- 3,338 COVID-19 patients in Bengaluru are untraceable: Authorities
- We need to find out what are they afraid of: Healthcare Expert
- Recovery rate in Bengaluru stands at 25.1% VS 63.9% at all-India
New Delhi: Bengaluru is the worst-hit city in terms of coronavirus outbreak in Karnataka, with 57 per cent of the state’s 1,07,001 active cases, according to the state government data. However, 3,338 or almost 10 per cent of the COVID-19 patients in Bengaluru are untraceable, the authorities have said. While giving blood samples for investigation, many gave wrong mobile numbers or incorrect house addresses so no one knows where they are. The efforts to trace them are underway and are being led by cops with the use of technology.
Manjunath Prasad, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner, told NDTV,
It is a very difficult situation. It has come to our notice that more than 3000 people, who we tested positive for COVID-19, gave us the wrong address and telephone numbers. It was very wrong. In many cases, mobile numbers are right but the address is wrong.
Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka, Dr Ashwath Narayan said that we need to ensure that all people who have tested positive, are traced and treated and isolated. We have prioritised this measure, he told NDTV.
Bengaluru is leading a tough fight against COVID-19, if one goes by the recent media reports and accounts of COVID-19 patients about the dire straits of the hospitals in the city. These accounts claim a lack of beds, ventilators and ambulances in many places. Now the crisis of a large number of coronavirus positive patients having gone missing, has also come to light.
The government officials have said that now they are recording address and phone numbers by verifying it using a government-issued Identity card.
But the missing patients are concerning, as Dr Ravinder Mehta, chief of Pulmonology and Critical Care, Apollo Hospital, Bengaluru, tells NDTV,
The situation is very concerning because the basic premise of the ‘test, track and treat’ paradigm, is to try to mitigate that as much as possible. So these people, who have tested positive, are lost now. We are aware of how many patients can one corona patient infect, recently it was estimated to be 1.4-4 people, with an average of 2.5. So, on an average, each person can infect up to 2.5 people, it is very worrisome.
Dr Mehta also tried to analyse why the patients are missing, are they afraid, he asked. Dr Mehta said,
These people are missing for a reason and that’s the most important thing to note. Why are they missing, what can be done to track them and an equally important question is that what can be done to use this information to prevent further mishaps? We need to find out what are they afraid of? They clearly don’t want to be involved into circulation, they do not wish to be the part of the system. Are they worried about the BBMP’s handling of the situation? Do they not want to leave their family members? Are they isolated migrants? All these questions need to be addressed in a big way.
Vivek Reddy, BJP Leader from Bengaluru, told NDTV that those COVID-19 patients who were treated by BBMP, have only positive stories to share. He said,
It was during the initial stages, when many of the people we tested were not willing to reveal personal information and places of origin. I think this has to be corrected. If you look at the other side of the story, those who have actually reported their cases, and who have been home quarantined, are in constant interaction with BBMP officials. I think the state has done an admirable job, trying to navigate them through this crisis.
He further added that the patients in home quarantine are being closely monitored by BBMP doctors, Mr Reddy said,
Patients that are in home quarantine are called via telephones by the BBMP doctors who are tracking their symptoms and are going over to check on them. The patients are also being guided through an exit strategy. This is where the people who have missed this window, who are trying to get out of the system, must see that this system is not punitive, there is no ostracisation. BBMP is making every effort to ensure that they go through smoothly and navigate the situation in a proper way.
This is where citizens must understand that giving wrong numbers and addresses is not the way to move forward, Mr Reddy said.
The primary aim to meet your health needs and that’s what we are trying to ensure. That is our top priority in this pandemic, he added.
Adding to Mr Reddy’s points, Dr Mehta said that the patients who have had a good experience with BBMP, should come forward and talk publicly about their experience. This will encourage those who are missing, he explained,
This will help those who have disappeared, to be encouraged and come back in the system. Furthermore, maybe things like putting a clarion-call of a non-threatening nature, requesting them to come back, may help in the tracing of these patients. We should convey the message that we want to treat you, not only for you, but also for the good of the society; this may help bring people back in.
Dr Mehta also said that those, who have crossed more than 14 days, need not be tracked as they have already crossed isolation period. However, in the future, it is very important to put proper measures in place, to ensure any gap, such as this, is not repeated.
The situation in Bengaluru is getting worse by the day, as the government data suggests. The recovery rate in Bengaluru stands at 25.1 per cent, which is way below the national average of 63.9 per cent, and even Karnataka’s recovery rate of 37.3 per cent. The government data also suggests that Karnataka reported almost 5,000 cases in the last 4 days, the majority of which were from Bengaluru, while 48 per cent of COVID-19 deaths in the state are recorded from Bengaluru. As mentioned earlier more than half of, 57 per cent of Karnataka’s active cases are in Bengaluru.
When asked about his opinion on the crisis that is building up in Bengaluru, Dr Mehta said that recovery rate is a question of multiple things, he explained,
Recovery rate depends upon many factors. Firstly, how far has been your testing and what is the breakdown of cases in mild-asymptomatic. If there are many mild and asymptomatic cases, the recovery rate will be much larger. But if testing is limited to severe symptoms, the recovery rate will be low, because they are taking time to recover and are still in the hospital. As the testing is increased and you catch the lowest steps of the ladder, you will see a better recovery rate.
Dr Mehta said that the second factor that plays an important role in improving the recovery rate is undoubtedly the healthcare. He said,
What is happening in healthcare and is healthcare able to handle the cases also plays a major role in the recoveries. The moderates and severe patients will get the most out of efficient healthcare, and this will impact the recovery rate statistics.
Dr Mehta concluded by saying that in order to ensure Bengaluru overcomes the COVID-19 crisis, a lot that can be and needs to be done to improve healthcare and testing.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.