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Covid cases are rising, masks are falling

Next two weeks crucial, say officials; CMC to ramp up contact-tracing and tests

Sanjay Mandal | Published 24.10.21, 02:02 AM
Shopkeepers and shoppers without masks in New Market on Friday afternoon.

Shopkeepers and shoppers without masks in New Market on Friday afternoon.

Pictures by Bishwarup Dutta

Covid cases are continuing to rise in in the city along with other parts of Bengal but many people still lack awareness, said government officials, doctors and public health experts.

Many experts had expressed apprehensions that after Durga Puja there would be a spurt in Covid cases as tens of thousands of people were seen gathering outside pandals without maintaining protocols like wearing masks or not entering the pandals.

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Even after Puja, many people are found on the streets of Calcutta not wearing masks.

Doctors said they were finding Covid patients whose family members were stepping out the the house despite being in close contact with them.

“A Covid patient got admitted to the hospital and the next day, I found one of his family members at the hospital trying to meet me. The person was in close contact with the patient,” said a doctor who is part of the Covid treatment team at a private hospital in Calcutta.

Another doctor said he had seen at least two families where the members had symptoms of Covid like fever and loss of taste and smell, but had gone on vacation during or after Durga Puja.

“They were taking medicines like paracetamol and going on pre-planned vacations instead of staying in isolation and getting themselves tested,” said the doctor who is a resident of south Calcutta.

Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) officials said the next two weeks would be crucial.

“There was a large section of people in Calcutta who had been pandal hopping without wearing masks and following other protocols. But now, it is time that we should start behaving like responsible citizens,” said Subrata Roy Chowdhury, chief municipal health officer, CMC.

“Since the coming one or two weeks would be very crucial in the containment of Covid in Calcutta, it is expected that the CMC through it’s services will try to achieve behavioural modification of people at the earliest,” said Roy Chowdhury.

These services include aggressive contact-tracing of Covid patients, swab collection from contacts, more vaccination and effective communication.

According to Roy Chowdhury, 80 to 85 per cent of those who are now testing positive for Covid are asymptomatic.

“This is the main problem of the disease. So, we are now trying to trace as many contacts of Covid patients as possible within Calcutta so that asymptomatic patients can be restricted from mixing with others,” he said.

Doctors said while there is a surge, vaccination seemed to have an impact.

“Most of my Covid patients have mild symptoms because all of them are vaccinated. Only few who have severe symptoms are not vacci-nated,” said Chandramouli Bhattacharya, infectious diseases expert at Peerless Hospital.

Out of 12 patients admitted under him on Saturday, three had severe symptoms and they were not vaccinated because of various reasons, said Bhattacharya.

“The others all have mild symptoms and none are needing oxygen support,” he said.

Earlier, most patients would either have severe or moderate symptoms, requiring at least oxygen support, said Bhattacharya.

Last updated on 24.10.21, 01:06 PM
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