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Covid-19 brings Karnataka to its knees, govt faces ire

NewsCovid-19 brings Karnataka to its knees, govt faces ire

Above national average, highest doubling rate, rising deaths push state to third spot.


Bengaluru: On Wednesday, a man accompanied by his wife and two kids walked up to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa’s home office Krishna and declared he was Covid positive and that hours after waiting for an ambulance, he didn’t have any option but to walk to CM’s house seeking help. Baffled, the CMO staff immediately arranged for an ambulance and sent him to a nearby Covid care centre.

On multiple fronts, the BJP government is facing wrath from all quarters. The state government had received pat on its back for 4Ts—tracing, tracking, testing and treating. Exactly a month later the state government has failed on all the four fronts—It is becoming increasingly difficult to trace and keep tabs on the primary contacts because of the sheer numbers—55,115 and over 20,000 in Bengaluru alone. The several departments that have been entrusted with tracing and tracking have collapsed with not many to hold fort. Fatigue has set in and add to that shortage of staff. As far as testing is concerned, the state is adding an average of 15,000 cases to backlog on daily basis. With a testing capacity of 14,000 samples per day, there are over 50,000 pending samples as opening balance on daily basis. The state health ministry started rapid antigen test but it is not considered accurate as only RT PCR has been taken as valid. It takes a week for any person to get his results and by the time the results are out he would have infected hundreds more. Now coming to the treatment part, the last T of the four, four top hospitals have been already given notice in Karnataka for refusing to admit Covid patients. After three to four marathon meetings, the private hospitals agreed to share 50 pc of their hospital beds with the state government but the reality is that these hospitals have been refusing beds stating they are all taken. The hospitals have admitted patients under government quota and claiming falsely add to that inadequate ambulances, doctors and paramedics!

A flustered BSY government which had always taken anti lockdown stand (On a daily basis, CMO issued clarification against regional channels about not imposing lockdown) had to resort to a complete lockdown in Bengaluru for a week but how will that help the situation? “A week’s lockdown was only to ramp up infrastructure and lockdown is not a solution. The increasing cases has nothing to do with our performance as this is a universal phenomenon,” defended Tejasvi Surya, Bengaluru South MP.

A meeting was called by BSY on Saturday which was attended by most ministers but B. Sriramulu was conspicuous by his absence. He was ridiculed just a day before was invoking God! “Only God can save us!” he had said in Bagalkot attracting quick response from KPCC president D K Shivkumar who demanded President’s rule as the BJP had expressed its helplessness in tackling the Covid 19.  Forget about four Ts, I can only see four Cs said KPCC president DKS: “Corruption, Carelessness, Confusion and Chaos! Who is behind renting Covid bed scam? Who is behind PPE purchase scam? Who made money in procuring ventilators while patients are dying without life support system? We never wanted to politicize the issue as it was matter of life and death but now the human life has become very cheap for the BJP government,” he told The Sunday Guardian. Shivkumar also said there is huge profiteering by middleman in the management of India’s biggest Covid care centre at Bengaluru International Exhibition Centre (BIEC). “At first they said each bed was being rented at Rs 800 per day and after a simple maths by my media friends it was found that purchasing the beds was a cheaper option and the government was exposed. What happened? Decision was reversed. There are several such examples and a thorough investigation is needed. We demand a special session to be called to discuss Covid issues,” he said. However, Dy CM Ashwathnarayan rubbished all the claims stating the opposition is not being responsible in its role. “When we are witnessing unprecedented and extraordinary situation these people want to hold assembly. It will happen in due process and we are answerable and we will give answers but they should also recognise the efforts being made to contain the virus. Eight ministers have been given each zone. Officials, health workers, doctors, police, and all the frontline warriors are waging war against the pandemic and these people are indulging in petty politics. The Chief Minister has openly asked them to call officials and look at the files and be a partner in this war. Who is stopping them,” he asked.

Meanwhile, a study by IISC has stated that India will have 35 lakh Covid-19 cases, and Karnataka 2.1 lakh, by September 1 as a worst-case scenario. The IISC projection says active cases in the country, and in the state, are likely to be 10 lakh and 71,300, respectively, by then. In a better-than-the-current-trend scenario, the country may hit a peak of 20 lakh total cases, 4.75 lakh active, and 88,000 deaths by September 1. And, in the same scenario, Karnataka will have 1.2 lakh total cases, 28,700 active cases and 5,460 deaths. The same model also says the country will have 37.4 lakh total cases, 14 lakh active cases and 1.9 lakh deaths by the end of March 2021.

Sashikumar Ganeshan, professor, IISC, said: “Increasing the number of tests and reducing the testing period will help to quarantine the infected population and consequently reduce new infections. An efficient nation-wide ‘contact tracing’ needs to be imposed. Imposing a systematic, periodic nationwide lockdown in a synchronized manner will slow down the spread. Unlike full lockdown, periodic lockdowns will not affect the economy, labourers, production etc much. More importantly, it will avoid migration. Periodic lockdowns, as a by-product, will remind of the importance of social distancing, wearing mask, hygiene, compliance to government rules etc, which is the key to contain the spread in the absence of vaccine.”

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