Only 17% residents rate West Bengal Government’s handling of COVID 2nd wave as effective
- ● West Bengal ranked 17th amongst 17 states of India where the survey was conducted
June 30, 2021, New Delhi: The 2nd wave of SARS-CoV2 that caused havoc in the months of April and May has tested the pulse of every State Government of the country and their efficiency to handle the outbreak vis-à-vis Governance. Just when the country had started to recover from the 1st wave of the pandemic, the COVID-19 and its variants started taking a toll at an unprecedented pace, from the highest 97,400 daily spike (September 10th, 2020) to less than 10,000 cases (1st week, February 2021), which then increased close to 47,000 (3rd week, March) and reached its peak to more than 412,000 cases (1st week, May 2021). The wailing sound of ambulances ferrying COVID patients for days and nights had been a routine at the time. Most hospitals in cities crumbled to provide adequate treatment to those patients waiting in line for the treatment due to an increase in cases. Even crematoriums in major cities ran out of space as bodies were brought for final rites. Overall, the 2nd wave of the pandemic has caused a devastating effect on India and its citizens that will be etched for many years to come.
From the daily COVID cases of around 640 during the end-March at the time when the State election also commenced across West Bengal, the state started to experience a sudden surge in the test positivity rate that reached its peak on May 14 with 20,846 daily cases. There were multiple instances where patients succumbed to the virus due to a delay in the oxygen supply, and related treatment. Covid testing labs approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) were very limited in number as a result, reports of RT-PCR tests took about 3-4 days, leaving many patients in the lurch without a hospital bed as they did not have the positive COVID test report. Caregivers were forced to treat patients at home, leaving no option but to turn to the black market for the supply of oxygen cylinders and concentrators as well as essential medicines like remedisvir. West Bengal did not update its Government COVID relief website in a timely manner. It showed availability of beds in their website whereas the ground reality was different.
The West Bengal Government under the leadership of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had to eventually impose full lockdown and restriction on public movement since May 15 to contain and mitigate the COVID spread across the state. In the aftermath of lockdown-like restriction, the COVID-19 daily cases have now come down steadily, along with a decline in the test positivity rate though Covid fatalities are still high. There has been an increase in the availability of ICU beds and ventilators in both private and public hospitals, and the vaccination drive has shown high number of doses administered in June.
In the aftermath of all the developments in around 2 months of the 2nd wave of COVID-19, LocalCircles has gone back to the citizens of West Bengal asking them to rate their State Government’s performance in the overall handling of the 2nd wave of COVID-19. This allows both the broader citizenry and the Government to understand where things stand and what needs to be worked upon. This is vital to effectively handle the 3rd wave, which is likely to hit India in 6-8 weeks, as suggested by experts. Medical experts have warned about a new, more infectious Delta Plus variant and emphasised on the importance of continuing to wear a double mask, follow proper hygiene, and maintain social distance. The survey received 1,733 responses from residents of West Bengal.
Only 17% West Bengal residents rate West Bengal Government’s handling of COVID 2nd wave as effective
The question in the survey asked residents of West Bengal, “How do you rate your state (West Bengal) Government’s handling (availability of testing, containment, hospital beds, oxygen, medicines, etc.) of the COVID 2nd wave?” In response, 17% said “effective”, and 41% said “somewhat effective”. Another 17% of West Bengal residents surveyed rated the West Bengal Government’s handling of COVID 2nd wave as a “Total failure” and another 25% said “ineffective.” On an aggregate basis, only 17% of West Bengal residents rated the West Bengal Government’s handling of COVID 2nd wave as effective. The survey received 1,733 responses.
Overall, the residents of West Bengal after what they witnessed in the last 2-month period aren’t satisfied with the West Bengal Government’s handling of COVID 2nd wave in the state. This is evident with only 17% of West Bengal residents rating the State Government’s handling of COVID 2nd wave as effective. As the West Bengal Government works on getting ready to handle the 3rd wave, it is critical that all aspects starting from testing, containment, hospital beds availability, readiness to handle child cases of COVID, Doctors and medical staff, equipment like ventilators, BIPAP machines, concentrators, medicines and all things COVID are available in sufficient quantities. It is important to ramp up medical infrastructure in spite of a decline in daily number of cases and ensure efficient medical equipment for medical staff. Also, it is critical that information flow is significantly improved and centralised such that citizens call a single number and based on their condition, location, preferences, budget are assigned the right hospital. Similarly, it is key that the patient information dissemination is streamlined, and hospitals can communicate with the family on the patient’s current health condition in a timely manner.
Ranking of Indian States in handling 2nd Wave of COVID-19
Overall, findings of the LocalCircles’ survey indicate that West Bengal ranked 17th amongst 17 states of India where 17% of residents have rated the Government of West Bengal’s handling of COVID 2nd wave as high. The ranking of Indian states in handling the 2nd wave of COVID-19 indicate that Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh residents have rated their respective State Governments’ handling of COVID 2nd wave as high. Meanwhile, rating of Bihar and West Bengal were the lowest.
National Press ReleaseAs citizens rate their state Governments on COVID 2nd wave handling via LocalCircles, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh emerge at the top
The survey received 1733 responses from people residing in all districts of West Bengal. The survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants were validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.