Undeterred by the Coronavirus fear, BEST conductor Vivek Gawde (52) responded to this call of duty and ferried passengers since the pandemic broke out. In the last week of June, Gawde tested positive for COVID-19. He developed symptoms of the virus and was admitted to the hospital and even kept on a ventilator.
However, the frontline worker showed equal resilience and fought the virus and recovered after 65 days. This is the longest period any BEST worker has stayed in the hospital in the battle against coronavirus.
“The time spent in hospital was tiring. I felt fatigued but it was the support and love of my closed ones that had me going" Gawde told FPJ. He returned home on Saturday night. His voice still appeared weak, thus he said two months in hospital has drained out all his energy.
"Alongside my family members, it was my colleagues and members of the BEST fraternity who had boosted me and had me going" Gawde added.
The BEST Undertaking bore the cost of his treatment. Gawde hails from Nallasopara. The BEST medical team shifted him to KEM hospital.
"The BEST had shifted Gawde to Mumbai from Nallasopara to ensure he gets proper treatment. People like him have been on the frontline and it's our responsibility to ensure his well-being," BEST Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Anil Kumar Singhal told FPJ.
Nearly 5,000 BEST employees including Gawde have had quite a tobacco intake in the last five years under the 'Tobacco Free BEST' campaign. The CMO said most of the recovered patients have either given up tobacco or are not addicted to it.
"Those who consume tobacco are vulnerable to getting comorbidities. Gawde has been one of those who have quit tobacco in five years, which definitely has helped him win the battle against COVID" Singhal stated.