The second Covid-19 wave in Gujarat has resulted in a frightening and dangerous situation. This time, the health situation in Gujarat has deteriorated to a point that the whole health structure is on the verge of collapse. The number of vaccinations in the state has been declining in the last two days. Covid-19 has been so widespread that the entire chain of effective testing, tracing and treatment in the state is breaking down. There are no beds in hospitals and corpses are piling up in cemeteries.
Tracing and treatment are as effective as testing. But at the present stage, people are coming from all over Gujarat for testing, to the extent that Primary Health Centers (PHCs) and municipalities are not able to handle the pressure. The staff present in the hospitals is not enough. People have to wait for two days for RT-PCR tests, while the reliability of the rapid antigen test is still in doubt and no definitive diagnosis can be made.
The Covid testing system has lost its effectiveness in Gujarat. In this situation, the health and administrative machinery are so limited in managing Covid positive patients that tracing is no longer possible. Everything is chaotic and the number of Covid positive people is increasing by leaps and bounds, making it almost impossible to trace the people they come in contact with. The phase of tracing has passed and now the government can only talk about persuasion.
The condition of Covid patients is deteriorating extremely fast. At present, there are only “no-vacancy” signs in government and private hospitals in Gujarat. In Surat, admission is not being given to 108 Covid positive patients in any private hospital, while in government hospitals, double the number of patients are arriving compared to the available beds. Because of this, the condition of the Covid positive patients, who have been admitted to hospital, “improves satisfactorily” as per the hospital in a mere two days, instead of seven days. The oxygen level is “stabilised” or he is immediately given medicine and sent home. Thus, hospitals now have to vacate beds after incomplete treatment.
The biggest weapon to defeat Covid-19 right now is vaccination. But in a “medically advanced” state like Gujarat, there is a shortage of medical staff to an extent that vaccination is not being done adequately. PHCs do not have enough staff for vaccinations. Due to this, the number of vaccinations has been steadily declining for the last four days. According to government figures, 4.89 lakh people were vaccinated on 3 April, 2.78 lakh on 4 April, 3 lakh on 5 April, 3.13 lakh on 6 April, and 1.76 lakh on 7 April.
At present, whether it is Surat or Ahmedabad, Vadodara or Rajkot, there is a waiting period of 8 to 14 hours in cemeteries. In Surat, the situation has now deteriorated to such an extent that out-of-town dead bodies have to be sent for burial.