Goans are immune to COVID 19…. Really??

By Dr Oscar Rebelo
17 March 2020 22:16 IST

Now that we are seeing the apocalyptic sweep of our favourite virus across the globe, maybe it’s time to reflect, on our Goan response to the possible apocalypse knocking our doors in about 3 to 4 weeks.

First things first.

These are 4 indisputable facts; I would like to put in the public domain.

1. Siddhivinayak temple, the famous one at Dadar, which has celebrities and politicians walk barefeet for a darshan is shut down... so is the Tirupati temple in Andhra with extremely restricted access.

2 The Umrah and Haj, two of Islam's holiest rituals, are on lock down as are numerous mosques across the Arab world.

3. The Vatican, Christianity's fountainhead as it were has suspended all Good Friday and Easter services and virtually all churches in Italy are Chiuso.

And lastly a sobering factoid

4. Most dailies in Italian are running 18 to 20 pages - yes pages - of obituaries every single day... That is the kind of death toll there.

So the point is Hinduism, Christianity's and Islam's high priests have heeded the advice of science and to protect their faithful and pilgrims health have gone on lock down mode right away.

But in Goa, we do things the ajeeb way.

Shigmo (barring the honourable exceptions of Canacona & Vasco) is on a rock and roll, colours, music and the virus running riot in a lethal cocktail.

All Church services and other assorted retreats are packed to the rafters, few precautions notwithstanding, and the virus lurks in the pews, mischievously greeting everyone “peace be with you”

The mosques, are chock a block with Friday namaaz worshippers.

You can hurt anything in Goa.

Hurt the environment, hurt the water bodies, hurt fellow humans, hurt the future of our kids.

But woe betide if you hurt religious sensibilities.

No politician worth his or her salt is prepared to hurt religious and cultural organisations (also called ‘vote banks’) and tell them to just shut the mass gatherings up even if it means thousands could perish (which religion never loved martyrs ??)

And do politicians have the spine to do so when they are gallivanting the countryside addressing “large" gatherings for that stupid, inconsequential Zilla Parishad election??

Frankly, I think our window of opportunity is over and my guess is we will see exponential increases in the infection rate and deaths in coming weeks.

We refuse to heed scientific evidence coming out of China, Korea, Italy and Spain.

This then brings me to my original poser.

Are Goans immune to COVID 19??

If we escape this epidemic and it's tragic and horrendous cost to human life the three reasons will be this:

1. The HEAT: This is like rapunzels golden locks we are clinging to, so as to climb to safety .maybe it will work maybe it won't but I wouldn't bet on it.

2. The irresponsible and inexplicable lack of testing facilities in our country.

There is no way in hell we can differentiate the common flu from COVID 19 without tests.

So chances are people will die overwhelmingly and the death certificate will say pneumonia or heart attack and not COVID 19.

3. And finally my immune hypothesis. Goans inherently have what I like to call the dominant STUPIDITY GENE.

So chances are that the virus may drop by and just say to itself that these Goans are in any case going to die due to climate change they have invoked upon themselves, die of thirst (Mhadei) or of drug addiction and fatal accidents while driving on their near perfect autobahns.

So the virus may well say: " Why should I waste my fire power on this stupid people. Spare them!"

The malls in Goa, according to an official I spoke to, are being kept ope for a very scientific reason. They are testing the hypothesis SHOP TILL YOU DROP DEAD really works or not!!!

Post Script: The other day I had a patient of mine who approached me with flared nostrils and admonished me.

"Why are you spreading panic Doc?? You are a man of no faith .God will protect us."

Though I'm prone to temper, I calmly told him.

If you were to go for a picnic to Dudhsagar and visit the notorious Devil’s Canyon where the currents are terrifying and where hundreds have perished and where alligators and deadly insects thrive; and some religious head were to tell you "Fear not, throw your child in the waters. The Lord will protect thee: Would you throw your child in??

His nostrils cooled down and he said "No, I wouldn't."

So, I said the same logic applies here, the virus is the invisible alligator and Goa - well Goa has been the Devil’s Canyon for the last three decades or so in case you hadn't noticed.

Moral of the story then is Faith and Politics is one thing, Stupidity and obstinacy is quite another.

By all evidence we are opting for the latter!

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

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Dr Oscar Rebelo

Dr Oscar Rebelo is one of the leading social activist of Goa and a practicing doctor. He led the historic peoples’ movement in 2006-07 to get the anti-Goa Regional Plan scrapped and save Goa from total destruction of Goa’s ecology and natural beauty. He is a Goa-based leader of Aam Aadmi Party. He is also a columnist.

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Previous Comments

Love reading your articles Doc. So well articulated in typical Dr Oscar style

- Jennifer Mendes, Mapusa | 19 th March 2020 02:04


Wellsaid sir !!

But who will explain the ignorant minds ?

Seems like Goans are too proud of their unnatural immunity and hence being so negligent .One blow and everyone will be back on earth ..

I just pray that awareness comes before it’s too late .

- Gauri , Bahamas | 18 th March 2020 22:15


"The irresponsible and inexplicable lack of testing facilities in our country," -- could be the reason for fewer cases in India, Goa and third world countries.

Beautifully written, hats off Dr. Rebello for the wonderful vocabulary used, elucidating explanation and the witty humor.

Gasper Crasto

00965 99699514

- Gasper Crasto, Kuwait | 18 th March 2020 11:26


Well said... Sad but true.

Goans are high on faith and that's a good thing. But they forget that they should not be putting the Lord to the test.

So yes, have faith. Pray. Sit at home and pray all day with your family. But also have a sense of social responsibility to your fellow beings and take precautions and follow order. There is humility in doing so and God loves the meek and humble.

- Kimberly, Panaji | 18 th March 2020 06:40


Right doctor

- Jerry DE Souza , Panjim | 18 th March 2020 05:57


Beautiful tongue in cheek article on the sussegado goans

- Karl Rodrigues , Panjim | 18 th March 2020 04:58


Well said! I really dont know when we Goans will wake up!!

- Nelita Coelho, Margao | 18 th March 2020 04:27


Fully agree with your views.We Indians are stupid race and we will put so many Drs.life into risk.

- Flora Pinto , Dona Paula | 18 th March 2020 03:17


Dotor you are absolutely correct and blunt in your explanation of the rapidly spreading covid 19,corona virus deadly infection. Goans to take heed to this Advice or pay the price for One's Ego and Negligence.

- Dotor, You are absolutely correct and blunt in your explanation of the rapidly spreading Covid 19, Corona virus deadly infection.Goans take heed to this Advice or pay the price for One's Ego and Negligence. , Porvorim, Socorro,Bardez, Goa | 17 th March 2020 18:59


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