Wake Up & Defeat Community Transmission (By Dr Oscar Rebelo)

By Dr Oscar Rebelo
03 June 2020 18:00 IST

The cookie finally crumbled. June 1, 2020. 

At Mangor Hill, Vasco, GOA’s first community transmission has firmly entrenched itself.

Covid-19 is raining upon us, although it is not a cyclone yet.

The usual recriminations have begun, of course, in due earnest.

Why did we open so early?

Why were SOPs tweaked arbitrarily?

Why was testing, particularly of truck drivers coming into Goa with essential supplies, not done more vigorously?

So on and so forth.

But the truth of the matter remains that, with the much-needed opening of the Goan economy, some enemy agents were bound to slip under the radar.

Have you noticed, however, that Goa is dependent on every single essential commodity from neighbouring states?

We are not self-sufficient in anything.

All that we produce abundantly is home-grown wisdom (usually after a peg or two), some choice abuses at our self-inflicted fate and an enormous amount of gas that passes off for politics and activism.

The million-dollar question that confronts us is:

How do we handle the situation now? How do we dominate the streets? How do we outwit this wily fox?

Can we?

My few meandering, pretty pessimistic suggestions are on the table. 


1. The worst prescription for the authorities is PANIC. Chill !!! 

Yes, an entire town the size of Vasco, that may need quarantine and testing, is unnerving to say the least.

But look at the sunny side.

Most of the contacts you are detecting positive are asymptomatic 

That bodes well..it gives hope for an early herd immunity.

2. I do not know frankly what is the latest central SOP, but this hysterical response of admitting every Covid positive patient mandatorily must be revisited.

You are stretching your health resources, flooding beds and frankly achieving nothing.

Asymptomatic Covid positives can be safely home-managed. 

Give them a pulse oximeter, tell them to check oxygen levels regularly. If it drops to below 85 to 90, and if they get breathless, bring them to hospital.

Delhi and Mumbai learnt it the hard way and now are keeping asymptomatic patients home. 


3. Presently, to the best of my knowledge, only the medicine department, led by the indefatigable Edwin Gomes is doing the heavy-lifting during the Covid crisis.

Everyone, from the department of pulmonary medicine, ENT, anaesthesia must come on board.

In New York, I had my friends from urology and rheumatology, and even those who had retired, come in to join the party.

All hands were on deck.


4. As cases mount, and most certainly deaths occur, there is going to be a physical and mental exhaustion that will set in, in the entire front-line staff.

They have to be motivated, well looked after and there must be multiple teams identified, to rotate in shifts.

Do that now, not when the party turns berserk.


5. Rope in the private sector.

There was this ridiculous modus operandi in the metros that in case a Covid positive patient inadvertently got admitted in a private hospital, the whole premise was locked and bolted. 

Get private hospitals to identify beds they can deploy for Covid, get strict isolation for that area, provide PPE kits and work out a rate that is not exorbitant.

I believe the doctors in this time of national calamity will not charge our Amitabh  Bachchan rates.

But do this with respect and dignity, not accusations, threats and familiar political bullying. 


6. Lastly I come to my familiar refrain of individual civic responsibility.  

We are still so woefully hopeless there.

Social distancing is for the cows and masks are for the bank robbers.

Everyone is back to being the quintessential, disobedient Goenkar. 

And I still see plenty of elderly folk, way past their 70s, merrily moving about in public.

Sitting ducks was a term designed for you. 


Frankly, I am so exhausted by this vicious virus, utterly despondent and depressed, that I malignantly turn on to Trump speeches to keep my sanity alive. 

At least you can see Trump, the orangutan, and gnash your teeth and go on to spew your bile on him.

This bloody virus is completely invisible.

And that's our visible tragedy.



The good news in India is that in India we are seeing a large number of asymptomatic cases, many are recovering and bodies are not really piling up. 

World over the only constant had been that this ghastly circus lasts around 12 to 16 weeks in its most brutal form.

China has almost got out of jail and  the morons have taken a picnic to Ladakh to trouble us.

Spain, Italy, France are bruised but recovering. 

The US death rates are petering off, if you discount the number of innocent blacks, hammered by an unjust system. 

We are done with about, at least 10 weeks.

Another 4 to 6 weeks, let's hope we are home and dry.

Of course we Indians are so hatke that even this theory may not hold true.

But let's dream on. 

The monsoon is the season of rainbows after all! 


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

Keep up the Good Job!!!

