A coastal state famous for its beaches, floating casinos, crowds of tourists and a mix of international cuisine and culture, Goa is currently facing a severe spike in COVID cases, which is ripping apart the state.
While it's been racking up more than 3,000 cases every day since the surge began in April, the state on 14 May hit a record positivity rate of 51.4 per cent – the highest in the country.
For a small state, with a population of just 1.5 million, the sudden spike in cases means that healthcare facilities are overwhelmed. While the number of total cases as of 19 May stood at 23,956, Goa has fewer than 2,300 hospital beds in only 26 hospitals.
According to government data, Goa, along with Delhi, reported the highest number of deaths per one lakh population. In fact, several of the deaths in Goa came from its biggest COVID-care centre – Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMCH). This 1,200-bed hospital reported more than 75 deaths between 10-13 May.
With fewer than 1 lakh people being completely vaccinated in the state since inoculation began in January 2021, a ten-fold rise in COVID cases just within a month, and reports of oxygen shortage at hospitals, how did Goa arrive at this terrible crisis? Who is to blame for Goa’s condition?
In this episode, we try to bring the ground reality of healthcare facilities and analyse the actions taken by the state government.
To help us navigate and understand Goa’s crisis, we spoke with Dr Lenny Da Costa, a resident geriatric physician and functional medicine expert in Goa; Shruti Chaturvedi, an entrepreneur and the founding member of the COVID Goa Care volunteers’ group; and Sujay Gupta, a senior journalist and a consulting editor for the Herald in Goa.