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Thursday, June 24, 2021

Second wave likely to peak in Punjab next week, says Dr Talwar

Blaming the spread of the virus on people for not following Covid protocols, not wearing masks and not avoiding gatherings, he said that the villages were becoming hotspots now.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
May 13, 2021 12:58:46 pm
The expert said that the high CFR rate of Punjab was also to be blamed on people, who were not getting tested and reporting to the hospital after many days. (Express Photo by Harmeet Sodhi)

The second wave of Covid-19 pandemic may peak in Punjab after a week, state’s head of Covid Expert Committee, Dr K K Talwar, said Wednesday, adding that the curve was appearing to be flattening. Talking to The Indian Express, Dr Talwar said, “It looks like it is flattening but we will have to wait for a week and see as the villages are having a high case load.”

He said while the villages were not affected much in the first wave, the new variant had infected the villagers in huge numbers as well. “We do not know if the virus in the villages is the new Indian variant or the UK variant. We are yet to know as we are waiting for the genome sequencing report from the Centre for last one month,” he said.

Blaming the spread of the virus on people for not following Covid protocols, not wearing masks and not avoiding gatherings, he said that the villages were becoming hotspots now.

“It pains me to note that the RMPs and local doctors in villages were not helping in the cause. They were getting patients but they were not encouraging them to get the Covid test done. These doctors should play constructive role and not play with lives by just bothering about their money. We are losing out on time in many cases, who were reporting to hospital only in a critical situation. What else would the government do? It is providing free testing, free Covid kit and food to the poor. All that one has to do is to get tested and wait for the report. The home isolation is also allowed. We now have treatments and if person is detected with the virus early, many lives can be saved.”

Dr Talwar said that lack of testing was also responsible for high case load in the villages. If one tests positive, he can be isolated. But people go to local doctors, get medicine for normal flu and go back to mingle with others. This defeats the purpose,” he said.

Dr Talwar added: “We are now involving the community, panchayats and NGOs and we have a target of doing 16,000 extra rapid tests in villages alone,” he said.

Explaining how the virus had spread in the villages, he said that the new variant was more aggressive and it was affecting the younger people also.

“These people keep going to cities and coming back to villages. They take the virus from the cities.”

On why the government was not considering a total lockdown even after experts advising it, Dr Talwar said, “The government has imposed the maximum curbs it was in a position to impose. Those curbs are getting us desired results. And these could go on for a long time. I was never in favour of a complete lockdown as we do not know for how long this virus is going to stay. Livelihood is also an issue and markets need to be opened for this.”

About the projection of an imminent third wave, Dr Talwar said, “We do not know anything about it. Let us first control the second wave.”

He said he just advised people to wear a mask and practice physical distancing. “This is the vaccine. And if anyone has a symptom, just get tested,” he said.

The expert said that the high CFR rate of Punjab was also to be blamed on people, who were not getting tested and reporting to the hospital after many days.

“Still our number of deaths per million is better than Delhi and Maharashtra. But we do not justify it. We need the help of community and media to spread awareness that getting testing early is the key to defeat Covid,” he added.

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