearing several petitions on the handling of the pandemic and, on Thursday, said Covid patients could not be allowed to die because of logistics.
That was after the state said delay in replenishing oxygen supplies was due to problems like a lack of people to drive the tankers and tractors that transport the gas.
The court has directed hospital and state authorities to file a status report by 7 pm; this is to include reports on the supply of oxygen and the availability of tanks, concentrators and drivers.
Goa has the highest positivity rate in the country – 48.1 per cent as of Thursday evening. This means every second COVID-19 test is returning a positive result.
On Friday morning the state reported 2,491 new cases and 62 deaths in 24 hours, to take its active caseload to nearly 33,000 and total number of deaths to nearly 2,000.
With input from ANI, PTI
syndicated from NDTV