Increasing COVID Cases keeps Ganjam on its toes

A rapid increase in COVID positive cases from Odisha’s Ganjam district has heightened worries for the residents. The district now ranks as the worst-hit in Odisha as infections continue to grow. Already reeling under the blow of lockdowns – with businesses and economic activity coming to a standstill – the disease has brought unparalleled misfortune for residents of Ganjam.

Meanwhile, several non-COVID patients, who have some form of medical impairment and require professional help, have abstained from visiting hospitals. Social activists say that the fear of COVID has emerged as a social problem in the district, with rampant stigmatism prevalent. “If anybody visits a hospital for non-COVID treatment and returns home, people start creating rumours that the person is infected with Covid-19. The person goes also through mental trauma as people start avoiding the family. Sometimes people get a heart attack because of this,” said Pradeep Kumar Swain from Bhanjanagar.

The complete shutdown of all forms of economic activity, coupled with frequent lockdowns imposed has sounded the death knell for many entrepreneurs and small businesses. Cash flows have fallen drastically and several employers are unable to pay salaries due to a financial crunch. With no certainty about how businesses can regain trade volumes, earnings are in serious doubt.

Prafulla Samantara, a social activist from Behrampur, complained of the improper functioning of hospitals. “OPDs of many hospitals are closed. Sometimes doctors are not attending emergency patients in time. A few days ago, hospitals in Bhubaneswar did not allow a patient from Ganjam. This has created a mental trauma in people’s mind. Non-COVID patients are not properly attended,” he said.

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