There is no denying the fact that until now, active government intervention in the implementation of a nationwide lockdown and adherence by the public to social-distancing norms to a large extent – barring some incidents of transgression, of course – have helped ensure a ‘buffer’ for health-care providers and the establishment to try and delay the process of a community spread to a large extent. Had a lockdown not been in place and social distancing not been practised at all, this two-fold increase in positive cases would probably have been reached in less than three to five days by a very conservative estimate. In contrast, by isolating the confirmed and suspected cases and by ensuring some degree of social distancing, ‘the peak critical-care demand’ could be reduced by two-thirds in these two countries. According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, by the end of last month, more than 122 million people had lost their jobs in India owing to the coronavirus crisis – 75 per cent of them being small traders and daily wage earners. The moot point, therefore, is that a lockdown for an indefinite period is bound to take its toll in sheer economic terms and the ramifications of such a debacle have already begun to be felt across boardrooms and kitchens alike in India! Many medical experts based in India are of the opinion that while lockdowns and social distancing can and do help in reducing the rate at which a contagion engulfs a population, given the speed at which this novel strain of coronavirus has spread across the globe, the only way in which the scourge can be tackled is by allowing ‘herd immunity’ to set in among the community. People who successfully develop immunities to this novel strain, will act as the most effective shield between the infected and the non-infected and thereby help break the ‘chain’ of contagion in the most definitive terms. With no vaccination still in sight and with Asia’s third-largest economy already feeling the heat from an unprecedented lockdown, it’s herd immunity that could possibly hold the key to a long-term panacea. Let’s not forget the instance of the UK that had initially relied on ‘herd immunity’, though its health-care sector was not really equipped to handle an exponential rise in patient numbers. The country has so far played it by the book and managed to keep the battleground from being overwhelmed, but the next couple of months hold the key to winning the war.
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