The rising number of COVID-19 cases in West Bengal, particularly in Kolkata and its neighbouring districts, is due to the casual attitude of people who have dumped the safety protocol, medical experts said.
Emboldened by vaccines, people are no longer wearing masks or maintaining the social distancing required to check the contagion, they pointed out.
West Bengal in the past one-and-half weeks saw a sharp rise — almost 92 per cent — in the number of new cases of COVID-19. Kolkata registered the maximum number of new cases, followed by North and South 24 Parganas.
Despite the high rate of infection, the number of fatalities will not be as high as what the state had witnessed before people were fully vaccinated, the doctors added.
“This was inevitable given the casual approach of people towards the disease. There are congregations of people flouting all safety norms,” Hiralal Konar of the Joint Platform of Doctors told PTI.
Konar's words were echoed by the principal of state-run Infectious Diseases and Beliaghata General (ID&BG) Hospital, Anima Halder, who also expressed her concern over the increasing number of COVID-19 patients getting admitted to the medical facility every day.
The number of hospitalisations due to COVID-19 has also gone up at private medical facilities in the city in the past three weeks, officials said.
“The number of COVID-19 patients has hiked since the first week of June. Almost every day we’re getting cases. This may go up even further,” said an official of a private hospital on EM Bypass in the city.
City-based ICMR-NICED director Shanta Dutta said the virus would have had more impact if people were not vaccinated.
“The common attitude seems to be that the pandemic has receded. It is as if COVID-19 was never there. I Don't understand how people have forgotten the condition during the last two waves so easily and given up using masks and other safety measures! Thankfully most of them are fully vaccinated or the situation could have gone beyond what we are seeing now,” she said.
The scenario is, however, very different in the districts where almost no cases are reported in a day, a state health department official said.
“The districts are far better placed. We hardly have any cases from there. The districts adjacent to Kolkata are reporting cases, but other than them we are getting either no cases or at the most two or three in a day,” he added.
“The situation in rural Bengal is nothing to worry about,” Sanjib Bandyopadhyay of Burdwan Medical College and Hospital said. “As of now, the situation in both East and West Burdwan districts as well as in Hooghly is nothing to be worried about. Things are better here.”