Growing reluctance among people increases fear of an abnormal rise in covid in Kolkata

People thronged to Eden Garden to see India play New Zealand without wearing masks and following the protocols as daily cases of covid in Kolkata averages more than 200.

The number of covid cases is rising in Kolkata due to people becoming more reluctant to follow covid protocols and opening up all facilities. Yesterday, in the cricket match at Eden Gardens, wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and following the protocols seemed to be an alien concept.

On November 16, schools and colleges have reopened after 20 months. Despite schools adopting the odd-even formula, the growing reluctance in people has increased the impending fear of the third wave.

A week after the Durga Puja celebrations witnessed the rise in daily cases of covid in Kolkata. The number hovered around 240. It touched 270 for a few days in October and early November.

Since Durga Puja, the average daily cases remained in this range in Kolkata. In August, the numbers of daily covid cases in Kolkata were around 100. Additionally, approximately 40 lakh people have not taken the second jab in Bengal.

People not wearing a mask at Eden Garden

Around 47 thousand cricket fans thronged the stadium to cheer for team India on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The return of sports in the stadium after two years has spiralled excitement in the audience despite the hike in covid in Kolkata. People from other districts have come to witness India’s thumping win.

Most of the spectators carried masks but wore them only at the ticket counter. The usual scene returned near the stadium with the young crowd painting their face in tricolour. The wet paint on their face forced them to put their masks down, according to them.

Some of them cited that wearing masks for too long suffocates them. Others said that they are already doubly vaccinated.

Odd-even rules for schools

The day of reopening saw open flouting of covid protocols among students amidst the increasing COVID-19 in Kolkata and Bengal. In colleges, student unions were playing colours to celebrate the reopening. The schools were strict in following the SOPs and protocols.

According to the notification, the state secondary board has changed the attendance schedule for class IX and XII on-campus students on Sunday. The announcement came after parents expressed their inhibitions against sending their children to schools for such long hours. Classes X and XII of the board of directors and high schools will take physics lessons three days a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Classes IX and XI will attend the physical classes twice a week — on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Forty lakh people skipping their second jab

Around 4.8 and 35.4 lakh people have not taken the second dose of Covaxin and Covishield, respectively, on time. Among them, 2.9 lakh Covaxin recipients have delayed their second dose by nearly two-and-a-half months, and 11.6 lakh Covishield recipients have delayed it by 126 days.

The situation is grim in Kolkata too. Kolkata, till now, has the highest number of people who have not taken their second doses on time, as per the detailed data compiled by the state health department on November 15. A 35,425 and 14.1 lakh Kolkatans have not taken their Covaxin even 70 days and have not taken their Covishield dose even after 126 days of taking their first dose, respectively.

According to the state health department’s detailed report, 24 lakh people are due, and 18 lakhs are overdue for their second doses. For Covaxin-recipients, the second dose should be taken between 29 and 42 days as anything later will be considered ‘overdue’.

The Covishield-recipients should take their second dose in either 85 to 98 days or 99 to 112 days from the first dose. Recipients missing the second jab even 113 days after the first dose are considered ‘overdue’.

In the report, a chunk of people who did not take their second dose on time was from Kolkata and North 24 Parganas. There are around four lakh such people in Kolkata and 3.8 lakh in North 24 Parganas (district).  Hooghly is the third district with 2.3 lakh people missing their second jab.  Districts surrounding Kolkata, like South 24 Parganas have also reported more than two lakh people skipping their second dose.

However, the West Bengal vaccination drive has witnessed second dose vaccination outnumbering the first dose for the past few weeks.

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