COVID-19: Wait two more weeks to interpret ‘flattening of the curve’, says Professor K Srinath Reddy

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Published: April 10, 2020 2:12:46 PM

On the issue of extension of the 21-day lockdown that is scheduled to end on April 15, Prof. Reddy has said that the country needs a way to meet the priorities from all the sectors such as public health protection, economic stability and social development

The numbers should be compared with different time periods before analysis.

Coronavirus pandemic: Time to do our best in terms of ongoing efforts and wait for two more weeks! Professor K Srinath Reddy, a member of the high-level committee of public health experts for COVID-19 in an interview to The Indian Express has said that the best way to minimise the damage from the Coronavirus infection is to slow it down and interrupt the transmission. Reddy, who is also the President of Public Health Foundation of India has said the concept of hear immunity looks fantastic as an idea but it comes at a cost of many lives if health infrastructure is not prepared to tackle the sudden surge in infections. Notably, the Borris Johnson-led UK government had adopted the idea of Herd immunity to combat the coronavirus but it backfired on Britons.

He affirmed that the ongoing lockdown imposed by the Narendra Modi-led central government has at least slowed the rate of viral transmission if not stopped it. He added that it enabled governments as well as healthcare sector professionals to pull up their socks for a long and hard battle against the Coronavirus outbreak in the country. Along with the changes the lockdown has brought into the viral transmission and healthcare system of the country, the lockdown has also consolidated societal solidarity, which is equally essential in his eyes to get through this tough phase as a nation.

On the questions surrounding the recent spike in Covid-19 cases and Tablighi Jamaat congregation, Professor Reddy said that the number of cases that have been reported should not be seen separately. He said that while interpreting the recent surge in the number of cases, one must not overlook the nature of tests carried out at a different point of time. The numbers should be compared with different time periods before analysis. He also asked for patience and said that the country is still 14 days away from a correct time to analyse if the curve of infection has flattened or came down. He stoked diversity in nature of the spread of infection due to large population and hence said the district or state wise case analysis will present a better picture of the current status of the Covid-19 in the country.

On the issue of extension of the 21-day lockdown that is scheduled to end on April 15, Prof. Reddy has said that the country needs a way to meet the priorities from all the sectors such as public health protection, economic stability and social development. Prof Reddy has said that even agenda paramount for the country is to save lives, it must be ensured that economic sectors such as farming must not be halted for long otherwise there will be problems for essential goods. He also said that the educational sectors also can’t be closed for an indefinite period of time and hence the country needs a stepwise walk away from the ongoing lockdown.

He asked to treat different zones of the country differently. He said that the hot zones should be sealed immediately but with essential support, warm zones should be given strict surveillance whereas the unaffected zones across the country should be allowed for proper functioning but under watchful eyes.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a recent video conferencing with state health officials has hinted of no immediate relieving of the ongoing lockdown imposed from the midnight of March 24.

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