Tuesday 02 March 2021

News Analysed, Opinions Expressed


Fasten your seat belts; don't invite oxygen masks! (By Dr Oscar Rebelo)


It's a long, arduous, and extremely difficult road ahead guys and gals. We are all still walking on a dangerous mine field... no question. It all depends on how smartly and cunningly we outwit the virus.

As a superb New York Times article analyses it succinctly, no one on the planet can explain why some countries got walloped by the virus and why some got just a little rap on the knuckles. (Click here to read New York Times article).

The temperature postulate of tropical v/s temperate climates doesn't hold true always.

Neither does the BCG vaccine hypothesis.

Initially we thought only elderly folk succumbed, but mass burials in the US, Ecuador and Brazil tell us the middle-aged are also vulnerable.

China, South Korea, Australia and NZ are reporting negligible cases, so their lockdown is credited for the success.

But if the break in transmission theory holds good, the herd immunity theory goes out of the window. Both are mutually exclusive: i.e. all those locked up citizens never exposed to the virus, who are now coming out in society, should logically contract the virus, since they have No herd immunity to it—but that isn’t happening.

A silver lining to cling to in this cloud of despair.

There is no vaccine, no definitive drug yet, no silver bullet on the horizon.

The only certainty about this virus is that it is treacherous, diabolical and always a moving target, impossible to comprehend.

But open up we must I guess!!

By all accounts our economy has taken a devastating battering, we have very little leg room for fiscal manoeuvre and an epidemic of hunger awaits our most vulnerable citizens.

The continuous lockdown till cases across the country go down to zero is simply impossible.

There will be food riots across the spectrum, which no government will be able to control.

The economy MUST start churning again.

So as it does, in Goa, here's my wish list for ourselves:


1. We can lessen our panic... all this while we were virtually holding our breath, so as not to inhale the virus.

We can breathe a wee bit easier now.



2. The usual mantra of hand washing, sanitisers, social distancing, isolating if you have a fever and cough cannot be overemphasised.


3. Once borders open, with Goans back to base, and home quarantined if COVID19 negative, that quarantine must be strictly obeyed.

No Goan disobedience, no Goan wise guy attitude please.

Villagers must be aware who is being home quarantined and report to the authorities if anyone is found violating it.

This is for the safety of the community, so if you have to snitch, so be it!!


4. There can be no succumbing to demands, if the situation holds up, for any large scale gatherings, under any circumstances.

No fiestas, no zatras, no community Eid (though I will request my Muslim friends not to forget me for the customary biryani), no sporting events, no cinemas. Nada, nothing!

It took one football match in Italy for the virus to be imported to Spain and one lady who was sick at the Korean religious ceremony to spread it in South Korea.

We are familiar with our Tablighi fiasco.


5. For the elderly folk still locked in, I know you are going nuts.

In your twilight years. You are not even allowed to see the sun, as it were. But do not venture out unless mandatory, till the coast is completely clear.

At least another month.

You can have a few neighbour-hood friends over for a drink or a meal and talk about everything under the sun EXCEPT THE WRETCHED VIRUS.

That will keep your sanity intact.


6. For the thousands of migrants returning home on their own dime, our tears and moral outrage is not enough to mitigate their plight.

Could I urge Goa Inc. or India Inc. to pick the rail-fare tab of all desperate migrants returning home??

What is that cost?? A few crores?? You are going to be saving so much this year.

No fairy tale weddings, no IPL, no football league, no designer outfits or jewellery (who's going to see all that other than your maids), no plastic smiles on page 3!

So spend all that money saved to alleviate the plight of these stranded, marginalised fellow citizens.

Go on, we know you have a heart.

Just make it beat... and make it count.


7. And a request from all front line workers. Expensive rose petals may be a smart gimmick, but what absolutely matters is easy availability of PPE AND MEDICINES and for every citizen to follow rules to keep us safe.

So, in sum, the nightmare is by no way over. This virus could still return and devastate.

(Hopefully if we get a positive COVID19 tomorrow, we don't knee-jerk shut down all of Goa, but isolate and quarantine just the contacts and localised vaddo the patient comes from).

It's a long, arduous, and extremely difficult road ahead guys and gals.

We are all still walking on a dangerous mine field... no question.

It all depends on how smartly and cunningly we outwit the virus.

Fasten your seat belts and hopefully the oxygen masks won't have to be deployed.

But it's going to be a very, very rough ride.

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

What safety precautions to be taken from people from Goa who r undergoing Home Qurantine?

Eng.Sanjay Nayak |

Very nicely said

Sanjay Sharma |

Dear Dr. Rebelo,

You have written a brilliant piece. Personally i fell the Goa Government is playing with fire. No daily records of testing, VIP’s being brought in and quarantined at elite places and a common Goan thrown in the dump yard quarantine facility. A very familiar India. God save us.

Bharat Bhandare |

Very well written, Doctor, and excellent advice! I do hope people at large adere to the basic precautions so as to keep themselves and the community safe.

Jayant |

Loved ur article but I wish the uneducated Goans would adhere to social distancing. Yesterday I went to Calangute Market it was a mess there n I ran away as fast as my feet could take me. So I suggest Goa policemen do their part n make sure people wear a mask n maintain their distance from one another. Even those women selling fish should be ordered to sit 1.5 meters apart from each other.

Suad |

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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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