LETTER TO THE EDITOR FOR ISSUE DATED 23RD MAY 2020

NOVEL COVID-19 EXPERIENCE

GOOD SOCIAL DISTANCING: Students on the first day of SSC examination at the examination centre at Cujira Bambolim, on May 21, 2020 got their first experience of writing exam papers during Covid-19 pandemic and they did a perfect job of it — no problem! (Inset) Temperature testing before the students were allowed into the exam hall

HOME QUARANTINE

QUARANTINE is an effective method to stop the spread of disease by stopping contact with others. Home quarantine should allow you to avoid contact with others from the comfort of your own phone. But we fools are taking it too lightly.
There are a bunch of people staying in two flats of a housing society near my place, they came into the state earlier this week and they keep on changing their family groups I believe. I presume they are supposed to be under home quarantine. Now I know for a fact they have Goan maids coming in to cook and clean for them every day. These people are not wearing masks inside the house. Their maids spend hours there every day and then head out to other jobs and then home to their families, often with children and old people.
I’m sure this must be the case all over Goa as more and more people flood our poor little “Green Zone” state.
Pooja Bedi and her “Goan” fiancé are now under home quarantine. Are they doing their own dishes and sweeping and swabbing the floor themselves? Who will go and check on all these home quarantine places? The only other option is to quarantine their maids with all these spoilt brats!
–Stephen Dias, Dona Paula

TIRED & DANGEROUOS
WE Have seen it at football matches: loss of concentration due to fatigue resulting in goals in the 90+ minute! With just seven cases in the first 48 days, all health care workers in Goa were made to work at peak concentration. With porous borders, unscrupulous industrialists and return of locals from Red Zone areas, the cases are going up. Tiredness must be dealt with adequately. Health care workers may become complacent: there must be a forced leave of at least a week by rotation for them. Else we could see simple things like reduced hand hygiene, etc, creeping in. Let us not forget Italy’s prime protocol failure with Patient 1!
Now is a time to re-teach all precautions and audit the same too. I’m still amazed that hand sanitizers sold and approved by the Goa FDA are not as per WHO standards! One such manufacturer is selling the same which has 9% less alcohol than WHO recommendations. Such failures will undo the hard work of key frontline workers. Each department must work to the highest standards. We have IAS Officers who must pull their weight because they were found wanting.
Public too is tired out: they are now roaming carelessly, diluting all norms. Social distancing and hand hygiene is being diluted because of loss in trust in the government which has allowed entry into Goa courtesy unofficial ways and people not authorized to let them in at borders which are slack in checking.
Industry is careless. A pharma company bring its workers from a Red Zone violating SOP’s is not pulled up by GCCI. When GCCI appears in the news it is only to beg for government sops to threaten NGOs: it does not do its bit. SOP’s call for all companies to sanitize all vehicles including transport one: can GCCI confirm this is being followed?
–R Fernandes, Margao

LETTER TO CM
ALL media houses employees are today are facing difficulties due to Covid-19 and also due to outstanding bills, especially issued to government departments. The most tangible circumstance of these press employees is that they are not getting their salaries or their salaries are expurgated.
If all the non-Goan needy people and poor are taken care of, then why only media people are left out unmindfully. These are the people who are at higher threats and need to work intensely to bring facts and truths for the awareness of Covid-10. Why are these people left in outcome of unusual circumstance?
It is very down that no voice is speaking about them nor are government agencies showing willingness for availing them with some kind of benefits or assistance. Media are used for publicity but when it comes to preservation of their privileged rights, they are ignored. They are the Fourth Estate, pillar of democracy, should be treated as government servants like police, doctors, nurses, who are frontline warriors in war against Covid-19. Press workers are also susceptible to Covid-19. To support their dedicated work and livelihood they need to be paid full salaries.
I fully feel that Goa government should look into the matter with urgency and seriousness as it is not time for dissimilarities but to work organized. The first step of action of government should be to clear all outstanding balance payable to media houses. Support media employees directly by availing fund packages to overcome their crisis. This should be done at least by the end of this month to reduce media’s burden of stress.
–Rajan S Ghate, National RTI Awardee, Goa

LEARN TO LIVE WITH COVID-19
HERE is some practical and honest advice from Dr Faheem Younus, Head of Infectious Disease Clinic, University of Maryland, USA, which has been tweeted and forwarded multiple times over social media. It ahs been forwarded to me and I would like to share here for your readers. Says Dr Younus: “We will live with C-19 for months. Let’s not deny it or panic. Let’s not make life unnecessarily difficult. Let us learn to be happy and live with that fact.” To sum up the good doctor’s advice here…
•The virus will not reduce its effect in the summer. It’s summer in Brazil and Argentina, but the virus is spreading rapidly. You cannot destroy C19 viruses that have penetrated cell walls, drinking gallons of hot water – you’ll just go to the bathroom more often.
•Washing hands and maintaining a two meter physical distance is the best method for your protection.
•If you don’t have a C19 patient at home, there’s no need to disinfect the surfaces to your house.
•Packaged cargo, gas pumps, shopping cars and ATMs do not cause infection. Wash your hands, live your life as usual. C19 is not a food infection. It is associated with drops of infection like the `flu. There is no demonstrated risk that C19 is transmitted by ordering food.
• You can lose your sense of smell with a lot of allergies and viral infections. This is only a non-specific symptom of C19.
•Once at home you don’t need to change your clothes urgently and go shower! Purity is a virtue, paranoia is not!
•The C19 virus doesn’t hang in the air. This is a respiratory droplet infection that requires close contact.
•It is sufficient to use normal soap against C19, not antibacterial soap. This is a virus, not a bacteria.
•You don’t have to worry about your food orders. But you can heat it all up in the microwave, if you wish.
•The chances of bringing C19 home with your shoes is like being struck by lightning twice in a day. I’ve been working against viruses for 20 years – drop infections don’t spread like that!
•You can’t be protected from the virus by drinking/eating vinegar, sumac, soda and ginger. These are for immunity not a cure.
•Wearing a mask for long periods interferes with your breathing and oxygen levels. Wear it only in crowds.
•Wearing gloves is also a bad idea; the virus can accumulate into the glove and be easily transmitted if you touch your face. Better just to wash your hands regularly.
•Immunity is greatly weakened by always staying in a sterile environment. Even if you eat immunity boosting foods, please go out of your house regularly to any park/beach. Immunity is increased by exposure to pathogens, not consuming fried/spicy /sugary food and aerated drinks.
–Suman S, as shared over FB

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