TMC leader Mahua Moitra took to Twitter to ridicule doctors who wrote to CM Mamata Banerjee raising concerns on the COVID-19 situation in West Bengal. The TMC leader, impolitely, brushes aside their concerns by saying: “11 of 14 NRI docs writing to WB CM in US, 2 in UK & 1 in Ger. W/due respect you choose to live practise pay taxes elsewhere… Suggest you get down to work in yr adopted countries!
Along with the suppression of facts and fudging of data, the West Bengal government led by Mamata Banerjee has been receiving flak, from all quarters, for its lack of seriousness in efforts against coronavirus. Despite umpteen proofs, the government of West Bengal have been in denial mode. And now, the party loyalists have come out in the open to sneer those who are critiquing or daring to flag the state’s mismanagement of the outbreak.
Non-resident Bengali doctors write to Mamata Banerjee
With reference to six reports published by various media houses flagging the negligence of West Bengal government in handling the ongoing pandemic, the medical staff who introduced themselves as, a group of non-resident Bengali physician, health scientists and healthcare providers born, raised and educated in the state of West Bengal, almost all having families residing in the state, wrote a joint letter to West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on April 22. In the letter, they spoke about two specific issues which were concerning them. Firstly, gross under-testing in West Bengal and secondly, misreporting of the data on the cause of death in COVID-19 patients.
The doctors referring to a Reuters report in the New York Times dated April 14, 2020, had pointed out that with a population of more than 90 million, West Bengal has just done 33.7 tests per million compared to a national average of 156.9 per million. Then it reminded the CM that there was evidence that the mortality data in COVID-19 patients emerging from West Bengal are misreported or not fully reported. It revealed that the Coronavirus deaths in the state were being misclassified on the death certificates as deaths due to a comorbid condition or organ failure. The doctor further said that the current mortality data in Coronavirus patients in West Bengal is unreliable and accused the government of fudging the data.
It may be noted that an audit committee formed by the state govt today concluded that out of 57 deaths of coronavirus positive patients, only 18 were due to COVID-19, and the rest 39 were due to co-morbid conditions and they can’t be attributed to the Chinese virus.
Bengal’s 8 healthcare professionals associations flagged similar issues
Eight healthcare professionals associations in Bengal, including the Indian Medical Association (IMA), have also written to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee demanding more transparency on detection, treatment and deaths of coronavirus positive patients in the state.
In a joint letter written to Banerjee, the eight medical bodies asked the govt to share “real-time, transparent data of COVID-19” in Bengal and daily medical bulletins of all healthcare workers under treatment.
The doctors demanded that the government ensure safety and security of frontline workers and also follow ICMR guidelines regarding issuing death certificates and suggested that committees set up by the state government to combat the pandemic ought to include epidemiologists, virologists and public health experts.
These letters come at a time when there has been massive criticism against Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government for lack of seriousness in efforts against coronavirus. There have been allegations that state government has been fudging numbers to show less number of cases in West Bengal.
West Bengal sitting on a “time-bomb”: Health experts
The suppression of facts and fudging of data has become a major worry for authorities and health experts in West Bengal, which has now snowballed into a huge controversy between the Trinamool Congress-led West Bengal government and health-care experts.
The health-care experts believe that the situation in Bengal is very grave as the Mamata Banerjee-led government has not been giving real data to assess the actual seriousness of the pandemic. From threats to doctors for whistleblowing against the state government against lack of facilities to allegations of state government illegally disposing of dead bodies, there have been serious allegations against the Mamata Banerjee government in Bengal.