A year since first COVID case in TS, concerns about surge prevail

Exactly a year ago, the first COVID-19 case was detected in Telangana. Thereafter, lives of crores of people haven’t been the same. Many lost their parents, children, spouses and dear ones to the infectious virus.

Twelve months later, the pandemic situation is not very different from how it was when the first case was reported on March 2, 2020, although fear of contracting the virus has come down and people hardly seem to have any qualms about letting their guard down.

What’s more, the development of vaccines has brought hope of the pandemic being defeated.

In March last year, fear about a rise in cases had gripped the common people as well as health officials. The same fear and conversations currently reign as cases are surging in neighbouring Maharashtra and many other States too. Telangana Health staff is keenly monitoring the situation in Adilabad district, which has seen a spurt in cases in many of its villages sharing border with Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district.

The year that was

Ask any healthcare worker (HCW) or frontline worker (FLW) to sum up the last 12 months and each will have a personal story to share about the tough times that the pandemic brought in its wake. While citizens were instructed to stay cooped up at home and step out only during emergencies, that too by observing precautions such as wearing masks and maintaining distancing, HCWs and FLWs were out on duty.

Healthcare professionals continue to urge people to maintain precautions as earlier as they have experienced first-hand the trauma of seeing scores of COVID-related deaths.

Going beyond duty

Nodal officer for COVID-19 at Gandhi Hospital, T. Prabhakar Reddy was on duty when the health facility became the ground zero for treating coronavirus patients. He saw both ugly and generous shades of people. He said some refused to take back their parents even after they had recovered and so, Health department staff or NGO members stepped in to care for them.

T. Pramod Kumar, professor of Pulmonology at Government General and Chest Hospital, was among the doctors who attended COVID-19 patients at Gandhi Hospital right from the first case. Back then, many were wary of being in the immediate surroundings of a COVID patient. Dr Pramod and his team, however, did not have any hesitation in attending the first case, by slipping into Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

“As frontline workers, we can’t say no to a patient. If not us, who will treat those with respiratory illness? Though the threat of contracting COVID was very real, we were not worried. We continue to attend COVID patients to this day,” said Dr Pramod, who has taken the COVID vaccine.

Junior doctors also played crucial role in attending to patients. Asked about what has changed in the past one year, a junior resident doctor, Akhilesh Kumar Maurya said they now more about the disease than they did during the initial phase of the pandemic. “We learnt a lot and are still learning. Now we know that COVID primarily targets the lungs and other organs too are affected,” he said.

Along with doctors and nurses, other sections of hospital employees also attended COVID-19 patients. Sanitation worker B Yellamma, recalled how she and other workers had to clean wards and bathrooms used by COVID patients.

A patient care provider at Gandhi Hospital, G. Sujatha said that they used to feed the patients, carry them from one ward to another and even clean their beds.

Men affected more

According to statistics available with the State government, men made for almost 60% of the total COVID-19 cases detected in the State.

For people in the age group of 21-30 years, the incidence of the virus was 23.66% while for those in the 31-40 year bracket, it was 23.04%.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Eatala Rajender said Telangana was the first State to implement lockdown, and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao was the first among his counterparts to request the Central government to stop international flights.

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 5:01:04 AM |

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