- Anthony Fernandes, Cansaulim | 10 th June 2020 12:18


So beautifully written. Very informative but most of all I liked the Post Script

- Christina Fernandes, Dubai | 07 th June 2020 14:32


Doctor, you are God's precious gift to the community. There are many good doctors. But now a days it's difficult to find a genuine human being. And you are blessed with both qualities. Your thoughts have touched the heart. Stay blessed always.

- Neela Bandodkar, Caranzalem | 04 th June 2020 16:53


It is always with pleasure that I read Dr. Oscar Noronha's articles, so much good sense allied to sense of humour which is a perfect combination!

We will survive, provided we respect the rules! It is mandatory, since this invisible enemy is very , very powerful!

- Maria Ivette Colaço, Lisboa | 04 th June 2020 15:22


Nicely penned Oscarbab !!

Witty and informative as usual.Hope virus gets susegad in virulence in coming days ...

- Dr. Pravin Kharangate, Muscat | 04 th June 2020 14:54


Love reading your posts...great sense of humor!!

- Susanna godinho , Vasai | 04 th June 2020 10:21


Very well-written.... easily understandable... keep on writing...

- Dr Jerry Braganza, Mahim, Mumbai | 04 th June 2020 10:06


Good suggestions

- Peter, Taleigaon | 04 th June 2020 09:47


Super article.. Sound and non conspiracy theory stuff....

Hope it sinks into puerile heads

- Kim Sabir, Socorro | 04 th June 2020 09:42


It was so mentally allevating and to guide us to see rainbow during the pendemic .loved it

- Meena, Vasco | 04 th June 2020 09:39


.Some brain person like Dr Oscar Rebelo need to speak and make our Goa govt. Realize the errors they are making in running the government.

- Theresa Gonsalves, Mumbai | 04 th June 2020 09:00


Perfect analysis.. only afraid it doesn’t fall on deaf ears.. out there in public and in there in the secretariat.. bunch of egocentric crowd

- Raikar Mahendra , Merced Goa | 04 th June 2020 07:25


Very nice read .. informative, with a tinge of humour.

Trump, Ladakh, virus all in one piece 🙂

Hope the Goenkars take stock of the situation and act the way they should.

More than the medicine, civic dense and social responsibility will work at the moment.

- Monisha Rastogi, Vasco | 04 th June 2020 04:40


I loved your article. I am a Goan with a Kuwaiti nationality and am waiting to return home to my sons as soon as international flights resume. There is an important point I want to stress on... please let the CM of Goa make it mandatory in pharmacies to allow only few people in at a time so as to maintain *social distancing* as I have noticed you have to practically scream at people to keep away *which by the way I do* 😁

- Anna, Saligao | 04 th June 2020 04:04


Well written doctor bravo

- Leo Cordeiro , Porvorim | 04 th June 2020 04:04


Well said! The only way to beat any disease is to first take precaution,second a fighting spirit & third faith in doctors & God & yourself. Worst way is to be pessimistic,blame everyone else & imagine the worst which most are doing. Let's be positive. May the second half of the year bring good luck,good news & good health.

- Rahila Khan, Porvorim | 04 th June 2020 03:56


An extremely realistic perception of the entire situation in our state.Hope our political leadership takes note of the advice given by you from your rich experience in the field of medicine.

- Col John Dsouza , Fatorda | 04 th June 2020 03:47


You are the best..genius..thank you for your repeated insights and invaluable advice on this whole Covid Saga..god bless you doctor...what an impeccable flair for writing.

- Judith , Saligao | 04 th June 2020 02:38


Well said doctor Oscar. There are whole lot of issues happening because of bribes etc and to keep Goa in green zone. By paying 10k people are got into goa in trucks without checking. Many covid deaths have been covered up and so on. Anyways other big problem is, if you passby miramar beach and are driving towards donapaul you will find a line of cars and bikes as long as a kilometer or more. Just like you would see outside a wedding hall. Suddenly many many more people (than before the pandemic) have started walking, jogging etc. Eventually they sit together for chatting. Now with govt planning to open malls, restaurants (parcels are on, what is the need to open up?), maybe also casinos. Traveling interstate also. God help us.

- Sanjay Rao, Panjim | 04 th June 2020 01:38


Brilliant !!!!

You've NAILED IT Doc !!!

Our Sussegado Attitude Was Bound To Backfire. We Treated The Lockdown As A Carnival. Now We Pay For The Follies Of Our Fellow Goans Who Defied Ms. Corona For Their Daily Peg And Love Of Fish !!!

- June Days, Sta. Cruz, GOA, INDIA | 03 rd June 2020 18:44


Well written doctor.True.Lets pray to God to give more wisdom to Goans and keep us safe.

- Allen Da Costa, Aquem Alto Margao Goa | 03 rd June 2020 18:33


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