26 Jun 2020  |   04:57am IST



Oscar Rebelo

We are now in the true anaconda grip of the COVID virus. Simply no escape. As cases mount, and as the few deaths this week suggest, the long haul is most certainly here. 

The horrible nightmare is here. There are doctors at GMC falling ill, patients turning positive despite the sterling efforts of government officials. We are going to lose loved ones, we are going to lose our brightest and best, we are going to lose those we thought simply cannot die.

If you thought the physical and mental exhaustion of this pandemic was tough, the emotional exhaustion is what is going to kill you. We have no magic pill, we have no silver bullet, we have no vaccine, we have no wonder drug. 

The only thing we have now, the only, solitary thing is one another. So treasure that, empower that, weaponise that.

Again, my dreary prescription in what history will record as Goa’s most challenging crisis:

- Doctors, nurses, paramedics, ambulance drivers, testing staff, government officials, cops, are doing all they can. Trust me, this is a historic effort put in by the government medical and ancillary staff. No sleep, no food, no family time. People are working for you round the clock, exhausted, drained out. So please respect that. A late ambulance call, a cranky nurse, put up with it.

- Hopefully, we are going to stock up on faviparivir and resdemivir and toxiculimab which are our new ‘saviours’. Is the blood bank equipped to collect plasma from convalescent patients in case needed? I know not.

- Slum areas like Mangor and Chimbel and Zuarinagar are going to be the first tsunamis. No question. Stop treating them like children of a lesser God. Isolation, tracing and quarantine will be needed. But strictly no discrimination. They will need our maximum empathy.

- The elderly and vulnerable need to have a renewed sense of urgency as far as isolation and not sauntering out is concerned. This is mandatory. 

- To the government, my earnest appeal, please make testing for Covid simple and hassle free, especially for the private sector. It will help mitigate the fear in patients, get us to make an accurate diagnosis and de-clutter the GMC to a great extent. 

POST SCRIPT: When the history of this pandemic in Goa is written, and those of us fortunate to be alive will be able to read this, there will be a few honourable mentions made.

Sawant and Rane. Both of them, like true political animals, are jostling for the limelight, but they have played their role. Got the testing kits, put systems in place – they were on the battleground in person. 

Parimal Rai & Nila Mohanan. Sober, calm and matter-of-fact. Behind the scenes it is fundamentally these two holding a crumbling fort from collapsing. 

One is familiar with Edwin and Ira and Anar in GMC and the rockstar hero and heroine residents and junior consultants frankly putting their lives on the line for us.

And a big real big shout out to Dr Savio Rodrigues of the Department  of Microbiology and his team, working 24/7, to give us those accurate reports every single day without fail. 


Iddhar Udhar