Agra: The alarming surge in the number of fresh Covid-19 cases in Agra has pushed the citys medical infrastructure close to a virtual collapse.
The number of fresh cases officially reported on Monday was 437, with six deaths. The total number of active cases now stands at 4,197.
The situation is described as grim and alarming in medical circles. Neither the district administrative machinery nor the political leadership of the city is able to provide a direction or help with coordination of efforts in these difficult times, complain victims and family members of the patients.
It’s worse than a war, declares health activist Paras. “Not just the doctors, but the ambulance walas, the pathology labs, the chemists, and even the managers of the cremation grounds are all out to squeeze the victims. When there is no cure for Covid-19 patients are forced to purchase medicines and go for tests costing thousands of rupees,” said an elderly family member of a 40 year old patient outside a nursing home.
Around 50 private nursing homes are giving services to Covid patients and all have put housefull sign boards. The Covid wards of the S N Medical College and the district hospital are already full. A big chunk of Covid victims are isolated at their homes and being provided telemedicine and consultation.
“Panic is writ large everywhere. The markets are totally deserted. The lockdown has brought life to a halt. What they are doing now, could have been done much earlier,” said a senior citizen Sudhir Gupta of Vijay Nagar Colony. In the past 10 days, three journalists and half a dozen businessmen have died. Three members of a political family also succumbed.
Senior doctor of Shanti Ved Hospital said ” conditions were not at all looking good. The doctors at great risk to themselves are working round the clock. We have had to depute a special team for managing with the Oxygen crisis.”
The premature triumphalism of the union government and a degree of over confidence displayed at the political rallies and the Kumbh mela, have pushed the country to the brink of a precipice, lamented senior hotelier of Agra, Surendra Sharma. “How and when normalcy would return, only God knows,” he said.
Now numbers have no meaning. “In any case there is a total mismatch between ground realities and the health department statistics. The whole rural hinterland of Agra has been engulfed in the Covid Tsunami. Every home has one or more patient down with fever, viral or Covid,” said social activist Shravan Kumar Singh. The burning pyres and the long waiting lists at the Taj Ganj crematorium give a lie to the official figures routinely released each day, activist Ranjan Sharma rued.
Though good samaritans have returned with help, from plasma donation to arranging for Oxygen to providing food to those in distress but their efforts are too little against a mighty challenge.
Only when the chain of infection is broken and daily numbers of Covid patients drop, perhaps as a result of the lockdown, some semblance of control and management of the crisis would show desired results, feel the doctors who are constrained by shortage of kits, medicines, directions and required facilities.
By Brij Khandelwal