COVID-19: Critical Analysis on lockdown

  • IASbaba
  • April 13, 2020
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors 
  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment. 

COVID-19: Critical Analysis on lockdown

India’s present lockdown (to prevent the spread of COVID-19) has been rated as the severest and the most disruptive, impacting a seventh of the world’s population. 

The Central government stated that in absence of lockdown, there would have been 800,000 infections by April 15th, 2020

Do You Know?

  • Sweden’s strategy to fight the pandemic has been largely non-interventionist and instead dependent on voluntary social distancing. 
  • Korea has followed a strategy of aggressive, widespread diagnostic testing and isolation coupled with social distancing.

Criticisms on Lockdown

  • Lives vs Livelihoods: Extended lockdown negatively impacts the livelihoods of poor and vulnerable sections of society -cure should not be worse than disease
  • Criticality of timing of lockdown
    • Early lockdowns are known to be suboptimal because they merely postpone the peak, but do not reduce the numbers
    • Many countries have imposed lockdowns only when infections peaked to levels that threatened the capacity of their healthcare systems
  • Effect on Tropical Countries:  
    • There is also fair likelihood to suspect that tropical country like India may be experiencing a less virulent epidemic than seen in the west
    • This can be either due to higher natural immunity, or vastly different demographics.
    • In such case, all-out lockdown was not an efficient solution
  • Efficient use of intervening time 
    • Failure to train personnel as well as procure the requisite devices, supplies and protective equipment during the lockdown will yield sub-optimal results
  • Alternative Strategy- Herd Immunity
    • It is believed that viral epidemics abate only when around 60-80% of the population acquires “herd-immunity” — either by vaccination or by acquiring the disease.
  • Projection Models
    • Several leading global health experts have questioned the numbers projected in the initial studies and forecasts as being inordinately high.

Way Forward

In place of a one-size-fits-all lockdown, there can be graded containment strategies that can be based upon following factors: 

  • Geographic– depending on the varying locational intensity of the disease
  • Vulnerability-oriented, with differing containment strategies for more vulnerable sections like the aged; and 
  • Sectoral -with a more liberal containment regime in place for essential activities like agriculture

Connecting the dots:

  • Challenges of using Herd Immunity as a Strategy
  • Challenges with regard to calibrated exit to lockdown 

Source: Indian Express

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