May 17, 2021 8:44:41 am
Karamvir Singh, a 34-year-old resident of Mauli village near Barwala, became a subject of mockery in his village soon after he began wearing facemask in the public sphere— while walking to the market or going to work. However, the villagers’ perception underwent a sea-change over the last few weeks as Covid-19 infection hit the village, a sizeable population of around 3,500 people.
As dozens fell sick at once, common symptoms of Covid-19, such as high fever, cough, breathlessness and chest pain, manifested in most cases.
Karamvir Singh says, “The first wave was not severe here. There was merely one case of Covid-19 last year in my village. Apparently, it made the villagers overconfident. Whenever I stepped out of my house putting a facemask, people in my neighborhood teased me, saying: Tere peeche hi laga hai coronavirus, tujhe hi lage ga corona, aur kisi ko nahi (It appears, coronavirus is behind you and only you will be infected by it). However, things started changing when at least two dozen people, most of them youngsters, started complaining of chest pain, breathlessness and high fever. Most of them were rushed to Ambala as it is close to our village and the rest of the patients went to Panchkula Civil Hospital for getting tested. Most of them were Covid-19 positive. Another thing responsible for the spread of the virus was the hookah, a smoking pot shared by several people. But even that has been missing from the village now.”
Mauli is one of the villages in which the positivity ratio of Covid-19 cases was 6-7 per cent earlier, as per rapid antigen tests conducted here. “Now, the positivity ratio of 28 villages is 10 per cent,” says Civil Surgeon Dr Jasjit Kaur.
Monu Rana, one of the asymptomatic patients in the village, says, “We did not expect that coronavirus would hit our village like this. I went to a government hospital in Ambala. I was advised a CT Scan of my chest. There were no adverse findings in the report. I was advised to stay in home isolation. The perception about masks and social distancing is changing in the villages. Families with positive patients at home are wearing facemasks even inside their home. However, a major thing that our villages still lack is mass testing.”
Village sarpanch Vir Singh says, “Things have changed not only in our village but also in the surrounding villages. People are wearing mask, hookah has been relinquished and marriages are very limited.”
Overall, 131 villages were covered and 3,741 rapid antigen tests were conducted. Of the samples, 220 tested Covid-19 positive. The survey was held between May 10 and May 12. A door-to-door Covid-19 screening is also being held, says Dr Jasjit Kaur.
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