COVID-19 | In Kolkata, as life returns to near-normal, doctors warn against laxity

In Kolkata, life has returned to almost-normal.  

During troubled times — be it curfew or a calamity — it is the roadside hawkers who first go missing and their return is often an indication that the storm has blown over. In Kolkata, they are back with a vengeance — even though COVID-19 hasn’t made an exit yet. It’s that time of the year when Christmas is round the corner and the weather is at its pleasant best.

Pavements are dotted with tiny mountains of Nagpur oranges, piles of cheap garments, displays of daily-need knick-knacks. The establishments in front of which the hawkers have spread out their wares are open too, be they shops or offices or banks. If you discount the sight of students going to their schools or colleges, life in Kolkata has returned to near-normal or — if you like — the new normal, considering that security guards now check your temperature and spray sanitiser on your hands.

“I have been camping at the Bodyguard Lines in New Alipore for the past four days and during this period signed up 120 new customers. The target is 400 before the month ends. Other banks too are conducting similar drives,” said Jhuma Gupta, who works with a large private sector bank.

Metro rail has long resumed services and buses and suburban trains and even trams are now running. At the same time, pressure on hospitals has eased off with a noticeable dip in the daily number of recorded COVID-19 cases. While the pandemic is far from over, the city has come a long way from the days when, more than contracting COVID-19, one feared not getting a bed in a hospital.

“There are fewer [COVID-19] admissions. Either people aren’t getting infected or they are choosing not to get admitted. If the former, then it’s actually good news, but it’s too early to tell. But yes, the crazy rush and chaos in the hospital wards have gone. We are sleeping better,” said a resident at one of Kolkata’s top hospitals.

Until December 1, West Bengal was reporting close to 3,500 cases a day — the figure is now down to a little over 2,000. According to well-known critical-care specialist Dr. Arindam Kar, while the number of daily cases may have reduced, “It would be too early to say that the worst is over.”

Other senior doctors, too, advocate caution and warn against any laxity. “With winter setting in — and with festivities around the corner — we need to be on guard. There is a drop in the number of cases for now, but that does not mean the worst is over. Several of our colleagues are suffering from severe complications (arising out of COVID-19) and fighting for their lives in hospitals,” said Dr. Koushik Chaki, a founding member of the West Bengal Doctors’ Forum.

Senior ENT surgeon Dr. Arjun Dasgupta added: “The pressure seems to be easing but it is too early to arrive at a conclusion. Also, there is the threat of a second wave. But I can already see the compliance to mask-wearing waning.”

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Printable version | May 19, 2021 2:23:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/covid-19-in-kolkata-as-life-returns-to-near-normal-doctors-warn-against-laxity/article33370270.ece

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