How is coronavirus causing anxiety in West Bengal?

It is a known fact that the outbreak of coronavirus has affected the whole world bringing out the worst nightmares and system inefficiency at the surface. But there are certain countries and states within the countries that are more affected by the virality of the COVID impact.

The outer layer of West Bengal has always been lazy, easy to adapt yet progressive. People from the state are known to have a ‘no hurry’ attitude but form the last six months the whole system has gone haywire in the Mamta Banerjee ruled the state. The state needed to act fast and crisp unlike what the image represents but it has been failing to do so. It could be the inefficiency of the healthcare system or just the careless attitude, but the effect it is having on people is more psychological than physical which is making people anxious.

A story covered by the Indian Express shows how wrongly relaxed and unbothered are the facilities in West Bengal. A resident from Newtown in Kolkata noticed her father was showing certain symptoms of COVID-19 when he had a fever but the 23-year-old hoped that it would be seasonal flu. The fever subsided a few days later but he and his mother lost their sense of smell which led them to search for COVID symptoms on the internet. The family got tense and started making phone calls to the laboratories that carry out coronavirus testing only to be disappointed later on. “They all said home testing was not an option and asked to call back in three to four days. Waiting lists for tests in top city hospitals was between 10 days to a month,” the Newtown resident said.

What this family went through in these difficult times doesn’t even touch the crux of the matter. The state has been recording more than 3,000 every day from the start of this month. As per the data provided by the West Bengal Department of Health and Family Welfare, as of August 22, nearly 15,24,162 people have been tested in the state in the 70 registered laboratories.

The family had to then consider other options and resorted to a ‘non-state approved laboratory’. The son got tested positive after which the family went onto home quarantine by informing the local civic body.

Infection rates in the state are increasing but it is not the virus that is impacting people as much as the anxiety generated from it is impacting the population of West Bengal.  Another resident from Howrah, third-most affected area of the state confirmed that there is a severe delay in testing which has led to an increase in infection rate. He further elaborated that it is only in two-three weeks that the testing is done in his village and they don’t have any idea when the next testing will be done.

Banerjee is known to have an aggressive approach to tackling these obstacles but this time chief minister has failed miserably in taking a stricter and more effective approach to containing the spread of the virus. The officials and the government facilities need to act fast and be on their toes at all times for Bengal to be able to control the virus.

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