Finally, I got some insight to what was bothering my mind for months. I was very impatient to know how the Chinese have been handling this corona crisis and whether we could get to know some best practices from them. After months of effort, during which I tried to get leads from anywhere, I got connected with a friend who works in an MNC in Shanghai. He did send me some pictures and videos which showed every single person, at all public places wearing mask in the most appropriate way .At all places where ever there was to be human interactions(like in a metro),the windows and doors would open only if the body temperature was normal.
Besides he also shared a report which said that Chinese have vaccinated almost 75 crore of their population. This kind of strict enforcement was possible only in a totalitarian communist regime and hence the control in number of cases.
Now that the cases in the second wave are receding, there are possibilities being raised in our country over a probable third wave. Its very difficult to predict with confidence as to whether any third wave would strike India or not and what would be the nature and intensity of the said wave. However, the way virus has been behaving in some countries post vaccination, it does gives us a lot of insight into how to handle a probable third wave.
I followed the behavior of Virus in UK as a case study, since lot of cases of delta variant had been found in there. Scientists and doctors have raised concern that if at all there is a minor or major third wave, it would be caused by the delta variant of the virus. Now lets study some data on delta virus in UK.
By the second week of May, cases in UK had come down to around 2000 per day. From there it rose to around 5000 per day in less than two weeks by the first week of June and from there it went to around 9000 per day on 17th June, the growth has been incremental but not exponential till now. On a closer analysis of data from different sources and as I discussed the issue with my doctor friends working with covid in UK, I could gather following inferences :
1)There are ghettos in UK reluctant to get vaccinated and most of these cases are coming from such ghettos in London.
2)The severity of cases is mild till now as number of deaths are still quite less, less than 20 per day in the month of June and last week of may.
3)Fully vaccinated (people with 2 doses)cases are very few in the number getting infected and their severity is very less.
Scientifically studying the virus behavior all over the world in last one year, we have gathered some irrefutable facts by now. The first is that lockdown works in containing the spread. In the first week of May, India had more than 4 Lakh cases and now after imposing strict lockdown in the states, cases have come down to around 60,000 per day. Also, till we reach critical stage of vaccination, unlocking will lead to an increase in cases and probability of health infrastructure getting overwhelmed and in a pandemonium. Safely, we can infer that the percentage of vaccination and percentage of unlocking may go hand in hand. So, if 40 percent of adult population is vaccinated, let’s not unlock more than 50 percent immediately. This would have an economic cost, but holistically we can keep going with this, with certain degree of flexibility.
The reason is that if we unlock completely and immediately, then along with the actual crisis at hand we face a world over sullied image that has a much bigger cost to the economy in the long run. As a country which is being watched very carefully by the world, we cannot afford that. For instance, if restaurants and pubs can work at 50 percent with home delivery pattern ,then that is better for everyone, rather than a 100 percent opening followed by a complete shutdown and all this with an increased pace of vaccination. The big metropolis like delhi, mumbai, chennai should be prioritized to achieve 70 to 80 percent vaccination, followed by next big cities. This is for the simple reason that a slum with a more concentrated population has a more chance of explosion in cases than a rural and semi urban place with a spread out living. This pattern has been observed globally.
AND MORE SO LETS KEEP OUR EYES, EARS AND MIND OPEN. lets help in getting more and more people vaccinated at a quicker pace. Learning from UK, lets also take decisions at a quicker pace like they have postponed the complete opening of UK , which was to happen on 21st june .
STAY SAFE TILL THEN and never go out without wearing your masks properly.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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